Carolyn and I had supper with one of the orphans from Masoyi last week. She is busy studying in university at the moment. I asked her about the youth in the communities. She told me, “More girls are getting pregnant than ever before.” Although I heard it from other people I found myself gobsmacked when I heard it from her. “Why!” I cried to her, hoping she would give me some kind of answer that I could understand. She just starred to the ground seemingly thinking how to answer me. I was impatient and again shot another question at my guest, “Don’t they know about HIV?”
I am sure I’ve asked that question a million times in the last year, and I felt stupid asking it to my friend! She looked at me and said, “George of course they know about HIV, but they have no hope!” She said it softly to me as if she was trying to help me to hear with different ears. She continued, “I remember when I was in school. I had no ambition to finish school, left alone to do well. I knew once I was finished I will just join all the other young people sitting on the corner of the street doing nothing.” There was silence in my house while all of us there saw the picture in our minds we saw in so many villages through the years… young people sitting on the corners the street doing nothing. “What changed your mindset?” I asked. She sat up straight and her voice become strong as she spoke, “Someone took me out of the village and showed me the bigger world. I realised there was hope.” I realised there was hope. Is that all it took?
The next day I sat with Brooke, Samantha and Robyn trying to wrestle through ideas how to reach the poorest, most vulnerable children in Swaziland. Their voices fainted away in my head as I thought of what I saw in Swaziland and the overwhelming need of so many children. Swaziland is much worse off than Masoyi in many ways, and if Masoyi ‘s youth have no hope, where do we start in Swaziland? I was looking for someone to accuse: “It is those in power who abuse the weak and they are too powerful; no one can stop them.” But Gary Haugen corrects that thought by saying “Most injustice isn't driven by the overwhelming power of the perpetrators; it's driven by the weakness of the victims.” Just as Jesus did for us, bringing power on our side by His life, death and resurrection, so we too are called to bring power to the side of the oppressed, of the weak, through our humble obedience and faith. Just how much do I do to bring hope and encouragement to the youth in Africa?