The ace writers at the Plum Tree Group are increasing awareness for the great need in Africa. Many voices in this world fade before they get a chance to make sound. This effort, one of many, reminds us of how bad life can really be, and furthermore, how short it really is for so many.
Traveling to Africa was a dream of mine since the 1980s. Though it never came to pass, to me it’s a place of extreme natural beauty and tragedy. Like other readers, I read and reviewed the prototype novella about the humanitarian disaster of the Congo Free State, “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. While this book is as disturbing and a difficult read, something always bothered me: The part of madman Kurtz’s life while he was in Africa. When he said “The horror, the horror,” what exactly did he mean? What happened to him that made him change? I think Conrad made the point with exclusion over exposition.
The history in Africa’s interior is shrouded in mystery. One needn’t Google very far to find endless articles on colonization going back to the 1500s, (maybe earlier). But what was it like before then? Were there oppression, hunger, and death on a massive scale? Experts in this area can give more light to this question. Africa remains filled with one controversy after another, and while faults are attached over centuries, what can be done now?
To me, that’s the strongest point for Africa. Now. The issues in Africa run deep and are as variable as the countries between the northern and southern part of the continent. Nobody can walk in and make all of the problems go away in a day. But with consistent awareness, we can strive and give more voice to the people.
Friends who have made the journey to Africa tell me it’s a “spiritual experience.” Beyond the tragedy, the wonder is there. Giving from the heart is not only worthwhile but brings us back to the baseline of humanity: Caring.
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