As I have previously mentioned, Africa, like many developing-world areas, is a land of contrasts and polar opposites. Magnificent beauty coexists with hideous repulsiveness. Sometimes they abut one another; other times they are simply separated by a matter of degrees or choices.
As I start to reflect upon this current trip, many images come to mind that reinforce this ongoing observation and impression: Glorious Ethiopian churches set next to ominous Mosques. Great Ugandan storks that choose to dig through garbage dumps instead of feeding off of the bevy of fresh fish in Lake Victoria. Idyllic coffee estates in Kenya that are located just a few miles away from the slums where thousands suffer and die daily. Countless orphans in close proximity to churches that can help if only they had the infrastructure and resources.
In all these cases, the prize is so close, yet so far away. I’m reminded of abundant water flowing just beneath the parched land of Kenya. The water is there and it is crystal clear, cool and plentiful. But a layer of granite separates the topsoil from the source of life below. People die on that land for lack of a clean drop to drink. Meanwhile, currents of water flow underneath them. If only they had the conduit between death and life, a channel through the granite.
(Image: A rescued street orphan tests the cool water after our borewell breaks through granite at Fountain of Life, Nairobi, 2006)
Such is the eternal prize. It is so very close. It only takes a simple faith and acknowledgement of the heart. But it is an eternity away for most of these people. Many have not heard or will not hear. The conduit or bridge is absent or nonexistent. The glory and magnificence is just out of reach.
Will you help to stand in the gap and span the divide?