What do you want most in the world? What dream sustains you through the everyday, and promises so much joy and satisfaction that you quiver just at the notion of this possibility coming to pass?
As a child growing up in post-war Belfast, my dreams were of Africa. The drab, sparse streets of industrial Northern Ireland were so far removed from the endless sky and rolling grasslands of Kenya to be found in books that my soul was captivated from the start. Eventually, my family emigrated to the West Coast of Canada, putting even more space between me and my heart’s desire.
But the dream to see Africa stayed with me. When a chance came in 2006 to make the trip of nine thousand miles to Nairobi, I was warned by well-meaning friends that the reality of the continent could not possibly live up to my decades of anticipation. How wrong they were...
Africa was every bit as magnificent as I knew it would be. I embraced it eagerly...the boundless savannah...the spacious skies...and, of course, the beautiful, glowing children. The shy smiles of youngsters we met in a Masai village is something I call to mind often. It is a memory that never fails to fill me with joy and wonderment.
I have a new dream now...to return to Africa,
this time not to take
but to give back. The chasm between the 'haves' and
'have-nots' looms large in that continent ravaged by AIDS.
mismanagement and corruption. I have taken Africa to my heart,
now I must act on my heart's desire to help. It will not be
this year...it may not be next..but I will return one day to
the Africa of my dreams...