So often when people think of Africa there are certain images that come to mind. For some they are the images of a Safari, Lions, Zebras and Guerillas. For many the images that come to mind are much darker. They are images of children with their bellies extruding from hunger or images of war and truckload of angry young men. While many of these images are true, when I was in Sierra Leone with CAUSE I discovered images that pointed towards something more.
I met women who received a loan of about $40 and turned it into small business that now fed their families and paid their children’s school fees. I met children filled with joy to be going to school and old women who danced for joy because they were learning to read. I met children who formed a school government to make sure that the teachers shows up to class, and I met mothers clubs who made sure that all the children received lunch at school. I also met workers, who had university degrees that could have opened up for them a world of wealth and opportunity, but who instead choose to risk their life to return to their country, in order to rebuild not just its building but also its people’s.
If I could summarize the one insight I gained from my three weeks in Sierra Leone it is this: the work we are called to is not just about giving our spare change to the poor. Instead God is already present and at work amongst the people there. We are simply called to walk with them, to encourage and support them, and also to learn from them as the light of God begins to shine evermore through them. When I was in Africa I began to saw the light of God shine in its people, and it was a light that I believe is not only there to scatter the darkness of Africa, but to scatter our darkens as well.
Over the next several weeks I am going to blog about my experiences in Sierra Leone. It is my hope that you might also see the light that shines in the the people I met and the work they do.