Today we ventured out for a full day in the village of Mayuge. The mission has three goals that include pastoral development, bettering the lives of women and children, and sustainability. While the day was described as a pastoral leadership conference, it really focused on all three goals of the mission, but honestly, my interest is really in the last two goals so I sat myself down by the door during the time people were speaking so I could go outside and sneak back in to take a picture every now and again.
What I found is that kids are hard to take pictures of. The kids in these villages rarely get the opportunity to see a white man so they are automatically trying to get your attention. When you add a camera into the mix, who knows what will happen.
What I found was that once I showed them their image on the back of my camera everyone wanted to be a star. I would get one or two kids off to the side so I could shoot a picture of just them, step back to get my camera set and the next thing I knew they were crowding all around and the ones I tried to shoot were hidden in the back.
The visit to Mayuge was a full day, so they fed us lunch. In reality they fed the rest of the group lunch. I didn’t eat, but it wasn’t because I was afraid of their version of Montezuma. During the morning I found Moses outside and we began to talk. I don’t remember how it came up but we started talking about the agriculture and how people lived. He said that they had just gone through a drought that ended sometime during the last year. During that time, many of the people in the villages went without food. At that point, I couldn’t bring myself to eat the quantity of food that I knew they would set in front of me. So I stayed outside playing with the kids and taking pictures, not ungrateful for what had been prepared. It is sad that in the U.S. we have an abundance of food and we throw away a lot of what we buy while looking at the number of people who can’t put food in their stomach consistently.
In order to help provide, the women in Mayuge are starting to learn crafts. The goal is to be able to increase their income just a little to help provide for their families. These women were doing a lot with fabrics and beads. They had made several purses and other items that they hope to sell.
One thing that I learned talking with Moses is that even though life is hard, people won’t complain about their circumstances. They view complaining as being selfish and ungrateful. So instead they focus on what they do have and they strive to be grateful for it.
While we may have gone to Africa hoping to help, I think in reality there is much that we as society can learn from them.