JUL '09 Africa & Children

At the breathtaking beach (left) on an outing with teenagers I'd met on an earlier trip, these two youngsters joined the group to see what was going on.  They asked me to photograph them; this pic (right) was among the best taken that afternoonSocial occasions are wide open, it seems.  Children especially will wander in, join you for awhile, and move on to other things.   

On a holiday outing with friends, I was fed a nice meal by folks who didn't know me.   They seem comfortable making a place for everyone. 

At the beach by Angolares on a weekend afternoon, these children (right) play in the shallows.  Simple lives, simple pleasures; they're better at family and community than most developed countries.  Children are more likely to grow up with a healthy self-image, well-developed sense of place in society and community, less exposure to violence.  There remain serious hurdles, though; they need educational resources, health care, clean water sources, balanced diet, public infrastructure.

In Sao Tome & Principe, this time for several week's work, we had the chance to visit familiar places and people we'd met on previous trips.  Bearing gifts from home, we were graciously received by warm-hearted people.  We hand-carried books for the school from the US and Portugal; it put us over-weight allowance for the flight, but the airlines were helpful.  We brought prints of photos from previous trips.  Everyone enjoyed them.

In the crowd of children who gathered when I returned this year, this is the youngster (right), whom I'd met and photographed a year earlier (June '08). 

Here she is (left) with the photo I'd printed, framed, and brought for her to give her mom; she was pleased.

These parents (bottom, right) asked to be included in the fun.  We were making a bit of a ruckus photographing the kids and the beach.  The adults watched for awhile, and finally waved us over and asked us to include them.  They insist on looking serious for photos, but  I managed to catch them laughing here. 

Children of Sao Tome & Principe

Click on the slideshow for a further look at children's lives in Sao Tome.

Pretty well worn out  after long weeks and difficult tasks, it was good to head for home.  At the same time though, it tugs at your heart to leave these gracious people. 

So what are we going to do with what we know?

Tell the rich folks to quit being so full of themselves and so impressed with their own possessions, which are here today and gone tomorrow.  It's not their merit that made them wealthy and others less so. Tell them to go after God who is generous to us all - and tell them to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasure that will last, gaining life that is truly life.

          1 Timothy 6:17-19