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Finding Hope In Unexpected Places

Surprises await in the field

I do a lot of driving and a lot of thinking on these trips – most of the villages are spread out and we often dedicate an entire day to each one. Today is a particularly long and contemplative drive.

This trip is the most emotionally challenging I’ve done. The heartbreaking stories appear to outnumber those of success, and so many people are barely hanging on. The landscape passing before me seems to reflect this – for hours we’ve passed through fields of nothing.

While driving we are surrounded by a harsh and stark environment that mirrors the people. Barren landscape, crops harvested early as people rush to take what they can before fleeing the violence that overwhelms the country. Land has literally been slashed and burned. It’s empty out here. It’s impossible to escape the desolation and despair when we’re exposed to it day after day, in the people and the environment.

I’m pondering this when out of nowhere I see a small flower.

It is beautiful, vibrant and blooming in the middle of an otherwise barren field. The sight of this little flower immediately lifts my spirits and gives me hope. We may have to drive another 45 minutes before we see another one, but they are there, waiting to be discovered.

This little gem of hope reminds me that there is beauty everywhere; sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it. I realize that Magang, Zacharia, Jamis, the ladies of Amedichi, Gabriel…these are my gems of hope, and I will search a bit longer until I find more of them.