Around three weeks ago, we moved into our apartment at St Stephen’s Society’s rehabilitation campus, near Shatin, Hong Kong. We have finally managed to get internet access and we can now fill you in on how the last few weeks have progressed…
Moving in was quite challenging, especially as Micah and Asher were really unsettled and struggled to sleep together in the same room for the first time. This was mainly because Micah wanted to wake Asher up to ‘Say Hi’. It became even more stressful as we found a number of cockroaches and even a lizard scuttling around the flat on the first evening (thankfully we seem to have got rid of them now!). The first few days seemed to go really slowly as we began to find our feet and get accustomed to a different way of living, as well as trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to learn some of the language.
Since then we have begun to slowly learn our roles and duties, as well as started training sessions for working with the poor and those in need. On the whole, we feel more settled now, although Micah is struggling and, as well as not sleeping well, seems to be missing his friends and family a lot without really understanding why he cant see them at the moment. We are also missing our friends from back home and look forward to being able to communicate more now that we have internet access.
Some of you will remember us talking about a place called ‘The Walled City‘ which was standing in Hong Kong until the mid-1990’s. It was a small area in British Hong Kong that was outside of British jurisdiction yet not policed by the Chinese government and consequently became a place where criminals would go to escape the law. It became known as ‘The City of Darkness’ because without building regulations, huge buildings were erected without foundations and within meters of each other; the streets below were almost permanently in the shadows and the open sewers were a playground for rats. Some people estimated that around 50,000 people lived in the walled city and there were only two wells and a few communal water taps to provide ‘clean’ water. All around were drug dens, brothels, illegal businesses and triad gangs. In 1993, the work to pull down the walled city began and in its place now stands the Kowloon Walled City Park, which has beautifully landscaped gardens and a museum about the walled city.
Last week, Joel had the privilege of being given a tour of the park by some people who had lived there when the walled city still stood. It was fascinating to hear first-hand stories about what it was like to live there and to be shown around the museum by them. The walled city was the place where St Stephen’s Society (or Jackie Pullinger) really began its work and to understand more about the place that Jackie went to work and live in was really inspirational.
Tonight the forecast is for an incoming Typhoon so everyone on site is busy taping up the windows and putting everything inside that could fly around. It could be rated a T10 which means it would be a direct hit with the eye of the storm passing over us. The last time there was a T10 was back in 2012 so they are quite rare, even though Hong Kong is regularly affected by typhoons between May and September.
We’ve really appreciated hearing from some of you and receiving some home comforts from back home so thank you for thinking of and praying for us.