There’s just something awe-inspiring about a kid in a costume. You watch their entire demeanor change as they slip into that blazer, snap on the pilot goggles, or put the stethoscope around their neck. They own the transformation. If you’re a careful observer, you can see it. They have become the teacher, the president, the judge, the pilot, the doctor, the veterinarian, or the scientist. It’s different than an adult putting on a costume where it’s all fantasy and make-believe of what-ifs. With kids there’s a tangible sense of possibility, a dream to be chased after, a real force to be considered. What-if is in the present tense.
As we saw on our trip to Rwanda, almost exactly a year ago, this important imagination and hope is cross-cultural. Reese and Hailey believed their characters just as much as any of the sponsored kids in that village did. Actually, Kid President probably took on his role more than any of them. Sadly, the hard truth of the matter is that Reese and Hailey have considerably better chances of seeing their dreams to fruition. The odds are stacked against their friends in Kageyo, whose poverty bind them to a reality of hunger, illness, and lack of resources. These are not insurmountable obstacles, especially with the help of Africa New Life’s child sponsorship program offering school scholarships, meals, and healthcare. But still, Reese and Hailey have a marked advantage.
Our hope is that this advantage would not end in blind privilege. By seeing these friends who love dress up as much as they do, who laugh and hold hands and play soccer just like they do, we are moved to give to do whatever we can to bridge the gap so they may have as many of the advantages as they do. Reese and Hailey sponsor kids in this village, in this picture.
Becky has taken living out this love many steps further. Hers are literal steps. Not just raising thousands of dollars to donate (along with personally paying her own way), but climbing the tallest mountain in Africa with a team committed to raising funding for a hospital and awareness that these kids have needs and those needs matter. They climb to bridge the gap, fighting for the summit: opening the doors of the Dream Medical Center. This hospital will be run by Rwandans serving the Rwandan poor, providing jobs and healthcare for those most in need.
Becky and the team are set to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro early Friday morning. Just yesterday morning they reached their figurative summit of raising $250,000 for the Dream Medical Center! How about we push them beyond their beyond with one more mountain-crushing gift? Every little bit makes a huge impact. Visit http://www.africanewlife.org/kilimanjaro/ for all the info you need to make a donation. (***Click ‘give to Becky’s climb. ALL donations go directly to the clinic. No funds go to the climbers or their expenses for the climb.)
See those kids? They’ve got big plans in life. They don’t care that the odds are stacked against them. Let’s play our small part in helping to keep them healthy enough to do what it takes to make those dreams a reality.
Author: Aleah Marsden is a writer, speaker, and storyteller who is passionate about seeing women walk into all the plans God has for them. Her writing can be found in publications like The Banner and Books & Culture, as well as a handful of devotionals in the new NIV Bible for Women: Fresh Insights for Thriving in Today’s World(Zondervan, 2015). She blogs about life, faith, and her travels with Living Bread Ministries at AleahMarsden.com. She also serves as a board member and social media manager for Redbud Writers Guild.