I am sorry this one is a little late in coming, I just didn’t know how to say it. I don’t know how to communicate what I saw in Africa, though this post falls short of communicating whatever is inside me, it is a start.
There is one thing I am sure of after two months of Beauty For Ashes retreats in Africa and it’s this: Africa would fall and crumble into a million tiny pieces if it wasn’t for the women who hold this continent up.
What I am about to say isn’t easy to hear, believe me, it wasn’t easy for me to hear either.
In these two months I’ve listened to story after story, more than I can count, of women being left and abandoned by men. Of alcoholic and abusive fathers who have tried to assert their control with violence, many times leaving his victims barely clinging to life. Of men who thought their alcoholic addiction was of greater importance than feeding their family, of men who simply took off when things got hard. And what was left was a strong woman who picked up the pieces and single handedly raised many children, oftentimes including children that were not her own.
I wish I could say that this was not the norm, I wish I could say that men as a whole in Africa are bringing her to a better place, but it isn’t truth. It sounds harsh but I cannot think of any other way to say it. The majority of men in Africa have left her floundering.
I can count on one hand the stories of good men I have heard about, out of the hundreds I was privy to hear.
I don’t say this to condemn African men, not in the least, I have had the privilege of meeting a number of good African men in my travels. I am just saying that is time something change. It is time for the men who have acted selfishly to admit it, to own up and take responsibility for his actions. But more than that I think it is time for women to be respected.
I think it is time for Africa to realize the wealth that she has in women. I think that it is time for women to be treated as equals and to no longer seen as property. I believe it is time for someone to finally say thank you.
Thank you for being the heartbeat of Africa. Thank you that in spite of deep suffering, abuse, and poverty that you chose to stay and care. Thank you for the buckets of water you carried for miles, thank you for creating food for the village to eat and thank you for caring for the sick. And thank you that throughout it all you sang praises to God.
Thank you seems to fall short of all they have done, but it’s a start. It’s a beginning that creates value and worth in what they have done for so long. And maybe if we start saying thank you they can begin to see the value in themselves that God has seen all along.
So this one goes out to the women of Africa that keep her alive. Keep changing the world for the better, you are appreciated.