Many residents of our area have recently had to endure difficult living arrangements in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Living without power and heat has caused more than just inconvenience – it has taken an emotional toll. So, keeping that memory fresh, maybe it’s time for a little perspective. Currently, in sub-Saharan Africa, only 41% of people . . . and that’s from the most URBAN areas, have electricity at any time. And only 1% have flushing toilets. But those aren’t the most staggering statistics. The numbers that truly hurt are that 11 million (yes, MILLION!), children die before their fifth birthday, HIV/AIDS has orphaned more than 14 million (again – MILLION!), children, and approximately 20,000 young children have been abducted and forced to serve as soldiers.
In response to the undeniable and overwhelming need of these children, Watoto, a holistic care program, was instituted. Children’s villages provide a place for the huge numbers of orphans to call home, with one house mother to 8 children. They are given homes, schools, churches, and the basic necessities. There is an even more depressing yet equally needed compound called Baby Watoto, which gives a home to found, abandoned, and orphaned infants.
Since 1994, the now globally acclaimed Watoto Children’s Choir has been touring internationally, raising awarenes of their plight and funds for their survival. Every child in the choir has lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and is a real life testimony to the suffering of their home land. Yet, the concert itself is anything but depressing. The tour showcases a new generation of healing and leadership in Africa, with original, vibrant African music and dance, coupled with real life stories of rescues. It is an uplifting, eye-opening experience for its audiences.
The Watoto Children’s Choir is currently touring in our area, with new tour entitled “Beautiful Africa: A New Generation,” and will be at Bates Hall in The First Presbytrian Church of Cranford on Sunday, November 11th, for a 6:00 PM concert. The address is 11 Springfield Ave. http://www.firstprescranford.org There will be a free will offering taken to support the ministry of the choir. After enduring the hardships we have been dealing with for the last two weeks, it might not be such a bad idea to enjoy a little culture and gain a little perspective. Maybe a few days without power isn’t the end of the world. Maybe we can do our part to help make someone else’s world a little bit better. And bring the kids . . . . it’s not a bad idea to give them a little perspective on their peers from around the world, either, and a better appreciation for what they’ve got.
For more information, contact Mary Beckhusen, Director of Christian Education, at (908)276-8440.