Africa Dreams

smiling girl mountain

group of giraffs

white lion
Africa on the brain.  I’ve got it bad.  It seems to be the topic of conversation swirling around me this week.  First, I just want to say welcome back to those bloggers who went to Kenya with Compassion International.  I’m pretty sure they landed today!  I know today they will land in their respective airports and feel like they stepped into another world.  The first thing they’ll immediately realize is how clean everything is.  Then they’ll feel lost in the immensity of how large the airport is!  They will be so happy to see familiar faces and hug their kids.  They will be exhausted and a bit numb by all they’ve taken in.  They probably have stuffed all they saw, felt, touched into a box to be opened after some sleep…and slowly.  It’s a lot to unpack.  I’m thinking about them today.

s. African child

The hardest part about coming back to America after a trip like this, is wanting to have others understand exactly what they’ve experienced.  Their eyes were opened to the realities of how others live.  It wasn’t just on a TV screen, or on a blog post, where it’s hard to relate.  They touched these kids.  They walked into their dirt floor homes and saw the pots of boiled corn mush they were eating.  Their brains began to connect that these kids don’t get pop tarts or hamburgers.  These kids don’t have closets full of clean clothes.  These kids don’t have a mattress and pillow on which to lay their heads.  Many of them have lost their parents.  They may not get hugged and kissed, because everyone (adults included) find it hard to think past their angry stomachs or aching heads.  I could go on.

You see, I have spent some time traveling to countries around the world with my family.  One of those places I went to was South Africa.  We went to serve with Thrive Africa.  They took us to the poorest township in South Africa, Qwa Qwa.  I spent two weeks walking through this township and witnessing how so many people live their lives.  The homes were made with mud, corrugated tin and cardboard.  Talk about a recycling program!  We could learn a lot from them about how to reduce waste.


There was one really large and pristine building in the township.   We asked what that building was.  “It’s the funeral parlor.”  You see, this township totally closes down on Friday and Saturday, because there are so many funerals.  AIDS has torn their community apart.

s. african child b n w

There is one thing that surprised me about the people in Africa.  They had hope!  You see, when we traveled, one thing I always asked young people when I met them, “What’s your passion?  What do you want to do with your life?”  In the Philippines the question was answered with a dead look.  The young girl looked befuddled at my question.  “What do you mean?” she asked.  “I just need to get a job to help feed my family.”  There wasn’t a sense of hope, just duty.  No room for dreaming.  But, in Africa, when I asked this question I heard answers like, “Be a photographer!”  “I want to be a doctor!”  “I want to make Hollywood movies.”  I know what you’re thinking, most of those dreams probably won’t come true.  But, their answers were riddled with hope!  It makes me wonder what our response would be here in America if our situation were to change.  If our gorgeous, larger than we need homes were reduced to the size of our sheds…if our refrigerators were empty and contained only cornmeal…if we lost a child, what would our answers be?

kids in south africa

girl and hand

We even take our hopes and dreams for granted.

You can read the blogger’s stories here:

MckMama …Chris Ann met MckMama at an event this fall.  We love seeing Africa through her lens!

This is Reverb…Reverb is a friend around here! He is part of our TakeOn Challenge!  Read what he’s writing, it will grab your heart!

We Are That Family

Brad Ruggles

Church Relevance

Compassion Bloggers: Kenya 2010


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