In November 2018 I had the privilege of meeting Sharon. I remember the gentleness and humility she walked with, showing us around her compound. She was deservedly proud of what she had been able to achieve with so little.
This was my first time visiting Baptist World Aid projects in the field and meeting the beautiful people who are part of them. Everything was new to me, so most of the time I caught myself simply observing – which usually isn’t me!
But the thing that stood out to me the most… was the dry earth. It was so sun-baked when we were visiting. The rains were late, and ongoing drought was preventing crops from growing and meant hunger was common for many.
Even the children playing amidst the dust.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up playing in the backyard on a beautifully laid patch of grass. I spent my time in the garden making fairy gardens, on our trampoline, or absorbed by my doll’s house. So, watching children playing in the dry, red dust? That was a moment where I again remembered my privilege.
At the end of our day with Sharon and her family. I began cleaning up my rubbish to make sure I was leaving nothing behind, but I was quickly told, “Please don’t take that away, the children use that”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
And then I noticed something shockingly beautiful.
I saw a few piles of what I thought was rubbish, in a new way. They were little homes. Play homes, like my doll’s house. But they were made from leftover mud bricks, scraps of iron for a roof, and the “rubbish” was used as different things in the little house.
The plastic bottles, snack wrappers, containers, or anything else they could had been re-purposed as toys.
I was astonished at how much joy Sharon’s children found playing with these little things. How much a little colourful plastic bottle meant to them, something most of us consume and then throw away so easily.
In the middle of that dry earth, how beautifully the colour stood out!
Today as you consider what you will give towards our Matching Grant Appeal, I encourage you think about it in a different way. Don’t think about a monetary value, but consider the colour you will bring to the dry and stark places. Not in the form of a colourful plastic bottle, but through real, tangible, sustainable change for many lives.
Lives like Sharon’s and her children’s.
My hope is, that through your generosity, new colour would come in in the form of new and drought-resilient crops.
New life rising from the dry earth. Families like Sharon’s, rising from poverty.