I apologize for such a gap between posts. Quite frankly, I’ve been processing my trip to Africa.
After coming down off kilimanjaro, Tom and I spent the next several days immersed in the poverty of Tanzania. Arusha, the city where we spent the majority of our time is a city of approximately 300,000 people. The poverty is immense.
I’ve worked specifically with children in very difficult situations numerous times in Peru and Ecuador. The life challenges in Africa are at a much deeper level. To put it into perspective . . . The per capita income of South America is 1/20th of those of us living in the United States. The per capita income of those living in Africa is 1/10th of those living in South America.
The moment we would drive off the main street of Arusha we would find ourselves on deeply pocked dirt roads. There were so many people living in such a small area. And children everywhere. Add to that the fact that AIDS was running rampant. A fine layer of red dust covered everything.
We visited Compassion projects that are offering hope in a situation that seems hopeless. There are now more than 50,000 children sponsored in Tanzania. I was able to spend the day with Bakari and Godfrey, two of the children my wife and I sponsor. Beautiful young boys whose smiles light up the world.
We also visited two of the cottages that RiverTree partnered with Compassion to start. The cottages provide a home for children whose families have been decimated by the AIDS pandemic. Without the cottages they would literally be living on the street–or worse.
The financial resources that were raised by our climb will be used to start two new cottages and sustain them for at least two years each.
I’ve frequently been asked about my “mountaintop experience.” The reality is that the mountain we climbed is miniscule compared to the mountain of poverty that the children of Africa must ascend. I pray our climb made their mountain a little bit smaller.