Friday, November 8, 2013
This has been a crazy busy week. My heart and my eyes have been opened so much in these few short days. I have been avoiding writing in part because of the busyness- but also because I struggle with the words to explain. But I feel the need to try.
Most of you probably know that my husband and I are in Africa now. We've been here a little over 2 weeks. This week I started helping out at a preschool/ daycare. In my selfishness I dreaded getting out of bed that first morning. (I am not a morning person. need coffee to survive the AM) When I got to the school, however, it was so worth it. These beautiful children surrounded me with hugs and saying "good morning teacher" "you are beautiful teacher" "I love you teacher." Then I got to worship God, teach, and play outside with them. They stole my heart. Not saying it was easy. I went home worn out. Child to teacher ratios aren't the same here as in the States. But that is another story.
3 days ago I had a conversation with one of the children that started a change in my heart. The children's assignment was to draw their house and their fattest cow (cattle is a sign of wealth here. instead of asking how much $ you make you wonder how many cows they have). Thula was very artistic and drew a wonderful drawing of a house- but then he stopped. I told him well done on his house and that I couldn't wait to see the cow. He got a sad look on his face and told me he couldn't draw a cow because his father did not have one.
The next day I had a conversation with the head teacher and she told me most of the children get so excited and fight over the toys is because the only time many of the children see toys is when they are at school. She asked me if children in America had many toys. My heart was broken. I remembered my childhood when I had so many toys that many sat on the shelf for days before I rotated them into the play schedule. I spent many hours marrying my Barbies to my Ninja Turtles and having them live in my toy castle. I thought of how my childhood would've been different if I had no toys. I came home sad and wanting to do something about it. I am resolved to do some awesome art projects with the kids and try to make them some toys they can take home.
I have been seeing all of these thankful post on Facebook this month and I think it is great. We should be thankful. There is a meme going around that says something along the lines of "November the month every one posts what they are thankful for before going back to complaining on Facebook the other 11 months." We have so much in the States. There are the basic necessities that we don't even think about that other countries don't have. Food, water, shelter, electricity... Can you imagine not being able to provide that for your family? We went on a field trip yesterday and half the children could not go because their family could not afford it. It was like the Botswana version of Disneyland and cost less than $20 USD. Some families here make less than that in a week and Botswana is one of the richer countries in Africa. I felt poor back in the States because we could barely manage financially. Compared to other places in the world- we were millionaires. I complained and was miserable about our financial situation but here they have so much less and are happy.
I am not writing this to make anyone feel bad. I just want us to see how blessed we are in the U.S. and encourage you to do what you can to help the less fortunate. I don't believe God blessed us with $ to keep it all to ourselves. It is easy to focus on ourselves and what we don't have. I do it too. But this life is not supposed to just be about what we can get out of it. In Matthew 25:40 (the sorting of the goats and sheep parable) Jesus says, "Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me." Let's take our faith and start doing something with it. Feed the hungry. Adopt an orphan or give to a family trying to adopt. Give blankets and shelter to the homeless. Spend time with a widow or child in need. Babysit for a family that desperately needs a break. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. The list goes on. We can stand by and complain about these things or we can get up and do something.
Sorry I felt that needed said. I will get off my soap box now.