The author, Neary, writes towards the end "is your head spinning?" Yes. Yes it is. The letter is jammed full of stories, names, refugees, heartache, success, failure, emotions, chaos, organization, and passion. Neary has just arrived at her location, and she hasn't even unpacked her suitcases but she has written this two-page letter to do some business and make sure she doesn't forget to mention a half a dozen things. My guess is she wrote herself handwritten notes during her travels and finally got to sit down to a typewriter to get it all on paper.
You can tell all of these folks, the ones in the Amsterdam office, the ones at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) are working tirelessly to do all they can for all the people. Neary says that she can see the faces of those who have asked earnestly her help. She has received flowers and thank you notes just for trying. She knows that many of the people she is working to help have no hope. Yet she continues to work, and she expresses her anger that so many roadblocks have been put in front of those who try to emigrate.
I love her comment at the beginning how she feels like a mother hen about her staff- I get the sense she has travelled away from them in this time, but can't stop thinking about them. Her story about the secretary Kiek who has cancer is heartbreaking. Her grace in the situation: she wants to find her the best possible care, decrease her work load and increase her salary. What a beautiful act of love.
Then there is Ina Linderman who has been working herself to death- almost literally. And it sounds like she may just be a student-aged young adult. Can you imagine that kind of passion and fortitude? Now the mother-hen, Neary, is making plans to send Ina away to school, to give her the necessary break she needs and try to help her succeed. I this case, she has a worker who has given above and beyond and made near miracles happen with her work.... and Neary wants to reward her with a blessed release and bonus toward her future in school in the United States. Another act of love.
The jumbled stories of all the names and folks tell me some important things... One- that the staff of Quaker agencies around the world knew and cared about every person that needed their help. They dreamed about them and thought about them on the train and boat and walks home. Two- they were pulling every string they could to get these people help, they were calling on every connection they had and trying every obscure plan they could. They were exhausting themselves and all the options to help these refugees. Three- they were all in this fight together, and there was a familial connection in that common fight.
So behind the scenes of AFSC and other Quaker organizations, I see the names, the stories, and the heartache- and my head is spinning. God bless all of them for their service.