Showing posts from 2012

Christmas in Zimbabwe

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 
-Mary Oliver

After many years of celebrating Christmas together in as a family post-divorce with my ex-husband and our four children, this year I made the decision to go to Africa for the holiday. It was a last minute decision after much soul-searching.
I really wanted to be with my four children on Christmas this year.My children are ages 17-22 so time is limited with them as they create their own lives outside of family. I especially needed to be with family after losing my stepfather on November 30, 2012.
My own father died twenty-four years ago when I was twenty-five. My stepfather, John, came into my mother's life seventeen years later.I called him my soul father because calling him a stepfather just didn't seem good enough for a man like John. My mom and John met and married when they were in their seventies. It was wonderful to watch th…

Blessings and Grace

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a nation."
                                                   -Nelson Mandela

November 30, 2012 was a special day in Zimbabwe.  Thirty-two children celebrated their end of the school year graduation from the school supported by House of Loveness.  In a country where many orphans drop out of school by first grade, these children were beating the odds. It was a moment filled with blessings, resourcefulness and grace.
The blessings were for a school that opened in May 2010 after a conversation House of Loveness founder Betsy Blankenbaker had with a local foster mother in Zimbabwe who wanted to teach but there were no opportunities. The local schools that were open were staffed by teachers who had had no resources for books and supplies a…

Meeting Primrose

This photo means a lot to me. You know the phrase, You’ve come a long way baby? That’s what I think when I see this photo.

     I was just off a 24 hour flight from the US to Zimbabwe. Only a few hours earlier at the airport in Johannesburg, I had sent one last text to my family in the US: Arrive in Zim in a few hours and will be holding Loveness soon. Instead, when I got off the plane in Zimbabwe, I was told Loveness had died. This photo was taken a few hours after that.

     I had been taken to the hospital where Loveness’s body was in the morgue. I still wanted to hold her. But first with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, I passed through the Children’s Ward at the hospital and met these three children, all abandoned. I am holding Tanya, Cheepo is sleeping in the crib they all shared and staring me down is Primrose.  There were a total of six abandoned children in the hospital on that day. Four infants, including Loveness, had die…

Seeing The Faces Beyond Kony

I've had to spend some time collecting my thoughts about the recent Invisible Children campaign.  The minute the campaign went viral and I saw the urgent appeal on Facebook from my friends and their children, I was perplexed.  The outpouring of urgency from the campaign didn't make sense because I knew Kony (the head of the LRA) that the campaign was focused on capturing (with your donations) was no longer in Uganda AND no longer a threat. His damage was done years ago. The children that survived his atrocities do deserve our help.   The focus should be on empowering the children's future, not on making Kony a household name.

I have never met the filmmakers of Invisible Children but I do know they spoke at my own children's school 2 years ago.  They pulled in on their bus, showed their film and got the children engaged in conversations about Africa and how to help. I know their intentions were good and I don't doubt that they have made a tremendous difference in the…