Fr. Themistocles, Sierra Leone Landslide Disaster and Tacaguma Chimpanzee Rescue Centre
After meeting Fr. Themistocles at one of his recent fundraising meetings in the UK, one of our Orthodox friends Alexios Gennaris, was inspired to fly to Africa to visit Fr. Themistocles, in order to see the outstanding work the Orthodox Church does for the orphans and wider community in Sierra Leone.
(see for example http://www.spc.rs/eng/missionary_tour_west_africa.)
He will also report on the aftermath of the latest ecological disaster in the region, the recent landslide on Sugarloaf Mountain in Regent, which arose primarily as a result of unregulated and illegal human encroachment and deforestation of this area, which lies inside the ‘heavily protected’ Western Area Forest Reserve. The last six minutes of the Channel 4 documentary on this disaster – Africa’s Perfect Storm, describes the interconnectedness of unsustainable and illegal development and deforestation (some 8,000m2 in the last decade) and human, non-human animal and ecological destruction.
Alexios will also take the opportunity to visit the nearby Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a Charity supported by many including the world renowned Dr Jane Goodall. Their overall aim is to provide a safe home for orphaned & endangered chimpanzees and protect them (and other species) from the cruel and wasteful pet & bushmeat trade. Tacugama also endeavors to protect and conserve the species in the wild by engaging with the public through environmental sensitization & training programs together with practical campaigns to reforest areas destroyed by the unregulated human encroachment and deforestation outlined in the Channel 4 documentary.
Two important points to make here are firstly, the interconnectedness of the destruction of human and non-human life as a result of human negligence and deforestation and secondly, that the staff at the sanctuary are also heavily involved in providing help to the human victims in this latest disaster, which is a classic example of those who care for animals, showing compassion and love towards their fellow humans. For more information see:
Alexios has promised to write a small article for us upon his return and send through some of the photographs from this trip which takes place in early December, 2017.