Category Archives: Africa

I don’t care what the weatherman says

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Driving through town

windscreen wipers on full pelt

hardly keeping up with the pouring rain.

Loud swing music in my car.

“I don’t care what the weatherman says,

when the weatherman says it’s raining,

you’ll never hear me complaining,

I’m sure the sun will shine.”

The traffic lights multiply a myriad times in the wet road

sparkling like Christmas tree lights.

My concentration is keen

to see clearly

to stop when I must stop

and go when I must go,

but to avoid those without cars

rushing across the road,

clasping soggy newspaper

in a futile attempt to cover their heads,

blinkering themselves inadvertently to the oncoming traffic.

Maybe they care what the weatherman says more than I do.

 

Peace – In this broken world

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This beautiful South African song expresses what I wrote in my last post, and is also so appropriate for Good Friday. Have a read of the translation of the lyrics below.

Cape Town Youth Choir (formerly Pro Cantu) – “Ukuthula”

Translation:

Ukuthula – Peace

In this (broken) world of trouble
The blood of Jesus flowed (so that you could have:)

Ukuthula – Peace
Usindiso – Redemption
Ukubonga – Praise
Ukutholwa – Faith
Ukunqoba – Victory
Induduzo – Comfort

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Purchase this track on their album “Forever Young”:

https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/ukuthula/id603615325?i=603615699

Website: http://www.ctyc.co.za
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CapeTownYouthChoir
Twitter: https://twitter.com/capetownchoir
iTunes: http://bit.ly/ctyc-itunes
Google Play Music: http://bit.ly/ctyc-google-play

South African Traditional
Conductor: Leon Starker
Soloist: Astrid Joseph
Live recording in St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town (21 Aug 2011)

My friend’s photography

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Image Copyright Bev Meldrum

Image Copyright Bev Meldrum

My friend Bev (whose husband runs my church in Cape Town) is an extremely talented photographer. She’s having a sale of her photos to raise money for a trip to the UK for a conference. This is seriously amazing art that you would want on your walls. You can order prints or canvases to be delivered in the UK, South Africa or elsewhere… click here to take a look.. and see the slide show below.

A thousand stories

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St Augustine says, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” But when we do travel, the pages fly. Each moment a new story, each day a new chapter. And without each one, the book is not complete. And so I soak up every word, every face, every name. Each pair of eyes I look into is another line written in my book and another way I will never be the same again.

Burundi was many things. It was Love in a glass of water. It was Peace in a litter of piglets. It was Hope in a marketplace being rebuilt.

Fiona Lynne

storyteller

I want to continue to share with you a few posts by friends who traveled with me in Uganda and Burundi. Mostly because they write so beautifully but also because I haven’t managed to write up as much as I had hoped yet and I don’t want you to have to wait too long before hearing about our experiences.

So here is a post by Fiona Lynne about the many people and stories we encountered in Burundi.

Home

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Home is where the heart is

They say

But what if your heart is in two places?

Where people I love live.

Sounds painful.

But I don’t feel

Like my heart is torn

Split, divided

It usually feels more peaceful than that.

More full

Even more rich

Than if my heart was in only one place.

When I am in one, I love and enjoy the people there

And when I am in the other, I do the same.

And yet

There is often a little tug on my heart

Reminding me of the one far away.

Tugs of variant force and persistence

Sometimes easy to ignore

Sometimes a bit sharper

Making my heart a little sore.

I try to listen to my heart when it feels that way

And reach out to connect across the oceans

It’s a small price to pay

For the privilege.

I’m truely blessed to feel at home in both places.

Cape Town, the city and community I love

And primary home for now.

London, where family and friends

Also make me feel known, loved and at home.

So I’m grateful.

For home is where the heart is

And I just happen

To have two.

Walking the Straight Paths

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“But there in a secluded part of Burundi with an oppressed minority group, walking toward a well that will change their lives in more ways than I can tell, I saw the verses in a new light.”

Here is another post by Leigh Kramer about our trip to Burundi. I hope it gives you a taste of some of our experiences. You can read Leigh’s post here.

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Article in  magazine on June 25, 2013

By Leigh Kramer | Twitter: @hopefulleigh

A Simple Truth

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“In that place of discomfort, where my cheeks were always flush and beads of sweat glistened on my forehead, I felt more alive than I had for a long time.”

