Monday, August 28, 2006

Hope from the heart of Africa

(Our internet has been down for four days, so I’m posting last Friday’s a bit late)

I hadn’t planned to add commentary to my slide shows, but tonight I wept openly and felt the need to share. I brought in Gabriel, my nine year old son, to sit in my lap and together we watched the story of Alone through a slide presentation from the New York Times. His story ripped my heart into pieces.

Alone is nine years old, the same age as Gabriel, and lives in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. It’s a place we’ve been to many times. His mother died in 2001, and he hasn’t seen his father for years. He lives with his grandmother in a one room, cinderblock house. At night he sleeps on the cement floor. During the day, he rises at six thirty in the morning to go work in the query crushing rocks. He works for two hours, with no breakfast then goes to school. At school, he has a hard time concentrating. He’s hungry and tired. At one o’clock, he returns to the query and works for another five hours until it’s time to walk home. Supper is his only meal of the day.

Nine years old, small, undernourished. . .and truly, alone.

There are three hundred children from Alone’s school who also work in the query. Barely making enough money to help their family with a place to sleep, one meal a day, and enough water to survive.

I first thought I’d entitle today’s slideshow Tears from the Heart of Africa, but instead of tears, I’ve entitled it Hope. Hope from the Heart of Africa. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I realize that I can’t change the whole world. I can’t take away poverty. I can never insure that each child has three meals and a warm bed at night. I can’t give a loving home to every child who’s taken into child labor to work as a prostitute, a miner, a street vendor, or a full-time servant. But I can still make a difference. Each one of us can, one person, or one child at a time.

I doubt that anyone reading this post will go to bed tonight with no supper. We have shoes on our feet, and warm beds to sleep in. We are blessed. Because of this, go out and make a difference in one person’s life today. . .and tomorrow. . .and the next day. A neighbor, a friend, someone who’s lonely and needs a phone call, someone you see on the street, someone who needs a friend, a hot meal, a shoulder to cry on. . .and start changing the world, one person at a time.

Be blessed,


Link to the New York Times slide presentation on child labor:


  1. As always, Lisa, the slide show is just stirring! I'm so blessed to call you my friend. Your outlook is so amazing and humbling--keeps me grounded. :-D

  2. Powerful. Thank you for sharing this.