Beautiful Africa


                                                  Photo by Christine Giles 2004
In 2004, I was privileged to travel to Africa with a local para-church ministry. We did good work there, helping out at an orphanage, conducting medical clinics.  I saw things I never thought I’d see.  There is much beauty alongside so much destruction.  I had some truly National Geographic moments.

                                                  Photo by Christine Giles 2004
When I returned, people assumed that I’d been changed forever by the trip.  But I wouldn’t describe my experience that way.  I was quiet . . . bothered . . . I was pretty much what I’d always been.  I wanted to know why things were the way they were.  Why were they so backward, so primitive?  Most of the world had moved into a bright future full of promise; Africa had been left behind in the

                                                  Photo by Christine Giles 2004
There are plenty of places in the world I could go to find such darkness.  In the United States, I could take a trip to the Appalachian mountains and find people living in abject poverty.  Or I could simply drive across town  . . . the reality is that poverty, darkness, and injustice are all around us.

Since I was a child, one question has been on my lips – “Why?”  When it comes to social justice, answers like “It’s always been that way” make my blood boil.  When people’s lives are at stake, we cannot settle for how it’s always been.  History has shown human beings to be creative, innovative, problem-solvers.  Unfortunately, history has also revealed humanity’s dark side – hatred, murder, greed . . . what will it take for qualities like compassion, cooperation, and hope to triumph?

Some look at this world and despair, because of the overwhelming problems we face.  Some choose not to see; they stay in their comfortable homes, live their comfortable lives, believing that the ugliness “out there” doesn’t touch them.  I choose to believe that we are all connected, that each one of us really can “change the world”.

photo from

This blog will explore social justice issues and ways we can all make a difference, both big and small.  Why?  Because people matter . . . because we can do better . . . because I believe in Justice For All.


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