Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Faith and International Development Conference

This past Thursday one of my sisters came up from Taylor to join me at Calvin for the Faith and International Development Conference. The conference itself provided little new information but did give me hope and furthered my desire to go to Africa. It was more my sister’s presence that I put value in. I was able to play the ‘older sister role’ that I rarely get to with her. I was more than willing and honored to be that safe place for her to vent, laugh, and be her self. She is going threw a tough time at the moment; emotionally strained and drained I’d say. When she left I was suddenly struck by an overwhelming feeling of pain. I wanted to make it all better for her. Its that feeling that parents have when their child is not struggling, unhappy and or in pain themselves. That overwhelming feeling of wanting to fix it all, that magic wand my mother keeps talking about. As I walked away from the vans that were taking my sister back to her heartache I thought to myself, if this is only a fraction of what parents feel for their children, why would I ever want to have children. To feel the pain of someone else you love so much you want nothing but their happiness. No thanks.

I never use names, but I will mention one in reference to the conference this weekend- Ryan Reed. He is a Calvin grad who moved to Nairobi where he worked as a photojournalist. His work predominantly focused on Darfur. He as pictures that tell a story of sorrow, fear and pain. To say they are powerful images, is an understatement. As I listened to Ryan talk of what he has seen, heard, photographed and experienced, I could feel the tears rising up. Once again only reinforcing my desire to get back to East Africa.


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