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In My Mind I Can Still See Africa

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In my mind, I can still see Africa. I see the shades of the turquoise blue ocean contrasting against the white sandy beaches sparkling in the sun like grains of sugar. I can smell the ocean salt mixed with the fragrance of the papaya and coconut. But as I close my eyes and reflect, my mind sees the true beauty of Africa…a universal beauty of the world…as it was reflected from the faces of the women; the mothers, the daughters, the wives and sisters. Women whose greatest love, concern, hope, joy and happiness would be found in the family they shared their hut with. These women would walk for miles to see their family had water to drink. These women would encourage their children to walk barefoot to school, knowing that with this encouragement and with an education her children might be able to break the bonds of poverty. These women would go without food for themselves, to ensure their children and husbands could eat. One day, we brought left-over pizza back to the factory and shared it with the women. They were so thankful to simply share the cold pizza. I never heard them complain…these women of Africa. I never heard that their house wasn’t big enough; for her hut was big enough to hold her family and when necessary to take in other extended family members. She walked miles to where it was she must go. She didn’t complain. Instead, her face reflected a sense of peace. What she wanted most in life wasn’t a lot…yet truly it is everything. She wanted a home. She wanted food. She wanted hope for her children.

In my mind, I can still see Africa. With the memories engraved in my mind I know how truly blessed I am. Once, things taken for granted are now cherished. I hope someday I can let them know that because of them, I am changed. Because of them, I am better.

African Woman

Sweat has beaded on her brow
the water seems so far away.
With her urn balanced on her head
she’ll walk another day.

For she has four children that need cared for
and it’s her responsibility.
For she’s a woman of Africa.
It’s but through the grace of God you see.
That she was born with little.
And I was born with more.
That tomorrow to her is desolate.
Yet I have dreams in store.

I live in a land of plenty.
She lives in a land of less.
What I consider the worse to own,
to her would be the best.

That I for whatever reason,
have been blessed beyond belief.
I need not know her hardships.
I need not know her grief.

To know its something I must do
To ease the yolk she bares
So she can know that across the seas
There lives a soul that cares.

Rainee Baldwin

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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