I want to share with you a post written by a new friend of mine from Canada, who I met on my trip to Uganda and Burundi. She writes beautifully about her experience of the trip and you can read it here.

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The beauty of sharing your story

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Photo by Idelette

Photo by Idelette

For the Burundi part of my recent trip I had the privilege of spending time with a wonderful group of ladies, all of whom write blogs and write really well. I will blog about my experiences when I can but I also want to share their beautifully written accounts of certain aspects.

As a group we spent a lot of time listening to each other’s stories. It’s an incredible experience having a group of people lovingly, encouragingly, supportively listen to your story. Not just the short summary, little snippets or neat testimonies but the long version. The round the houses, progression over time version. There is something about being really heard that secures you, validates your journey, feeds your heart and swells your soul. It truely is holy ground.

How often do we ask people open questions, invite people to tell their story and have the patience and kindness to listen for the long answer, not rushing on to the next thing but really settling into the moment and into the thread of their life’s journey? The highs and lows, the emotions and learnings, the times when they wondered where God was and the times when they knew clearly what he was teaching them.

I know I don’t do this enough. But after experiencing what it felt like to be truely heard in Burundi I am determined to create that space for others.

The blog post below is from one of my new friends, Leigh Kramer, who shared that experience in Burundi.

“I hope some day you sit in a room full of kindred spirits and rest in the knowledge of their love. I hope you share your story and have it mirrored back to you with grace and understanding. I hope you have a glimpse of the saints spurring you on. I hope you have people who remind you of who you are when you’ve all but forgotten.” – Leigh Kramer

You can read the full version of her blog about ‘The beauty of sharing your story’ here.

Cooking up something good

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“Life-changing doesn’t always mean we’re given a step by step, detailed plan. Sometimes it’s the flash of an insight, a heart pounding idea, a sense of what’s to come.” – Leigh Kramer

Photo by Idelette

Our hands after a henna session in Burundi. Photo by Idelette

I want to share with you below a blog post written by a friend I met at Amahoro Africa in Uganda. I flew home from my trip to Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi on Thursday and my mind is still buzzing with the colours, the people, the conversations. I really resonate with a lot of what she’s saying. I’m also finding it hard to articulate stories of my time away, especially when you can tell that some people who ask ‘how was your trip?’ really only want a nugget and then to move on in conversation. And yet there are precious friends who listen for the longer stories, ask the deeper questions and in reward get the deeper answers, and in those conversations I feel heard and loved and I myself make realisations about what it all meant and what I have learnt and what I still need to process.

Like my friend Leigh, I also knew really strongly I needed to go on this trip and that it would be significant and yet even now I’m not fully sure how it will be significant. She describes a time on the trip when a few ladies sat together and described how they were feeling in a word and explained it. We did it often, almost every day and it really helped me to articulate and even realise for myself how I was feeling. Towards the end my word was ‘intrigued’. I’m really intrigued to see what God does with these connections. I’m intrigued to see what will come out of this trip. When I described it to my mother she said it’s like walking into a room and smelling delicious food cooking. I know God is cooking up something good for me, I can sense it, I can smell it. I don’t know exactly what’s going to be on the table yet but I know it’s going to be good.

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You can read my friend Leigh’s post here

Stories that need to be heard

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I want to share a post written by my friend Nicole Joshua, writing about her experience at Amahoro Africa 2013 in Kampala, which finished yesterday. I echo her thoughts. So many conversations that have opened up my mind to the realities in different African nations, both the tragic and the hopeful. My heart is now more connected to Africa because it connects with individuals living in these realities.

Stories that have not been told but need to be heard

Today I heard stories about a country that I had always thought of as a sleepy nation, a peaceful people that grow really good tea. And then I had a conversation with someone from that country and who painted a very different picture.

I heard stories of high levels of child sexual abuse and not many, or almost no, convictions because of high levels of impunity for perpetrators. I heard stories of a church that supports the government’s attempts to suppress the truth about trauma associated with ethnic violence and conflict, about pain unacknowledged as a result of a civil war because of a desire to forget the past. I heard stories about corruption that appears rampant, with no hope of things changing.

And yet, I heard stories of hope,…. read the full post here