This was submitted by Julie Gantt
May 2005 — that’s the date I first stepped off the plane in Malawi, and my life has never been the same! Truthfully, I had little idea what was in store for me. I felt a very strong urge to be a part of this trip, but it was honestly — only a dream — I never believed it would happen. I applied to be part of a group of women set out to help build the first House of Promise. I was very excited about the possibility of traveling abroad. While there are wonderful safari’s and numerous other trips available, the precious people stole my heart. We were met at the airport with a large truck to carry all of the bags, and there were many — over 60 full of supplies for painting, sewing curtains and bed coverings, and tools for building shelves, wardrobe closets, and kitchen cabinets.
Many of the children who became residents of the House of Promise had never slept in a bed. We were able to provide them with clothing, shelter, safety, warmth, and show them what true love and care was all about. While we worked each day at the job site, we were able to interact with adults as well as the children. As the bus drove up each day, children from all around would come running to see what the “women would be doing” on this day. Every day as word would spread, more and more children would show up each one eager for a welcoming smile, wave, or a glance at the camera to see themselves. I have never experienced being around happier people — young and old! I was truly ashamed at my own remembrance of the complaining and grumbling I had done even on the plane ride half way around the world to arrive in Malawi. We had come to make a difference in the lives of these children, yet they were the ones who taught me so much. I had come to help them; they are the ones who caused me to grow up and realize what in life was really important.
The basic needs that we all have are to be loved, cared for, sheltered, looked after, and protected. Many times — especially in America — we spend far too much time concentrating on the newest technology, the next Iphone, which new car we will purchase, or what outfit we will wear next week. In fact, I don’t know of many families in America who own only one car — yet the main mode of transportation near the House of Promise in Malawi is by foot. Distance is of no concern because if it is important enough, they will find a way to get there. The area we spent the most time in was truly like the pictures you see on the website — grass huts, clothes lines, and wash buckets for bathing. Water had to be carried in from the stream. The ability to grow food and plant a garden was very exciting. To have a Mom and a Dad in the same home both caring about you all the time and having your best interest in mind — this was very rare! Plus, there is now a “house” in the middle of the village, and no other dwelling of its kind was nearby.
As excited as they were to see us everyday, there was a certain hesitation to truly trust that we were genuine. There is much abuse and neglect that abounds in the continent of Africa. Children are often forced to care for younger siblings as there is no other adult to turn to who has their best interest in mind. I want to allow children to be children — to play, have nourishing meals, and be educated. I want to give them the opportunity to be taught how to provide for themselves and their families as they become adults. Suvival and existence can easily evolve without emotion; however, my heart’s cry when I left Africa was to return with the opportunity to teach, educate, and empower this current generation to truly make a difference for all who follow in their steps.
TAGS: Africa, children, House of Promise, life change, people CATEGORIES: Rhonda