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Africa Will Shock Your Senses

December 2022

After living overseas for many years and traveling to tens of nations, our trip to Mali, Africa was a shock to the senses. Let no one delude you, there is no where in America, and I mean no where, that is like the poverty we see in Africa.

As I recall, Chad was with us on this trip. From day one the trip was a challenge. The “trek” from the car to the train was a “story” in and of itself. Before we got out of the car, we had been warned, keep all of your items close and secure to your body.

It was not that we were passing through a band of thieves, but that thieves took advantage of the mass of humanity we were about to pass through. If I remember correctly, Patti grabbed hold tightly of fifth grader Chad!

The trip on the train from the capitol out into the desert, was a lifetime experience. It looked like one of Knot’s Berrys farm first trains that hadn’t been maintained since ever! There were no real seats as such and the sliding door was left open the whole four or five hour trip. We arrived with soot all over us. Along the way, the meal was a pot bought at a stop, serving goat meat in really spicy sauce. All was eaten by hands.

The trip from Mail to Senegal was via a car across as desolate a stretch of Africa as you can imagine. The road was a path that we hoped the driver knew by heart. We stayed that night in a “hunting” type lodge surrounded by the sounds of Africa.

By the time we left Senegal to Europe about one week later. It took me another week in bed in Spain to heal. I had one internal infection upon another. Imagine that!!

That trip, and others to Africa like it, remind me regularly of two things. One, we live in a tough world. The spread and depth of poverty can be mind numbing. Let it never allow us to ignore it, but do what we can to help those we can

Two, only the promise of eternity from God holds out any real hope that there is a day of healing and fullness. Without it, the world would be a miserable place to live.

Grandma and I try and live with our hands open. Not because we can or will change the world. But, so that we can bring some joy and relief to a few. We pray that you too will live your life with your hands open.

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