Its been three weeks since I returned from my forth trip to Sierra Leone. It may seem counter-intuitive but going on the trips is the easy part. Let me explain: yes there’s the 24+ hours of travel just to get there, yes its really hot, yes you give up the many comforts of home, yes your are faced with heart wrenching poverty, yes you work all day, and sometimes stay up until 3am organizing the work for the next day. But the resolve of the people, the hope that is growing in your heart and theirs is invigorating. Knowing that you are able to be a part of change, and see the results in front of you is very exciting!
The real work is when you are home. Its the long to-do list, its the many phone calls (sometimes from Africa at 5am), its the meetings with potential donors, its the stuffing envelopes late at night, etc. etc. None of whats happening there happens without the hard day in and day out non glamorous work.
This week I have faced challenges associated with the work we are doing, and it can be emotionally draining. Someone recently said to me, that many people would give up when faced with some of the challenges you face with our work.
This morning I woke up and decided I would wear my Africa clothes. What are my Africa clothes? I have what I call my “uniform” for when I travel to Sierra Leone. Its safari type pants, and a LOL tee. My Africa pants sit in my closet all year waiting for the next trip. Today I thought, if I wear my Africa clothes, I will be reminded and invigorated here to press on and work hard for LOL which is my heart’s passion. When I pulled the pants out of my closet they had that old familiar Africa smell (yes they are clean). It is a smell of Mokanji, a war-torn place that holds so much potential, a place where some of my truest friends live, a place that holds so much of my heart.
Looking at these pants I’m wearing, I remember these are the pants I wore as I sat next to a baby dying from water-related disease. The same pants that later saw clean water for the first time coming out of a LOL well. The same pants that held an orphaned child who now calls Hope’s Rising their home. And the same pants that traveled the dusty roads seeing village after village still needing clean water.
My heart is full when I think of the changes that have come to Mokanji, Sierra Leone already because so many people have given to those on the other side of the world so that they could have a chance, so they could dare to hope that tomorrow can be better than today.
Its amazing how doing something so simple as putting on my Africa clothes refreshes the fire of the passion to do that thing I believe I am called to do, and to press on with an even greater resolve.
Sometimes in the tasks to accomplish our passions, we can lose the heart of why we do what we do. Sometimes we can just get discouraged. Maybe if we found ways to remind ourselves why we started in the first place we can be renewed to see it through to completion. Last year on a trip, the nationals gave me the name “Tiowa”-tie-Oh-wah (not sure on the spelling), it means to see it to completion. Today, I wear my Africa pants to encourage my heart to live up to that name.
What is your passion? What is that thing that you must do? I challenge all of us today to find ways to wear it on our sleeve.
let them LOL