Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Children are a gift from God

My impression from Tanzania and other African countries was how beautiful their children were and how much they valued their children. You would imagine they would see children as a burden or intrusion on their lives. They don’t! They value child bearing and actually being barren is considered shameful. While there we saw a movie being shown in the villages about a man consulting a witchdoctor about why his wife was barren. The witch doctor put the blame on the wife who then suffered beatings at the hands of her husband. An extreme example maybe but the point is made how much children are valued. Some of the people asked me how many children I had and I replied two. OH SORRY……why just two children?? Well that is all God saw fit to give me, I answered. They were confused! I explained I had trouble getting pregnant with the second one and then their attitude was one of sympathy.

To some western minds, this seems backward but I think of the saying that a child is God’s way of saying ……life goes on. Their children give them hope for the future. They are family oriented and often live in small huts with their families around them. The children seem carefree and happy. They all pitch in and do the work. The children are content to play with anything. I can’t imagine them saying they are bored. Sisters carry their baby brother and sisters on their backs in blanket carriers. I saw one small girl jumping rope with baby sister on her back. When you give them a piece of hard candy, they stand and break it off into slivers to share with the other children in their family. One boy was given a piece of candy and he ran and got his baby sister and carried her back to me to give her one!

As a pro life volunteer in the states, the contrast is stark. One African man who had visited the United States said to me. “In Africa, if we are starving to death we give our last piece of bread to our children. In America, you kill your children in the womb…..why?” I could not explain it.

We who have much in the way of material things need to invest in the future of those who do not. At the same time, we could learn a lot from our African brothers and sisters about the sanctity of human life.