Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Souls {South Africa}

Kids are my favorite. All they require is a smile of recognition and you have a free pass to take their photo. In fact, in Africa, I was usually chased about by a mob of kids who wanted their picture taken. They're so open and vulnerable that its easy to see their soul through their eyes and smiles. It made my job that much easier.

In the few days I was there, I was able to connect with some of the kids from the FROG center in Cape Town. Talking with some of the local volunteers I was able to get some information about their backgrounds. The sad truth is that even though these children do not personify the stereotype we have concocted of what an African child should look like or live like, they come from abusive homes and drug-infested communities where teen pregnancy and drug-related violence runs rampant.

In all honesty, at times I questioned the purpose of my trip there. It did not seem like an important matter to do a Vacation Bible School for a week for some kids. After speaking to the local volunteers, they were able to clarify the ultimate purpose of the trip.

We were there for their "Spring Break". One week were these kids would have to fend for themselves. With barely any adult supervision and productive activities, any kid is bound to get into trouble. That vulnerability that makes them such great subjects for photography also makes them easy victims to drugs, teen pregnancy and violence.

We were able to offer these kids an alternative to getting into trouble. With a couple of hours of the day we provided a safe place for them to play, learn and eat. We were able to show them that despite their circumstances, there are people that love them and care about them and their well-being, both physical and spiritual.

I wish my time there would have been longer, but I am so thankful that God provided the opportunity for me to do this. My hope is that despite the short amount of time I shared with these kids, that a seed was planted. I don't know if I will see any of them again, or if they'll even remember "that short girl with the camera" but I pray that God used me for His glory. I pray that I was able to influence something worthwhile in the lives of the children I met.

That, I believe, is really the ultimate purpose.


  1. awesome pictures.....good job

  2. Amazing pics...I love like it was a great trip! Great job Merari!

  3. The pics turned out really good. What's up with the missing teeth? Love, Adriana