Friday, June 14, 2013

A year since Africa

She's a young mother now; I met her and her rowdy friends when they
'kidnapped' me several years ago and made me take them through the 
jungle to a restaurant and buy them lunch.  :)
As of this month, it's been a year, but my heart still wanders back there.
In front of their elementary school, my friends are still
in their uniforms at the end of the day.

Calls from friends in Kenya, email and pictures from Ethiopia, Facebook chat with Djibouti, Benin, Nigeria, and Sao Tome & Principe; we're still connected.

Reports come regularly from our friends and efforts.  A fellow in college, more than a hundred in schools, several families and their businesses, and a community building a preschool.

Over the years traveling in Africa, I've been offered several children for adoption; by their parents, surprisingly.  They were hoping their kids could go to the U.S. and have a better life.  It broke my heart to decline, but we're past the age where we might succeed at raising children again.

Mom and Grandpa clown around with the kids.
Nice folks; thoughtful.
My first African friend and her
family pile in for a trip to the shore.
We've partnered with several families to help them step up a bit.  Home repairs, water and electricity, kid's school uniforms and fees, ... rabbits!  They've graciously included us in their families and communities.

Sitting street-side with one of my teens.  He and the rest are
grown up, married, and with kids of their own now.

Life is simple and difficult.  Education and healthcare are a long way from universal availability.  Economic opportunity is hard to find.  Even an adequate diet is hard to pull together, and many children are undernourished with the health consequences that follow.

They spend no time at all worrying about the things that are common in the developed world.  They don't worry about their 401k, their lawn, their insurance, their bank account or credit rating ... they don't have any of those things.  No careers, no job security, no choice of this college or that for their children.

They are good at community and watching out for each other, though.

With a couple dozen Africa trips behind me, it looks like maybe next year before I get to see my friends in person again.