Step Into Africa 2: My Journey

21 09 2010

If you’re afraid to take that first step, let me help you…

From the first moment you enter the exhibit you’re greeted by a friendly person that hands you your tools for the journey.  A headset with 6 chapters worth of a child’s life.  The Step into Africa program by World Vision is a groundbreaking and award-winning educational exhibit.  Its an interactive journey that asks you to actually “live” the life of a child impacted by HIV/AIDS.  This child may or may not have the “big disease”, you will find out on your journey.

Dean Baylor is a member of World Vision.  The last few years have seen him travel around the country educating young adults and adults about the impact that this disease is having on our world.  Dean explains just how the American branch of World Vision picks its destinations.

Just as it doesn’t need a specific “place” to educate, it doesn’t need a specific person to “visit” the exhibit.  Its Free.  Its Open.  And its educating you.

Dean explains just how big the World Vision umbrella is and how it works.

And that reality is that HIV/AIDS is not going away.  Its going to effect us and impair our future growth.

I’d like to take just a bit more of your time and share my journey through this exhibit.  I hope this inspires you to give it a try.

The first thing you notice is the wonderful volunteers and World Vision folks their before you enter the village.

It takes the World Vision team 7-8 hours to set-up and 2-3 hours to disassemble.  There are no nails in the assembly, its an interlocking fold-up system.  All that is “added” are the photos and small items that are throughout the journey.  The team has assembled numerous educational items like maps.

But your journey begins in a small room with “drum” seats.  You have a moment to compose yourself and enter into one of the four kid’s lives you’ve been given.  I took the tours for Kombo, a young boy from Kenya.

The other journey I took was about Mathabo a young girl from Lesotho.

Mathabo’s story hit me hard because of where she was from.  Both my parents are from South Africa and my mother’s family is from a king-ship inside of South Africa called Swaziland.  Lesotho is another kingship just south-west of Swaziland.  I’ve never visited Lesotho or Swaziland, but my trips to South Africa have given me at least a compass to this world I was entering into.

In HIV/AIDS stricken lands a “child-headed household” is a common sight.  The “big disease” has taken many a parent and in more and more cases both parents, forcing the children to fend for themselves.

Both children in these tours have to deal with the loss of one or more parents.  As you venture on their journey you realize the numerous dangers that they must fight through.  Water is the overwhelming issue, without it they die.  And sadly with it (most of the water supply in Africa is unsafe unless cooked) they still may die.

I don’t won’t to spoil all the experience of STEP INTO AFRICA.  Its so much more fulfilling to hear the tale while walking it.  The ending though is quite beautiful and you have a chance to leave notes, prayers, and letters to whomever at the end.

This immediately reminded me of my trips to The Western Wall in Jerusalem.   The practice of placing notes in the crevices of the wall made this part of the STEP INTO AFRICA even more moving to me.

It leaves you with a voice, after seeing a journey you can’t fix or control.  I had a wonderful experience with STEP INTO AFRICA.  Take the leap and make a simple step.

If you’d like to reserve a time from the remaining dates click here.

Times remaining at Garland’s Springcreek church.

September 21st  : 10am-8pm
September 22nd, 23rd, and 24th : 11am-9pm
September 25th : 9am-3pm  and 6pm-9pm.
September 26th : 12:30pm-8pm

Springcreek Church.

The Main World Vision website.

Have a great day and go check out this unique and innovative exhibit.

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