Saturday, July 3, 2010

Descriptions of Africa

Discriptions of Africa

The silhouettes of women carrying large casseroles on their heads are cast by the large yellow full moon rising strongly above the towering eucalyptus trees. The moon floods the savanna with lifes as children scurry home along goat paths, men pedal laboriously around tree roots, puddles and potholes while balancing their heavy loads and mammas come out of the darkneess pulling their goats on ropes.

Children with swollen feet and bellies with eyes full of pain and suffering make my heart break. Tears roll down the faces of children with blistering burnt legs as each step tears at their fragile skin. Young kids that should be playing football in the fields are instead trapped in 7 year old weak bodies deprived of the feeling of the grass between their toes and the wind upon their face.Why must these children suffer so? Where is the joy in their faces? Why must they be deprived of the joy that comes from childhood where you can run freely and happily as a bird and not have to go to bed with hunger pains? These are questions I ask myself. I also ask myself how can one return to the land where the sun rises and sets to the rhythm of progess and power? I do not know suffering. I was born in a country that offered me safety, health care and education. I was born into a family that had money to send me to school and to give me opportunities. How was I different from a child growing up in Africa with no access to health care or proper schooling, who was confined to stay at home and look after one’s brothers and sisters? I have never been angry with God until this moment; the moment I saw the spirit of a 15 year old girl trapped in her body because her teacher made her carry a tree as a punishment for being late resulting in paralysis. She must lie there in her bed, her child-like spirit dying within her because her ¨teacher¨ inflicted pain upon her for being late for school. How my heart cries out for her. I cannot help but feel anger towards God for letting something like this happen. I know that in suffering we can find strength and by suffering we can unite ourselves with the suffering of Christ, but when it comes to children I cannot accept this easily. A heaviness weighs upon me as I take in the dark circumstances of the people here. How can I turn my back to their suffering?
Life throbs on for these people in the midst of their suffering. What sustains their pulse? What brings the vibrant colours to the earth and the sky here? How do they find the courage to persevere?


  1. You are troubled by the suffering you see around you---how could you not be? Keep in mind the example of St Bahkita---her life from her childhood kidnapping in Darfur until the Italian diplomat rescued her. (Darfur is not all that far from where you are now living.)
    Or take the example of the individual who was beatified with her, St Josemaria Escriva. He personally experienced the horror of the Spanish Civil War. St Josemaria recommends when we encounter contradictions the following prayer: "May the most just and most lovable will of God be done, be fulfilled, be praised and eternally exalted above all things. Amen. Amen."

  2. Thanks Dad for the encouragement. I hope I can have the courage to see God's will in the contradictions I face here.