Liz made a trip to Zambia, Africa in 2007 and met a little boy named Kennedy.
Kennedy is the boy in the painting. When Kennedy was three years old he lost both of his parents to AIDS and was later found struggling to survive alone with his older brother and sister.
Liz explains that while she was filming, she noticed Kennedy climb into the arms of the man who was portraying the Savior.
She explains, "As I stood watching them, Kennedy turned towards me and our eyes met. At that moment I knew it wasn't hopeless. I realized that the Savior could fix not only the problems of Africa, but of the whole world... and we can be His hands to do it.
For the first time in my life I felt what Isaiah meant when he said, "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces." To Kennedy and all who struggle to understand why, I promise that God has not forgotten you. "
- Liz Lemon Swindle.
Having similar experiences while meeting many families who have dealt with AIDS in Ghana, this painting really touches me. I can't stop looking at it. It feels a whole lot different when you have actually met these children. You have held their hands, they have played with your hair, blew you kisses and hugged you constantly. It's a different feeling when you have actually smelled the air in Africa, seen the destruction and poverty, seen the struggle and the trials that these people try to overcome from sun up to sun down. Discovering all of this hits you hard. You become one of them because your heart goes many places. I hated to leave Africa.
It killed me. Literally killed me.
I remembered my last day in Ghana I spent with my little crew of boys, Godfred, Issack and Jacob. They couldn't have been more perfect. They amazed me with the closeness and love they had for one another. They grew past being friends and became brothers. Even though they didn't have the best life at home, they knew they had it good because they had each other. They were such an example to me.
Before we all said our last goodbyes we got in a huge huddle and sat silent for a little bit while hugging. Very quietly, Godfred admitted, "I think I am going to cry." Right when he said it, I lost it. And they lost it. And we all just sat there crying and I felt so helpless. I have never felt like that in my life. I hated every moment of it. But at the same time I felt so grateful to have met these kids because is many ways, they have touched my life and changed me. And everything new and improved about me, I owe to them. I will never forget that moment we had on the side of the road in Africa. I will never forget my boys and thankfully I can't because they call me just about everyday thanks to their calling cards.
These people are special. They are worth everything. Even when at times you feel helpless and you feel like you are not doing enough. At least you are doing something.
so don't forget about them. And don't rely on others to doing the work for you.
You don't have to travel far to help. You can do little things right there in your very own home.
Journey began once my friend Jami and I arrived in
The airport was terrifying. Policemen held their AK-47's holding no smiles upon their faces and though English is Ghana's first language, their thick African accents threw me off and that's when I officially became an "Abrunie."
Welcome to Ghana white person. Out of my element and into a world of adventure.
Home Away from Home.
It starts with a taxi ride. I wrote an email to my mom saying she should be more concerned about me getting drilled by another taxi on the rode then by being taken with a machete. Ghana has no traffic laws. Stop signs are non existent. Taxi's drive as they please. Horns are no big deal. I believe you hear about 10 horns within 10 seconds everyday. Do the math. Horns are blown to alert others that our taxi is coming through and there is no stopping us. Or sometimes they blow horns to scare the living daylight out of pedestrians. They have no mercy on the road.
Speed limits are lame and the smell of exhaust was the reason for every headache and occasionally some mild loopiness. The windows didn't work. They are all permanently rolled down and if you're lucky enough to have the windows glued shut, you will be left in a small compacted space of b.o and heat. But no worries, the reggae music and hysterical conversations with the taxi driver will make your ride a dream come true.
top three topics to get the cab driver to go wild over you.
1. Obama, Obama, Obama.
2. Bob Marley. One love.
3. Michael Jackson is dead, yes?
As an Abrunie, I improved in a short amount of time of getting the hang of the African life. First day in a taxi I spent with my hands covering my eyes and holding my breath. Second day... my head was out the window like a dog taking in my favorite smells of Ghana which consisted of:
1. Body Oder.
3. The smell of something burning.
it was like smelling flowers, really.
Before we headed to our lovely abode, we made a pit stop to the Grocery Store.
Welcome to Koala.
Koala wasn't a hit. Didn't win points in my book. First off, I was still getting the hang of working with Ghanaian Money. Keep in mind I failed math not too long ago and had numerous tutors in high school so converting money in Africa really didn't get me far.
Second of all... well it's just not food.
We tested the water with "Magic Cookies."
Magic Cookies became a game. We'd like to see who could last the longest eating a Magic Cookie because sadly the magic in the cookie was that it was made out of soap.
And Bacon Crackers? Oh help us all...
So we stalked up on water because that's how we kept safe.
we had to use bottled water for everything.
taking out and putting in contacts.
you name it. we did it.
like i said, Koala.... you didn't steal my heart.
On to the HOSTEL!
The Pink Hostel became my home sweet home.
Right away we fell in love with the staff of The Pink Hostel.
The owner of the Pink Hostel was Miss Jamaima.
WE NEVER SAW HER. She hid in her lair.
And to be quite honest, she was an intimidating one.
But we sure did love the receptionists.
1. Miss Ama was the only female and stood her ground.
She was quite, but sarcastic and begged for a facebook so a photoshoot was held in order to get the perfect profile picture.
2. This is Luke boy.
Luke loved to keep us posted on his family life. He is a good man with loads of love for his wife and child. Might I had that he is a FAITHFUL husband. None of that girlfriend on the side, or more than one wife deal. Way to go Lukie.
3. Our darling Sylvester.
Sylvester had the night shifts meaning, he'd sleep on the job. We leave handing him over our room keys and come home for the night having to wake him up. Once up, he'd like to listen to all of our wild adventures and he'd just laugh. Crazy Abrunies.
I loved Sylvester. He was like a child. He shook his head and laughed at the littlest things.
then there was our dear old chefs. Moses and Blandford.
They spent their time cooking and then tuning into their favorite channel on t.v.
mo and bland loved to cook us carbs.
bread. potatoes. plain noodles. rice. rice. fried rice. and rice.
unfortunately, Blandford was struggling the last week we were there. His mother-in-law passed away and he didn't have the money to burry her. You could tell that he was having a really hard week.It was upsetting to witness so we made a plan.
Wouldn't you agree that every story deserves a happy ending?
Well, as a group we all came together pitched in some money and soon enough Blandford was able to attend a beautiful funeral knowing that his mother-in-law would be buried safe and sound.
The next day he was wired and became quite the sunbeam.
Ghanaians are the most grateful people.
They really understand how to show thanks and appreciation.
Even when they have nothing.
As you can see... these people made the hostel become a home a way from home. I have never felt so secure.
Favorite noises while staying at the hostel:
1. africa Magic Soap Operas.
2. african Preacher speaking tongues in the backyard.
3. abnoxious crew on the 3rd floor from California.
4. dogs barking at night.
5. taxi horns honking in the morning.
6. gun shots around 3 a.m.
that's all for now. tune in later for more of the adventure.