A couple of years ago I was encouraged to read Binyavanga Wainaina’s article entitled How to Write About Africa. I would sometimes recall it when people asked me what I was doing this summer, and I would try to reply that I was going to Kenya. Once here, our Education Beyond Borders team engaged in a reading of the same article to lead one of our discussions. We also read one other: JoAnn Van Engen’s The Cost of Short-Term Missions.
Wainaina is an excellent writer and the piece referneced here is engaging, witty, revealing, and most of all, poignant. Engen’s piece may make refernce to missionary work directly, but her thesis applies broadly to any individual or group – regardless of beliefs – that are engaged in volunteering or service away from home.
They appear in this post as (possible) required reading as they strike straight at the subject of balance. They make exceedingly clear that our attempts to balance the world around us, may in fact be attempts to balance our own personal world. Taking a step back, and considering the big picture will hopefully allow us to find a true balance between the personal and the greater world. There is much more that could be said on either or both, but for now at least, I encourage you to read at least one. Neither is very long, and I very much look forward to any comments you would have. They can be shared below, in email, or best of all, in person.