Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Step Into Africa" Expedition

Have you ever been curious about that far-away continent of Africa, but had neither the money or time, to actually travel to the other side of the planet to see it? Well, here is your opportunity to "Step Into Africa" for an authentic experience of the common population. It is not the "touristy" version of going on a high-priced luxury wildlife safari. No, this experience will show you the "other" side of Africa, seldom seen on the Travel Channel, or in the tourism brochures.

Mountain Home, Arkansas, is one of only forty locations in the United States, where World Vision is setting up their highly acclaimed project known as "Step Into Africa". It is designed to raise the consciousness of participants, about the seriousness of the AIDS crisis in Africa. You will be able to see if YOU could survive the journey of a child in that country, who has been orphaned by AIDS. You can actually lay down on a bedroll on the floor, similar to what this African child would do each night. You can lift the heavy container of water the child often has to carry a long distance, just to have water to drink or cook with. You can see why there is no need for "closet organizers" or "storage units" for these folks---a nail in the wall can hold all their earthly possessions.
It was five years ago, when I was first given the opportunity to broaden my horizons regarding what was going on in Africa. I was able to sign up to help one of these unfortunate children through a program run by World Vision. The photos outlined in blue show "my" little Stacy in Kenya. The first photo I received of Stacy was when she was three years old (lower middle photo) in 2004, and gave no clue if Stacy was a boy or a girl. I found out later that one reason for this was that a common myth in her village said that a man who was infected with AIDS could be cured if he would have sex with a young girl. So in an effort to protect the little girls, their hair was kept cropped and they did not wear dresses. As AIDS education and World Vision assistance has continued in her village, I can see an improvement in Stacy's appearance. The lower left photo shows her at age four with a lantern provided by World Vision. The dress she has on at age five (top right photo) is the same one she is wearing for the photo taken when she was six years old (lower right photo). But notice the difference in her countenance in the two photos. After she was able to start school (thanks to help from World Vision), she has a big smile on her face---the first one I had seen in all my photos of her. The most recent photo (upper left) also shows her smiling, as she is drawing water from a well/pump system made possible through the assistance of World Vision to her village.
Don't miss this FREE exhibit October 18-25, at the Baxter County Fairgrounds! Go to to find out exhibit hours and choose the time you want to visit. It is good to remember these words in James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."
So take that first step that will open your eyes to a far-away place, and make you see how truly blessed we are, here in the USA---visit "Step Into Africa"!! See you there! TriciaPosted by Picasa