It’s been nearly a month since I have returned from Angola and I have just now processed through everything I witnessed and the lessons I have learned from this experience.
First off, I want to thank Peter & Ann Pretorius for giving me the opportunity to go into the fields with the JAM Media Team to capture the stories of the local people. I know this was a rare opportunity and I am so grateful to have been able to join such a talented and wise group of people.
Secondly, I want to thank the team that I travelled with Darren, Chadrac, Murray, Clint and Peter. Thank you for your patience, wisdom, and concern for me as I witnessed some of these things for the first time.
I tried to emotionally, spiritually, and physically prepare myself for Angola, but there truly is no way to prepare for the things that we saw.
Visiting the malnutrition clinic was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. I remember Peter praying for a child to be healed and the week the team returned, we had heard news that the child passed. I was heartbroken. I have never seen such frail children in my life.
What I learned from witnessing this is that if God leads you to see something like this, you must use your voice to encourage others to feed and educate children so they do not end up in a malnutrition clinic like this one that we visited.
My most joyful moment in Angola was seeing JAM drill and hit water. The reaction of the local people was priceless! They say it is not how long you are in the desert, but what your attitude is in the desert. These people had been waiting for water their entire lives and witnessing their constant joy, even before the water was provided, inspired me.
Filming in the last village we visited, we captured some of the saddest stories I have ever heard. We listened to many stories of mothers losing children to malnutrition. As the night closed, we went to our campsite and I saw a box being carried by the locals. I asked what it was. It was a funeral happening right before our eyes. What got me through that moment was earlier in the day, Peter had said, we must bring these people food before we return to our campsite and we did. It was fulfilling to know that at least in the 24 hours we were there we could make an impact.
There is a selfless spirit. A spirit of humility instilled in African people. When we brought food, a little girl ran to her grandmother with utmost excitement to tell her there was food that could be shared.
From this experience, I hope to live life with the humility and selflessness of the people I encountered. I walked away from this trip heartbroken, yet inspired. For my entire life, I have something to fight for and I am grateful for JAM providing that opportunity for me.