Devastation in Africa MAG

By Sean K., Auburn, NY

     In September’s Teen Ink, I read an article about HIV/AIDS in Africa and how Americans are, or are not, helping to prevent the devastation. I hope that through Cody Gibson’s article you, too, learned about the seriousness of this situation. I’d like to turn your attention to Mozambique, as I am sure the facts in the Teen Ink article hold true for Mozambique - and that is only the beginning of that country’s need for help! A group of 12 teenagers (including me) went there for three weeks last summer.

We felt as though we were called to go. During our training, we learned what to expect and it seemed nerve-wracking, but we knew God had given us this opportunity and wanted us there. I had been told that a trip like this would change my life forever, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bigger understatement! At the church in the village of Dondo, the work projects and teaching failed to compare with the relationships that developed between us and the people living there.

As a registered nurse, my mom worked at a hospice in the U.S. helping those who were terminally ill. There was also a hospice in Dondo, where no one knew how long they would live or, in some cases, even what illness put them there. All they knew was that they were dying. We had the opportunity to serve soup to these people. Seeing them without hope of a cure, just lying on their cots, was one of the most difficult parts of the trip. This is where, for the first time, I saw the love and hope that these people hold onto. Death is imminent for almost all of them, and yet volunteers walk among them every day, serving them soup and praying for each. The love of God is what these people cling to, and live for.

Mozambique is a country where AIDS, malaria and poverty are the norm, and are expected for most. Yes, these things are real! Yes, people are dying! Yes, children need, but cannot afford, to go to school! Yes, people fade away from easily curable infections! And, yes, as Americans, we can help! We have the resources they need to turn their country’s future into a bright one. There are many organizations that offer ways for us to assist - do some research and find one whose philosophy you agree with, and help.

While devastation describes a majority of Mozambique, it is not the only thing people there live with. Most have almost no hope of a full life on earth, but the people in Dondo look to Jesus and hope for eternity with Him. True joy is how I describe their lives. They live and die in poverty, yet give more generously, with more selflessness, than most of us wealthy Americans would ever dream of.

I end not with a plea, but with a question: In the end, what will we have done that will have really mattered or have made a difference in the world? Think about it.

Sean Kane, Auburn, NY

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