Our 17 year old daughter, Rachel, is making her final preparations for her trip – Kilimanjaro 2012: climbing poverty mountain. In this series of blogs we wanted to share why we pushed aside our natural parental tendencies of protection to let her climb Africa’s highest mountain. More in this mini-series here.
5. Because we want her to see ‘the world.’
We don’t mean the global landmarks that feature on any world tour: the Taj Mahal, Sydney Opera House and the rest. We mean the world as most people see and experience it.
In the ordinariness of our lives we tend to meet people who are just like us. Without specific effort this becomes all too easily the norm. We get grouped together with people who share our language, our outlook, our culture and our worldview.
Most of the world though is NOT like us.
50% of the world – three billion people – live on less than $2.50 per day. 80% live on less that $10 per day. This is the world for most people; and seeing it changes us. Our values and our priorities are challenged and renewed.
As part of the trip, Rachel will spend 48 hours in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Rachel writes
Kibera is the largest slum in Africa, situated in Nairobi. It is unimaginable. With no public services, over 1 million people do not have any basic sanitation. Living in tiny houses made of mud just 12ft square. The conditions are unbearable: open raw sewage is everywhere and children have only the rubbish in which to a play. Too many to count become sick and die. A third of those that survive are orphans and many are abandoned. Living on the streets they become drug addicts or are forced into prostitution.
In our materially obsessed, image driven society we all need to ‘see’ this.
It is a fantastic privilege to travel to such places and the opportunities to do so are few and far between. Nevertheless we need to take every opportunity to see, look and explore life beyond our circle. To be mindful that probably just a street away (or even next door) there are people living in a very different world. We need to see that. God sees and hears. Do we?
‘The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery … I have heard them crying out … I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them …'(Exodus 3:7).