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Monday, July 21, 2014

Stunned in Africa

Come on grab a pair of sandals, there's plenty of those over there by the door. I can lend you an extra sunhat if you don't have one, and don't forget the sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Even though it's wintertime in Mozambique we don't want to take any chances of getting the nasty, and sometimes recurring malaria.  I want you to walk where I walked and see what I saw. It didn't take me long to feel bombarded by all the different impressions. Just between you and me and the baobab tree I experienced some serious culture shock while there. Don't tell anyone, but I broke down and cried uncontrollably for a couple hours. It was just too much. Too much poverty, too much ignorance, too hard a life, and I felt too helpless to do anything about it. 


I found it a bit uncomfortable bumping along these rocky, rutted roads in our big, four wheel drive truck, but all around us people were walking, always walking which would be far more exhausting. . We saw thousands of black faces, many so solemn looking, carrying heavy bundles, often on their heads and the women, it seemed like more often than not, had a baby or toddler wrapped on their backs. I guess seeing the numerous pedestrians with heavy loads and  knowing they would be  sleeping on bamboo mats, and the pitiful diets were among the things that hit me the hardest. Hey, they are people just like you and I! 

At first we babbled foolishly about what can we do to help, but eventually fell silent. What could we do? Their needs are so great, and our efforts so small. Even the education of many was a crying shame. Some children could hardly even write their name. 
We saw far too many places similar to this. How would you like to call this home? 

I was asked later if I would go back if I had a chance. I thought about it for a while and this is my answer. For an adventure, no, but as a missionary in order to help the people, yes, a resounding yes, IF I could learn the language sufficiently to share my love with them. Life for so many in Africa is a hard life, and it would be also, to a lesser extent for the missionary because it would be a huge adjustment. No an adventure seeking spirit couldn't drag me back, but love could.