"Welcome to Africa, baby!"

October 28, 2013

by Frank King, Communications Manager

Writer and photographer Frank King shares the impact of Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse projects in Senegal, West Africa.

By Frank King, Communications Manager

"Welcome to Africa, baby!"

That’s what someone in my group said when we’d stepped out of our banana boats after a choppy, rainy trip along the Atlantic Ocean - without lifejackets - to visit an amazing shoreline fish market in the West African nation of Senegal.

“Welcome to Africa, baby,” went through my head a few times during the week I spent in this impoverished country where tens of thousands of Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes are distributed every year.

In the end, I never said that phrase with cynicism. Rather, it was almost an exclamation mark on a week full of discovery and adventure.

With my camera and notepad in hand, I witnessed three shoebox distributions – two of them in desperately poor slums of Dakar, Senegal’s capital city. Distributions can be chaos-filled events, as local Samaritan’s Purse volunteers (usually church pastors and leaders) entertain hundreds of eager children and then make sure the right boxes get to the correct age groups and gender. But these went pretty well.

Then I saw how generous donors like you are funding an agricultural project that’s teaching Senegalese men how to farm with the environment in mind. It’s having a big effect in the area.

 I also checked out a ministry in Dakar that, thanks to support from Canadians, is providing a haven, as well as vocational and spiritual training for the thousands of children who are homeless and living on the streets there.

After seeing, photographing, and interviewing these projects and the people benefitting from them, I’m delighted to report that our partners are making a difference in a nation that needs God and an influx of fresh thinking. Thank you for your support!