Otherwise

I want to share a favorite poem of mine, as a way to begin my reflection. It is entitled Otherwise, by Jane Kenyon.. "I got out of bed on two strong legs. It might have been otherwise. I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe flawless peach. It might have been otherwise. I took the dog uphill to the birch wood. All morning I did the work I love. At noon I lay down with my mate. It might have been otherwise. We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks. It might have been otherwise. I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day. But one day, I know it will be otherwise." As I have stated, this has been my nineteenth mission delegation to South Africa. With the passing of each year's experience, I am increasingly mindful of Jane Kenyon's poem and how easily we can take life for granted. Much of the world comes from a place of immense wealth and abundance. So many of our African friends, and countless others around the world community struggle for the basic necessities on a daily basis. As can be seen in the photos, there is such a wide range of experiences and subsequent emotions during our time in both urban, as well as rural South Africa. The joy and resilience of the people, the countless living situations that are so obviously below any acceptable standard for human habitation. The incredible beauty of both the land and the majestic animals that depict the uniqueness of life in Africa. There is so much to try and absorb and so many questions remain.  I would have to say that this has remained true for all nineteen years. South Africa has the unique ability to " make you a little bit homesick for the rest of your life." We have one more day to spend with our family in Malungeni and then we begin a three day preparation for returning to our lives back home. I have learned the importance of having time as a delegation to pull together for some rest and relaxation, time to reflect on our many experiences. We will be spending our final three days at Chapungu, also located in South Africa. We will take time to debrief  with one another, and thus provide invaluable information to the Board of Directors for AIAIA as it plans for the future. In the upcoming final days of our time in SA, I would well imagine you will be seeing a dramatic decrease in photos of beautiful people and a most definite increase in photos of all God's creatures, as in elephants,  lions and giraffes. You name it, you will see it as our group will have the option of being on a safari and discovering even more of God's total creation. I invite you to remain connected to our journey, either thru our AIAIA website, or FB. I am most grateful for the large number of responses and comments over the last two weeks. Thank you for your continued support of AIAIA. James Cassidy