(A to Z Blogs April 2015 – Back to Africa)
That to which we give our attention creates our world view. Or our Africa view. There is so much focus on what’s wrong, we can miss what’s right, what’s beautiful, what’s interesting. X’ed photography meant that I didn’t take very many pictures of trash in the streets or ditches, evidence of poverty, or oppression. Was it there? Certainly. Could our nonprofit use those views to pull at heart-strings? Maybe. We’re about hope, though, using education to build for the future today.
Fundamentally, though, I come back to looking for the positive. In the streets of Paris a couple weeks ago my youngest son said, “Yuck! Look mommy.” He was pointing at the cigarette butts, dog poo, and trash that it is legal to drop in the gutters which are cleaned daily (and stay that way for 10 or 15 minutes).
“Yes, I said. I see it. But look in the bakery window, the designs of the balconies and buildings. Do you know what we’ll see soon?”
“The Eiffel Tower!”
He wasn’t terrible impressed until he actually saw it.
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. A top destination, yet lots of folks can’t see much beyond the dirty gutters. There’s so much more to Africa, to Congo, to the people, culture, and beauty, potential and realities that are there. So I photographed flowers, birds, vistas, shy smiles, and food.
A TED Talk my husband sent to me recently said:
Poverty isn’t getting worse. Food isn’t running out. Volunteering overseas is not the best way to help. Simon Moss debunks six myths about poverty and asks a series of new questions to reshape the way we think about relief. (Africa is poor and five other myths link.)
Sometimes you can change the world by changing how you look at it. Future. Hope. Africa.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
Kristin King is an author, publisher and co-founder of the nonprofit Future Hope Africa which is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is from Kentucky (USA) and lives as an expat in Holland.