Mar 2 – Seeing Burkina Faso

I have just returned home from a 10 day trip to Burkina Faso, Africa. I saw hunger, disease, hope, joy, generosity. I felt hot, dusty, thirsty, loved, appreciated, encouraged, hospitality, inspired. I was filled with heart-breaking experiences that consumed my heart with compassion. I wish I could put it into one simple post and tell you what what all this means. But I cannot.

DSCF3014After arriving at the mission house, being served a pizza dinner and sleeping in a place we’d soon call “home,” we began our adventure. This picture is what we saw everywhere as we traveled into “the bush.” The bush basically means the remote villages where we are digging wells. Houses along the way (everywhere actually) are made of mud and if they are able, brick. The mud houses easily get destroyed in the rainy season and are some left uninhabitable. These remains are seen everywhere. Just standing there, with new ones next to them. The brick & mortar houses, many with metal roofs held in place by large rocks, sustain the elements so much better. Many look to have one room.

In contrast to the dusty ground and many shades of brown or tan, you’d see a vibrant green leafed tree providing much needed shade. Many would have someone sitting under it or cows gathered underneath taking a break from the intense sun. Rarely would you see a bright pink flowered bush hanging over a wall. And by rarely, I mean I saw this maybe three times in the 10-day trip. The only other place you would see color was in the beautiful fabrics of the African clothing.

The black specks on the ground are trash – tossed shopping bags. Something that I never got used to. This picture does not show the extent of the trash, but begins to. Sometimes as you traveled past a village or through a town, you would see walking paths swept out through the trash. It is just accepted there. All I could think of that day was: If I could get my son, Colin, here he could help clean up a village and teach some waste management ideas and his Eagle Scout project would be complete.

DSCF3160As we traveled through the countryside this first day, I was not sure I’d get used to the sights and definitely questioned how I could find a love for this place: people on motos everywhere – consuming the road sometimes (what we’d call a small motorcycle or moped), bike riders everywhere, huts selling wares along the road, women walking with heavy loads on their heads, dusty children, trucks and vans loaded 10 or more feet high on top with anything imaginable,  bare feet walking in sand and gravel, dust rising and billowing from our vehicle on the dirt roads, browns and tans and browns and tans and browns and tans. Oh, and more browns and tans.

I went on faith that God would show me something beautiful. And I was not disappointed.

About Karen Grant

Children's Minister - FaithWorks! is the children's ministry of Clay Church in South Bend, Indiana.
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