Smile!

July 3, 2012

Last week, I was looking through hundreds of photos from our Impact Team members when this one made me stop and think.  It brought me back to walking around in Kenya to the constant calls of “How are you??”  or “Mzungu, mzungu!” from the neighborhood kids.  It reminded me of the times I would try to go out for a run and end up in a pack of dozens of smiling kids, thrilled (and confused) to see a white person running down the street!

The picture also made me think about how we, as Americans, perceive African children.  Earlier this week I tweeted an article about how the presentation of Africans in photographs can dramatically skew our interpretation of their lifestyle, and I think this photo is a great example.  So often we see the pictures of “starving African children,” but if we haven’t been to places like Kenyan, we often miss out on the joy that those same faces have potential to display.

The joy that these faces display is pure, unbridled, and contagious.  It’s joy from getting to go to school, from eating something every day, and from feeling like you have a chance to make a difference in your life.  This is the kind of joy that we want the kids of every family we work with to have each and every day.  It’s a big part of why we do what we do!  I’ve written before about the effects of CFA on kids, but when you see faces like these, it’s easy to grasp the significance of giving a child the chance to grow up with loving parents, in a safe home, with nutritious food and a good education.

I believe that kids of HIV+ parents in Kenya have the best shot at living a fulfilling life with Christ if their parents can raise them and provide for them, instead of leaving them to an orphanage or the street, and that’s why we try to give those parents the tools they need.  When the results are smiles like these, it’s definitely worth it! 

For the article on photography in Africa:

http://waterwellness.ca/2010/04/28/perspectives-of-poverty/