Our kids are growing up in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
What does it mean to grow up in Kinshasa?
Most people will picture scenes like these, from cameras documenting the developing world:
And these are accurate. This is what Elias, Charlotte, LouLou, and Ani see everyday. Life does look like this in Kinshasa.
But, it also looks like this:
|photo by Sarah Sensamaust|
We live on 40 acres of tropical rainforest. A few steps from both of our houses is a lush botanical garden. Full of native ferns, spiraling ginger, flowers, and trees. We are surrounded by people who help us raise our children, and teach us different ways of eating, speaking, and living every day.
And while we spend loads of time enjoying the really gorgeous things and people that exists in Kinshasa, the "stark" reality of Kinshasa is also normal to our children. They wave at military guys with huge guns strapped to their backs. They don't hesitate to play with kids who would perfectly illustrate a news story on childhood poverty in Africa. They don't care if their water comes from the tap or from a filtration bucket.
While there is incredible, breathtaking beauty in our place, there is also incredible, breathtaking dirt, hunger, and sadness. We love this place because we all must see both everyday. And both become essential to our daily life. What a life. What a place.
(all photos by Jill Humphrey unless otherwise linked or noted.)