Saah Joseph: Liberian war survivor

When the war came to Liberia in 1989, Saah Joseph was just 14 years old. Rebels shot both of his parents. He escaped, and walked for nine days to a refugee camp in Sierra Leone. Joseph lived in the camp for 10 years.

Then the war came to Sierra Leone. Rebels attacked the refugee camp, looking for young boys to capture and turn into soldiers. Joseph fled again and escaped to Guinea. But the war came to Guinea, too. His life was a blur of West African countries and refugee camps.

When he returned to Sierra Leone, he was arrested for being a Liberian. Government officials couldn’t tell who was a rebel fighter or who was a refugee so they threw them in jail indiscriminately. Joseph, who became a Christian when he was young, began leading morning devotions. Prison officials made him the Chaplain, which got him out of his cell more often.

“I was happy to go around because I got to feel the cool breeze on my face,” he said.


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Free the 43

George Fox University students and faculty are raising awareness this week for 43 Filipino health care workers they think are wrongly imprisoned. Melanie Newell told us in this video what students are doing to help. Read an article about Melanie’s experience in the Philippines here.

December 17th Update from Melanie:

I just wanted everyone to know that the Morong 43 have now officially been freed!!
The supreme court passed the motion filed by President Aquino yesterday afternoon. The 43 walked out of the military detention center and into the arms of relatives and friends Dec. 16 around 11:30pm (Filipino time).

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Christmas on the Quad

The Bruin Heritage Society and Alumni Relations hosted a Christmas celebration on the quad. There was singing, candles, a reading of the Christmas story, cookies, and plenty of warm drinks. Here are a few pictures I snapped at the event.


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Meet Dominique Berho

Mike sits down with photographer Dominique Berho to talk about his recent projects. Dominique is a senior International Studies major at George Fox and an all around awesome guy. Take a look at his photography here.

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Cultural Celebration

Best. Event. Ever. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but the Cultural Fair in the Bruin Den on Tuesday was a lot of fun, and the food was incredible. International students set up table displays with information about their home countries. They also brought a delicious and dazzling array of dishes for students to sample.

Students received a “passport” at the entrance, which they took to the numerous tables. They had to figure out how to write “I love you” in the different languages represented.

The Cultural Fair was part of Cultural Celebration Week on campus, which is meant to inspire cross-cultural interaction between students, staff and faculty. On Monday, chapel speakers Ben Sand and Anthony Jordan – Portland Leadership Foundation Executives – spoke about “Stepping into Each Others World.” There was a Coffee and Culture meeting that evening. The Cultural Fair was Tuesday. On Wednesday, Ben and Anthony spoke at chapel again, which was followed by a Talk Back session. Joel Perez, the Dean of Transitions and Inclusion, spoke about “Reflecting the Diversity of God’s Kingdom at GFU” during an afternoon meeting. There was also a World’s Got Talent show in the WoodMar Theater. The Cultural House held and open house on Thursday, and the weekly Shalom gathering focused on spiritual formation and reconciliation.

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Clyde Thomas, the director of Plant Services here on campus, has worms. Lots of them. In fact, he’s got about 80 pounds of the creepy-crawlers right now, and his goal is to amass 3,000 pounds of these garbage-eating creatures.

The new vermicomposting program will serve two main purposes: First, food waste from Bon Appetit, the food service company at George Fox, will go into compost bins where the worms live. They feed on the leftover food, digest it and leave behind nutrient-rich castings (worm manure). Second, the castings will help fertilize the athletic fields, which will reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals, which will in turn reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

The worms get to feast, waste gets reduced and the fields get fertilized naturally. Win-win-win.

Thomas enlisted the help of George Fox students to help with the worm herding. About 20 compost bins will be placed around campus, each with about three pounds of worms. Every three months, worm populations can double. As the compost colony grows, Thomas will place them in larger bins until he reaches his desired 3,000 pounds, which should take about 18 months.

Thomas empties a bucket of compost and worms to separate them into smaller containers for students to place in bins located around campus.


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Gungor In-Studio Interview

Mike and I got the opportunity this week to sit down with the band Gungor for an interview and acoustic performance. They were on campus to lead worship in chapel and also play a concert that night in Bauman. Before setting up for the interview, I went down to a packed Bauman auditorium to film them play a worship set. They played one of their new popular songs “Beautiful Things” and got a great response from the student body. It was a powerful experience. How cool is it that on a normal Wednesday afternoon, you as a member of the George Fox community get to be engaged in worship led by a Dove Award winning artist? Mike went to lunch with the band while I went down to the studio to setup for the recording session. When Gungor arrived at the studio, it became obvious that they a band that loves to jam. Within seconds they had their instruments out and were tuning up and messing around with licks on the guitar. A few minutes later we were setup for the interview thanks to my trusty video production assistants Natalie and Megan.

After the interview, we did a quick sound check and the band decided to play “Dry Bones”. They said it was their first time playing the song with this acoustic arrangement.

Next they grabbed a banjo and did an awesome version of “You Have Me”, another song off their new album.

Special thanks to Gungor for agreeing to the interview and special thanks to Mike, Natalie, and Megan for helping to make it happen without a hitch!

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