Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Lunch-time Africa Summit

The other day we had a pretty deep conversation during lunch.

I had been watching the news and a popular musician was talking about debt forgiveness and AIDS treatment in Africa. Dude asked what that was all about and soon I found myself talking about broken infrastructure, warring tribes, child soldiers, disease and corrupt government. The kids listened intently and asked some very good questions. We discussed long term solutions for the problems in Africa as well as practical things that the average person can do to help.

The kids began painting a mental image of what they would like to see for children in Africa. Dude and Crafty were coming up with ideas like clean drinking water, good clothes, school with proper supplies and loving homes for the kids who have no (or very sick) parents. Mischief sat, listening but not contributing much. I thought that perhaps the topic was a little beyond his six-year-old  scope when the conversation took a turn,

Crafty - Mom, do you think that if all the richer countries co-operate that one day kids in Africa will be able to go to school and be healthy and not be alone?

Me - I think that it is very possible.

Dude - And the kids will have soccer balls and skateboards and things like that rather than having to be soldiers?

Me - I certainly hope so.

Mischief - (in a very serious and compassionate tone) I hope that one day those Africa kids will have soft toilet paper, not like the scratchy stuff they have at my school.

Conversation derailed - the rest of the lunch hour was spent discussing scratchy toilet paper and stinky hand soap.

Oh well...maybe this kind of stuff happens at the UN, too.

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