Circus Week continues with this picture of a circus "Trick Rider". Usually these folks would ride in circles doing various tricks on the ponies. I can remember finding these parts of the circus entertaining, and less distressing than most of the other parts. You can probably tell I was not (and am not) a big fan of circuses.
We have gotten several comments and emails expressing hope and interest in hearing more about the Africa trip. To be honest, I had imagined writing clever and witty little things about the trip and to share with you the adventure as it unfolded. The truth is, that what I found over there was much different than what I had expected. As you are aware, my daughter, the Lovely Ms. EAM serves as a nurse/missionary for the Mattaw Children's village. Mattaw is like a little oasis of hope in the midst of a storm of misery. The children of Mattaw are loved, well cared for, happy, playful, and healthy children. This is because of the generosity of folks like you all, who give sacrificially to make such a place possible. The sad thing is that life is very different outside Mattaw. When we got there, Ms. EAM said, "Dad, there is something I have to show you". She took us to the slum of Kipsongo. Kipsongo has to be the saddest place on earth. If it is not, it is certainly the saddest place I have ever seen. Literally, there are people laying on the ground, covered with flies, and dying. The children are malnourished, living in squalor, and suffering from a variety of medical issues.
As you walk through Kipsongo, the children want to touch you. Five children stand on each side of you, and each child holds one of your fingers and walks with you. The homes are made from mud, or sticks and garbage bags. It is a place of hopelessness, and I can remember my thought as I walked through there . . . "This is the place dreams come to die". You could see the things that people had done to try to make a difference there. There was a well with a hand pump, someone had tried to build latrines for the people, and out front was a little shop with a faded sign . . . the dream being that the women would make beaded jewelry and sell in the little shop.
So, I am really not talking abut the Africa trip because I am still trying to digest it. I am so proud of the work that the the Lovely Ms. EAM is doing there, but the challenges are so large, and the workers are so few. So, Mrs. PJM and I are pondering how we could contribute and how we could make a difference over there. The problems require more than simply sending more money . . . the problems require boots on the ground, and new ideas. So, I will not be talking much about Africa as I try and think about the issues.