when you need to start with the necessities.
I'm still here, enjoying being here but at the same time struggling to know how to talk about life here. The truth is, it is just so different, that its a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how to describe it.
Instead, I'm going to focus on one story at a time.
Today, after arriving at Hope House, Steve (an Envision team member) and I, along with a few of the kids and my translators, walked to the local grocery store to purchase some cleaning supplies. Here in Libreville, at least, there is a grocery store that will carry lots of food supplies, but most of the fresh fruit, meat, and bread comes from the vendors set up on the side of the road. Steve wanted to purchase gato balls (like donuts) as a treat for the kids, but they told him that they would rather have bread (french bread is a food staple here, and very often people will eat it with butter for breakfast).
It was a good reminder for me, that while I love the idea of giving these kids something special, the necessities must come first. A child who hasn't eaten breakfast, lunch, or dinner has very little use for candy. I'm proud of them for saying so (though in a more tactful way).
I'm also reminded that too often, when we give, we want to dictate exactly how that money will be spent. Sometimes there is wisdom in this, to make sure that when we give money it is going toward the things that we want it to. I believe strongly in financial accountability. But I also believe that sometimes we can be a bit arrogant, giving and assuming that we know exactly how the money should be spent, without giving those who are in the ministry day in and day out the authority to spend it where it will be most needed.
What do you think? When we give, how much should we dictate how the money is spent?