Saturday, March 28, 2015

African smile...

"There are about 1/3rd of children in the village going without breakfast, but they still have the energy to play and run around. Other children would complain and be grumpy without breakfast. There is something that has to be said about the African smile."

This was told to me by my host father, Eliack Shikamo, who runs the clinic in our village. He is right, no matter what the circumstances there is always a beautiful smile here by young and old. I play with the kids in my village in the morning and I always wonder who has eaten or not eaten.It's hard to tell because they don't complain or show any signs of hunger. 

I always hide when I eat food and I send the children away when I cook. There are times I will pop popcorn or make scones to share with them hoping this will help them get through the school day. A lot of us take things for granted in the States, especially if we have never experienced hunger. 

Another example is I met an elderly woman on her way to the clinic. She greeted me and showed me an infection on the pit of her arm. She explained to me she traveled very far (by foot) to come to the clinic to get medication for her infection. She also told me she had not eaten and was having difficulty continuing on with her journey. I told her I would see if there is anything I can do to help thinking maybe I can find some food for her. I ended up giving her five kwatcha to help her out. This entire interaction showed me the endurance, resilience, and the strength a community can have when we help each other out. She was not a beggar, she was a woman in trouble. But she still had the strength and amazing human spirit to smile at me. Oh, that African smile is so wonderful.

There is hunger in every corner of this planet, Africa isn't the only place this happens to. Children will be children whether they have a full tummy or not. This is what Africa has taught me.

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