Saturday, September 27, 2014

A day at the orphanage


Fruit stand with guava and bananas
Yesterday we went to the orphanage. It is down a long muddy hill and sits on a stunning little piece of property overlooking lush, green, tropical foliage and banana trees and narrow glistening inlets. But it is hard to notice this expansive view with seven children on your back, hips, hanging on your waist and climbing and your shoulders and four on each arm. I generally avoid photo-ops with orphaned children, for reasons too long and controversial to address here. However, I had to show you Martinique "Martini". And this beautiful photo of Sherri being styled by Marvelous and Lauren Bless. 

I could reflect for a lifetime on going to this one place. It is poverty. It is rejection and injustice. There are solutions to their poverty and their way of life. There could be more for these children. They live in filth, are constantly ill, are uneducated. We sat on the floor and played jacks with stones. They are content to their simple games of hop scotch and clapping games and that is okay, I guess. But not really because it is not 1940, it's 2014 and these children deserve much more. And these are just the outward, physical observances. The emotional damage, rejection and isolation and it's impact on these children is huge.

Sherri and I sat in silence on the ride back, both just sad from the injustice and our minds racing as to what we can do. What is my part and my role in this and how I can I not simply just walk away from this place but do something to help these no longer nameless, faceless children? To me, money from the West is not the answer. But I don't know precisely what is. I think it is a culmination of a lot of solutions to a lot of problems. One thing that I noticed right away in being here in Cameroon is how bright and articulate the people are. Sherri's students shine with intellect and passion. They are part of the solution to the problem. Sherri is on to something powerful as she is here equipping this generation to take on these issues and bring real change. It is part of the reason I am here. For us all to sit down and dialogue about solutions. We don't have to reinvent the wheel, creative solutions to poverty are happening all over the place. We just need to discover what best fits this place at this time. 

I love being here because I see the passion and intellect and drive on this young generation of Sherri's students. They are living, breathing hope to the hopeless. They are the answer and I get to hang out with them. It is an honor. 

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