So my friends at Mocha Club have started a new project called, "I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me." I learned about it from BooMama, and thought, "Oh, why not. It sounds cool, and I do love me some Mocha Club..." So here we go.
Why I need Africa more than Africa needs me:
So, here I lay in my nice, warm bed in one of the most affluent counties in the nation: Williamson County in Middle Tennessee. I am typing this on the eve of Thanksgiving, possibly one of the most underrated holidays in our nation. Thanksgiving is looked over until you've been to a third-world country. Talk about a reality check. I ventured to Lilongwe, Malawi this past summer, and learned enough about thankfulness and blessing to last me a good long while.
I haven't always been crazy about Africa. When I was younger (like, oh say, 12...) the idea of missionaries in Africa freaked me out. There were elephants, and rhinos, and native people with spears in Africa. No thank you, Lord. I'm just fine doing missions in my nice, comfortable American Kid Bubble.
And then, my freshman year of high school, that was all turned on its head. I began to learn about the uprising of the LRA in Northern Uganda, and participated in a Global Night Commute with Invisible Children. From that night on, I'm positive that I've had an Africa-shaped hole in my heart.
Last spring, an opportunity to go to Africa arose. My youth group was traveling over to help build a house, teach school, and lead a Vacation Bible School with a village just outside of Lilongwe, Malawi. Now, Malawi is this teeny tiny sliver of a country sandwiched between Mozambique and Zambia. Malawi is where some of my best friends live.
I need Africa more than Africa needs me because I left my heart there. I met children that cannot comprehend going to school with a bookbag full of notebooks and pencils and textbooks. I met teenage girls that rather than spending their afternoons with girlfriends, they spend their afternoons caring for their baby brothers and sisters. I met men who provide for families on under one American dollar.
Just becase I lay my head down every night on a nice soft pillow in a nice warm bed, doesn't mean that some of my best friends do too. Some of my best friends dig old magazines out of trashcans to take their science notes on. Some of my best friends don't know what it's like to go to school and sit in a desk.
I need Africa because Africa taught me to dream on a whole new level. Africa taught me to laugh, and love, and learn. Africa taught me to be thankful, and to trust that the Lord will provide. Africa taught me to wave at strangers, and that a smile can make a world of difference.
I need Africa because the people are incredible, and they taught me so much while I was there. I went to Lilongwe, Malawi for two weeks the summer before my senior year expecting to serve the people there, but in return, I was blessed beyond words. The people of Africa are truly amazing, and blessed me in more ways than I can put into words. I need Africa.