I had heard to stories but until I saw it with my own eyes I could not understand how difficult the circumstances in Africa really are. I still can't make any sense of it. If nothing else, it has helped me to see how incredibly blessed we are in America and that we have an obligation to help others. Where much is given, much is required. Here are a few of the things that I have seen that help me understand this. I have seen children caring for children as they watch their parents die. I have seen schools with nothing more than a chalkboard. No books, no desks, nothing. I have seen hundrends of homes that are smaller than my children's bedrooms. I have seen and loved children and adults who are sick from AIDS. I have seen many children who are covered in dirt, have no shoes and only the clothes on their backs. Everyone I have talked to has lost a parent or a child. Yesterday I talked to a woman who had lost 9 of her 12 children. It is all so hard to see.
I have also seen how the power of love and faith can heal these people. As I talked with a child who is sick from AIDS, I asked her how she continues to smile. With an even bigger smile, she turned to me and said, "Because God loves me". They turn to God to heal their broken hearts and He takes care of the pain. I have learned so much from these people in the short time I have been here. I am excited to share all the stories when I return home. For now I am savoring the chance to be in Africa and to realize how very blessed I am, how much I have to be grateful for and how much good I can do.
(I tried to post pictures but it wouldn't work. I'll add them when I can!)