Thursday, 26 February 2015

Augustine Baker

Augustine Baker (January 2015)
As I drove from work to see my father this morning, I found myself pondering the difficulties of keeping a story in the forefront of people's minds and encouraging them to support the work that agencies such as the British Red Cross do.
News is only news for a few hours or days these days. We consume it and move on. Each day another story or something more pressing in our own lives. To be honest I felt despondent. The cycle race in the summer is just a bike race. It is a personal challenge. Something that I do for myself, something that enables me to learn something about myself.
For it to only be that, however, seems like a wasted opportunity. We all want to make a difference where we can, however small. I was, however, on the point of emailing the local contact for the British Red Cross to say that I wasn't going to fund-raise any more.
I walked into my mother's kitchen, nearing journey's end and the news story on the radio in her kitchen was this:-
Augustine Baker, a Sierra Leonian who had worked tirelessly for an orphanage run by a UK charity had died of the disease. Apparently without consideration for himself, he had entered local communities in search for and to help orphaned children affected by this terrible disease.
I was also reminded of a comment made by Helen MacDonald in the book 'H is for Hawk' that I mentioned in a recent post. Hoping not to misquote her, she reflects that human arms are for holding each other and embracing.
That embrace can be big enough to reach and include Sierra Leone and the other West African countries affected by Ebola. That embrace says that there are some things bigger than self, bigger than nationality.
Augustine Baker epitomised this. We are all less for his sacrifice.

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