I Am Africa

Everyday I step into Africa. Working with the World Vision Experience: AIDS tour I look at pictures of Africa all day long -- mostly Uganda, Lesotho, and Kenya. I see beautiful sunsets, stark acacia trees, the thatch huts; I see unpaved roads and the primitive way Africans prepare meals. I also see sadness and desperation in the beautiful faces. There is so much poverty, sadness, and hopelessness in the countries residing on this continent, yet there is such a clear vision and pathway to hope.

Everyday I recite statistics that are shocking and terrifying: 33 million people are infected with HIV or AIDS around the globe, 2/3rd's of them live in sub-Saharan Africa, every 6 seconds a child is infected with the virus -- these type of statistics used to frighten me. Now I seem to be numb to them. ...I know what you're thinking: "Ange -- how can you be so insensitive? These stats are heartbreaking, how could you not care?" Normally, when we hear these type of facts our gut reaction is shock -- I'm not shocked anymore. I still care for Africa, I will always love Africa, but at one point we have to start asking the question: how do these statistics apply to my life?

The worst thing we could do after hearing numbers, statistics, and stories is become so overwhelmed that we feel paralyzed from taking action!

When I went to Africa I met many people who I think about and pray for on a daily basis. I care about what happens to Africa, because I love and care for the people who live there. I've heard hundreds of people say the same thing after visiting the continent, "the people are amazing!" and whenever the question "What was your favorite part about Africa?" is asked, the answer is (usually) "the people.” It’s these people who I have a connection with. It’s these people who keep me from remaining paralyzed.

I have another connection with Africa; their names are Lonah from Kenya and Eric from Rwanda. These are the kids I sponsor through World Vision. I’ve never met them…I’ve never heard their voice…I’ve never seen where they live or where they go to school…but they own a piece of my heart. It’s hard to describe the joy I feel when I see the blue air mail envelope in the mailbox – a letter from them! Lonah and Eric know my name, they know I care for them, and that’s my reminder to step back into Africa (pun intended!)

What moves you back into the heart of Africa? What reminds you to keep moving forward? One person cannot help the entire continent – but together, through the simple act of sponsorship, we can change one life and one community at a time. Sponsorship is the pathway to hope for children. It’s something I can do. It’s something you can do. It’s something we all can do to keep us moving forward and reminding us to Step back into Africa.

No comments: