This blog posted by Debbie Mussey, Executive Director.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Africa?”
Fifteen years ago my response was the typical safari scene — desert with elephants, giraffes, and cheetahs running after prey at an unfathomable speed. In the distance would be the stereotypical painted and almost naked African with a loincloth and spear — you know, the ones you see in old National Geographic magazines.
The first time I set my feet on African soil, my preconceived notions were immediately dispelled! Nairobi was a big city and pretty modern considering this was a third world country. Office buildings, traffic, street vendors, beggars — much of what we see in our cities here in America.
In looking through the photos from this first adventure in Africa, I realized that it only took a few days before this place and its people would capture a piece of my heart and never give it back! The people in the villages that we worked alongside with were friendly, warm, humble, and sacrificial. The women worked equally as hard as the men. They not only carried and moved stacks of heavy, wet lumber, they prepared our meals in a makeshift kitchen outdoors over an open flame in the heat. They always had a genuine smile on their faces which I believe reflected a true happiness inside.
They wanted everything to be perfect for the Americans which on one occasion even meant butchering and cooking one of their lambs. They welcomed us into their homes with open arms and open hearts. They had so little yet were so willing to give it all to us. I came away simply overwhelmed by their generosity. It impacted me!
It was this trip that started my own determination that I would do as much as I possibly could to help in whatever way I could. That determination led to several more trips to different parts of Africa — each one stealing another piece of my heart! Each one different and unique and impactful in its own way.
I did get to experience the safari scene! You know, the one with elephants, giraffes, and cheetahs running after prey. There were even Maasai warriors to be seen…
TAGS: Africa, humility, sacrifice, safari CATEGORIES: Rhonda