As the plane descended onto the runway the immediate impression from the landscape screamed “AFRICA!” The contrast of green treetops and the red dirt was vibrant against the bright blue sky. A mixture of different feelings flooded my mind; I was excited to finally be in Africa, ready to serve God as He had prepared, but I was also anxious about what we would face while in a third world country. Amidst soaking up all the new scenery and unfamiliar scents, I notice my husband with a peaceful countenance. All of this was familiar to him and I could tell he was excited to be back.
My husband and I had just reached our 5th month wedding anniversary, eager to endure a 4-month stay in Zambia as newlyweds. We had recently joined a mission organization, volunteering our time to spread the gospel to rural areas in Africa. It was 2007 and this would be my first venture beyond the borders of America. I was naive to think that I would be contributing more of myself than what I would be learning and experiencing. It was truly life changing.
My husband and I spent hours with men, women, and children who were submersed in a very different culture than what we were raised in. These rural villages were comprised of mud-hut housing with thatched roofs, a community well, along with a community long-drop (a.k.a the bathroom). These people were living amidst poverty, barely surviving. Their clothes were dingy and many had holes torn in them. Most of the children ran among thistles with bare feet. The only toy I found in one village was a small ball, made up of plastic bags wound tightly. I had never been physically exposed to such raw and harsh human conditions. It broke my heart.
As we served in Zambia, there were many stories that we heard, some good and some that were very disturbing. One day when we went into Livingstone to gather some supplies, a small pink pamphlet caught my eye. It was called The Livingstone Advertiser, a couple page booklet filled with advertisements and a few news stories. There was one particular story that shocked me. The article dedicated two sentences about people dumping fetuses down manholes and then another six sentences to how the water pressure would be repaired. It seemed as though there was more concern placed on whether the sewage would be fixed, rather than the issue of people dumping fetuses. It was stories like this and others about women in fear of getting raped, or disowned by family because of pregnancy (a byproduct of sexual abuse), that really stung my heart.
When poverty strikes, there is a whirlwind of other issues that arise, such as deprived education, a lack of labor or low pay, poor sanitation, hunger, and abuse. A chain reaction of adverse affects within a culture is devastating. Without the aid of others, hope can easily be diminished, darkness can plant seeds of injustice, and the rights of human life can be stripped.
But what if you and I can be that aid?
What if you and I can help others achieve their goals, rise above poverty, and restore dignity?
There is a movement happening through Sevenly this week that is campaigning for us to help! Sevenly has teamed up with an organization called Freely In Hope to bring hope specifically to women in Zambia and Kenya! Freely In Hope recognizes that most women are often at the brunt of these issues, many whom are forced into prostitution to provide for their families. Freely In Hope is dedicated to “providing women opportunities for education, entrepreneurship, and counseling, striving to uplift women out of poverty and decrease the vulnerabilities of sexual abuse.”
The team at Sevenly is raising awareness and funds by offering a limited edition tee designed for Freely In Hope, and $7 of every purchase gets donated to the organization! Your support will enable Freely In Hope to “give protection and education to young women, helping them attain jobs and a better living.” Let us be the help that encourages others to flourish. We have an opportunity to be advocates for others in need by wearing a cause driven shirt or even sending this info to as many friends or family members as you can to grow the awareness of this issue. Please act NOW, the campaign ends 10am Monday, January 2nd!
Let us be world changers!
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