Thursday, June 4, 2009

I ♥ Africa

This girl was born to travel. If there were one place that I could choose to spend more time in, it would be in an airport. There's just something about it. Maybe, that it's filled with new and interesting people to meet, high priced souvenirs to gawk at and plenty of adventure to be had!

I haven't gone to many places, but the places I have been to will forever hold a special, envious place in my heart.

Over the next few blogs, I shall tell the story of each place I have been. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to get off of your country's soil and seek out the world. It is an amazing place.

Africa, age 15:

I went with my dad to Ghana, Africa during my freshman year of high school. In my opinion, if any parent wants to impart the importance of thankfulness and contentment to their teenager, I think they should ship 'em to Africa for ten days or more.

The initial impressions I had, of this country so close to the equator, were the smells. After fighting my way through the airport personnel and stray Africans trying to make money by carrying my luggage, I was hit by the heavy air. I'd never in my life smelled anything like it- a mixture of what I can closely describe as pot and body odor. Africa is hot and the air is saturated with human sweat.

Unfortunately, or not, mine and my dad's luggage were left in Germany, our pit-stop to Ghana. But, the insurance he had (it had been his twenty-something trip and knew the chances of lost luggage) provided us $500 for each piece of luggage that did not arrive within 24 hours. We had four pieces each; also, the airlines gave us $100 each for the "inconvenience". Then, $1,200 was worth about 1.3 million Cedes, in exchange. We had to carry around our money in backpacks- the only condition for the insurance was that we had to spend the money before we left. Psh.

Obviously, Africa is a poor country. But, the reality of how poor it is doesn't sink in until you can see the depression for yourselves. Americans, or more specifically- Caucasians, are free game for any African. Don't take this the wrong way, Ghana is probably the safest country a 15 year old white girl could visit. Crime involving another human, is low; their crimes are more like stealing and cheating- ways to survive. What I mean by "free game" is that Africans see white skin and think money/prosperity. So, they will do anything to obtain that money. Be it marriage, service or begging. {Begging on the streets of LA is nothing, nothing compared to the begging in Africa}.

The women in our group were proposed to dozens of times a day. Men, hoping to marry a white American and go to "the Land of Milk and Honey" would demand marriage. And, the bigger the woman, the better. When you live off of $1 a month, you don't have a lot of food to eat and are, thus, hungry and skinny. Imagine what a larger American says to a skinny African.

Anyway, I digress. With the money we had, we were able to bless everyone (almost) that came into our path. My shoes were also left in Germany; so we went to buy shoes. In the store were two women, one pregnant and both with small children. We were able to buy the mothers, children and children-to-be multiple pairs of shoes. I doubt that they had ever been given any gift so costly and so unattached to any conditions. Well, that's not entirely true. We did offer the opportunity for salvation- another precious gift.

In another store, PEP, we found that a boy had been caught shop lifting clothes. He had been taken in the back of the store and was being beaten by the personnel. My dad, being my personal hero, went back to investigate. He stopped the beating, spoke to the little boy (via a translator) and had him apologize. Then, before we left, he purchased the little boy and entire new wardrobe: pants, shirts, shoes, socks, underwear and made him promise not to steal anything else. I think the words my dad used were, "From now on, you are not to steal. Instead, you must ask Jesus to give you what you need and He will give it to you."

At every stop light, we handed out bills to women and their children with large bottles of water.

For me, though, the most interesting and touching part of the entire trip was when we were able to visit Akosombo, a village right out of the pages of a National Geographic magazine. The women, expecting our visit and crusade, made sure to cover their bare breasts. Ohhhh, the children of that village! They were so small and beautiful. Whilst the other team members were bathing in antibacterial lotion, all I could do was sit on the ground and let their little hands touch my skin. They had never seen a white adolescent before and wanted to know if the white would rub off. One little girl let me hold her. I will never, as long as I live, forget her deep brown eyes and her soft skin and she hesitantly let me scoop her into my arms.

There are so many more memories that I have of Africa. But, why spill the beans when I could let you experience your own? Twice a year, my dad goes to Africa in an effort to minister to those who need salvation and provide medicine/water/food to those who can't afford it. If you want to help out, or go to Africa yourself. Email me at for information and I will be happy to send you some!

Truly, one can become so comfortable with life that it is easy to forget the needs of others. Africa taught me one lesson above all others, I. Am. Blessed. Some day, when Malachi is old enough to stay with his grandparents, I want.need.desire.beg. to return and help, once more, the nation that captured my heart.



Search the Daily Offensive!