The person making the object wasn’t trying to express his own personality or his own interpretation of appearance; he was trying to represent something outside himself for which he felt the utmost respect, love or dread – to show us this wonderful thing as well as he possibly could. How the purity of his intention makes itself felt in the artifact I don’t understand but it does.
– Diana Athill
The night before we taught our first art class to the children in Ghana I said a quiet prayer that the deep imagination of these kids would be tapped. I had an idea how the day would go from my previous experiences in Kenya. The children swarm around you and treat you like you’re a celebrity. They’re curious about your every aspect and want to be in your presence. The African children always loved my blonde hair and would make me lean down so they could touch it. They were also fascinated by my tattoos and wanted to touch those as well. Continue reading “Pen & Paper” »
“Here I am, where I am supposed to be” – Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) ‘Out of Africa.’
The continent turns a person into an action junkie. Adventure becomes like a drug. You may go through withdraw but you’re never fully yourself again until you’re back on the rugged, unknown path of freedom. I don’t know anyone who lives this out quite as well as my friend Rebecca. She lives a life certain of uncertainty with no reservations about serving God and other people in whatever capacity, wherever she’s needed, with no restrictions. When Rebecca heard her Lord say “Follow me” she left everything and went, with reckless abandon. She surrendered and didn’t look back, even when the doubts and struggles and questions came. And in that surrender she found the utmost freedom, something one only gets to bask in for a little while when they’re in Africa. Continue reading “Reckless Abandon” »
It hits you all at once the moment you step off the plane. The first gulp of monstrously humid night lets you know that western civilization is over and you’re in “the third world.” From the comforts of the air-conditioned airplane, equipped with the latest technology and staffed by a blue-suited British flight crew to a makeshift warehouse-like ‘terminal’ crowded with African and Western passengers trying to make sense out of the chaos.
We had just left The Polar Vortex of the U.S. which was experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures, to the ungodly heat of sub-Saharan West Africa. I was caught off guard because my previous trips to Kenya had proven a hot climate but without humidity. Not so in Ghana, just a couple hundred miles north of the Equator, blanketed with an invisible haze of thick air. Outside the airport, mosquitoes and moths swarmed the lamp lights, bustling, honking taxis and rickety vans coated in red dust clogged the main road as throngs of people moved about carrying bags, luggage and baskets on their heads. One can’t help but fully absorb where they are and how far they’ve traveled when faced with that immediate shock of climate and culture. I had missed that exquisite rush. Continue reading “The Despair of the Privileged” »