Hope is the Spark that Changes Lives

Every girl in the world deserves education, safety, and dignity.

Every girl in the world deserves education, safety, and dignityI don’t care where they live, these are basics every girl should count on.  Yet, in some places of the world, girls simply cannot obtain an education.  It is not because her father demands that she stay at home and work.  It is not because she doesn’t want to receive an education.  It is something more basic – her period.  Yes, this is something we don’t usually think about and much less, talk about.  No one wants to discuss something like a girl’s “time of the month”, yet this basic biological function is what stops girls from becoming educated, time and time again.

PastorHe is a simple man, with no money to call his own.  His house is a small round hut in the middle of barren ground, with a few clucking chickens and peeps trying to find grain and worms to eat.  I hope these chickens are patient because I don’t see anything worth eating around here! His wife is inside the hut, surrounded by a cloud of smoke as she cooks a mixture of peanuts, round nuts and beans in water with a bit of salt.  They cook for a long time to get to a point where they can be eaten and when she is done, she places the single pot to the side, waiting for her visitors to come visit.

Geckoby Jodi Winfindale

I can’t say that living out in the bush is something I would volunteer to do on a regular basis, but it does make for funny stories, once you’ve boarded the bus back to town. 

We arrived at Morning Star Camp and were greeted by our friendly hostess, Norma, who quickly went through the basics of camp. There was a spigot of borehole water for drinking.  Two flushing toilets for emergency nighttime use only, outhouses with the tip tap outside for hand washing, be watchful if you walk around in the tall grass for snakes, there was a huge but friendly lizard living in the men’s outhouse (that scared away just of few of the manliest of men in the group) and just for our information, there may be a rat or mice around, as well.  Don’t leave our food out in the open, just to be on the safe side. 

by Jodi Winfindale

It’s funny how sometimes “new and improved” doesn’t mean “fast and efficient”. 

We arrived in Bulawayo to a brand spanking new airport terminal that had been in the making for years.  We’d pass it as we taxied the runway the past 2 years, on our way to disembark at the prior kwanza hut, with its hand written forms and visa paperwork, toilets with no seats or flushing capabilities, baggage that would be unloaded and piled up by airport staff.  Tanya’s friend, Roberto, somehow instinctively knowing she’d be on that plane, would wait for us to handle our bags and would push us and our bags through customs. Though primitive, it was efficient enough. 

Third Annual Run for Their Lives 5kAFCA held its third annual Run For Their Lives 5K on June 14.  One of the things I find rewarding as the event coordinator is that I am recognizing names and faces of runners that have been to our race in prior years.  I hope that means that people enjoy participating in this event as much as I enjoy organizing it.  Several people showed up wearing shirts from last year's event, something that thrills me to no end.  I recently saw someone in the grocery store wearing a Run For Their Lives 5K shirt, and I felt like an artist watching someone hang up and enjoy my painting.  Maybe not the best analogy, but nonetheless, it made my day.

What happens when you take 5 children and 25 teenagers and adults who want to make a difference in the lives of others to Zimbabwe for two weeks?  Two days of travel at the front end and a couple of days of travel back home cut into our two weeks right away.  A weekend resting at a safari camp takes another two days out of the work time.  With so little time left for work, I wonder what we'll get done.  We have the goal of seeing up two playgrounds for two schools so that the children have somewhere to play.  I know we must design them ourselves, cutting the wood and metal, putting it all together.

We are complete – our team of 30 has come from London, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Massachusetts, and DRCongo (Fred and I join the team in South Africa) and we all make it to Zimbabwe without any issues, other than a couple bags lost and found again.

Day 11 - in DR CongoDalenge and his wife have seven biological children and live in Gemena , Democratic Republic of Congo.  They are also the adoptive parents to four AIDS orphans, creating quite the full house.  As we visit them today, six of the children are in school, with the other school-aged children at home because they finished their final exams yesterday and the youngest don’t attend school yet.  They are excited to be on vacation while their siblings are still taking exams today and love being included in photos. 

  1. Have your friend Gilbert purchase live grubs.
  2. Put the little fellows in a bowl of water to clean them.  They will wiggle around in the water, as though enjoying their bath.

Day 9

I am drowning in my own sweat. 

I am in Congo, walking through fields and fields of tall, biting and cutting tough grass, making my way to see a corn field belonging to one of our beneficiary families.  In front of me, Mambo and Ndanda lead the way while behind me, Karina and Fred follow.  We walk for a long time and I feel my neck burning, soaking in the Congolese sun, sensing it seeping into me.  My legs are getting scratched as the grass reaches around and under my skirt, grabbing at my skin and letting go at my next step, just in time for another blade to grab on.

There are some things that are almost too wonderful for words.  Let me try to explain one of them.

Today, we visit a project we started a couple of years ago with one warehouse on a small farm called Portriez.  The warehouse produced tomatoes by the bucketfuls and we got super excited.  With what we learned, we decided to expand the project to a larger piece of land – 50 acres, in a place called Lunga Lunga (LL), outside of Mombasa.  AFCA put in a borehole and an organic greenhouse and we hit the ground running. 

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