i did not expect to run into so many emotions right at the beginning. there is one thing for sure. when you come to africa, you will be humbled. not because of the poverty and situation, but because of the faith of the people. we are no where near understanding who God is like the people do here. i have come across so many people who have blown my little bitty trip out of the water.
first, the place we are staying is a place for missionaries to come and take a break basically. we have met some of the most amazing people. we usually eat breakfast and lunch here every day and the meals are at a certain time. you join with people at tables, so it is like a big family. i came to africa thinking what i was doing was more than just a "short term mission" or a pointless little trip that makes you feel good about yourself. before we knew it, we were talking to a girl my age who has been living in the slums for 9 months and has amazing stories. we then met a girl who worked in southern sudan for about a year. then, best of all, we met the most kind-spirited older woman yesterday. she has been living in africa for 34 years! and she highly recommends it. after her parents died, people began to give her money to go to africa and she did not think that being there (or here rather) would last longer. she has been here ever since she came. we also met another woman who has been working in southern sudan. just amazing.
second, yesterday was our first full day at the orphanage. we focused our time in the tech center where girls are learning to sew with peddle machines. they are girls around my age who did not make into secondary school or cannot go to secondary school. some are mothers. all but one come in from the slum surrounding the orphanage and they are amazing. at first they were shy, but then they asked me to play soccer and handball with them on their break. it was so much fun. then after we came in, the immediately brought me to their station and taught me how to sew. it was amazing. i made two different skirts in a cm instead of inches. the community here is amazing. the love each other with everything. at the end of the day the girls proceed to clean like i have never seen before. they are such good stewards of what they have been given. they worked together so well. after the clean, the sing a few praises and pray. it just blows me away. everything is so christ centered. they need God desperately.
the love the workers at the orphanage have for these children is amazing. they give up so much to show love to these children. we have no idea how to love like these people. they are the ones who need to be teaching us. i never expected to come to africa and be the one who is being served, but that is truly the case. our driver is this amazing africa man who is so generous and kind. he takes on different routes all the time to show us the different parts of africa. and by the way, mom, your greatest challenge in coming to this place would be riding in the car. i am pretty sure you would have to wear a blindfold. the staff here where we are staying are all africans and they serve us every meal. i was taught to sew yesterday by amazing girls. really, how did i ever deserve this?
i am still trying to process what i see everyday. going from the orphanage to the slums to the city can be overwhelming at times. there is just so much going on and such poverty. they hard thing is that this is normal for them. i see these tiny shacks and trash and children, but this is all normal for them. it is life. part of that does not need to be changed. my prayer now is how can i even help this place? this is all they know. well there are so many other things to share, but i believe this is all for now. i will write again soon.
peace and love.