What Does Hope Look Like?

A single file of children from the smallest to the tallest wearing freshly pressed uniforms walking day after day towards their spartan classrooms. Their heads and hearts filled with dreams of bright futures, their feet planted in the present taking on responsibility too young, learning about strength and resilience through daily life. The hope of the teachers that the students are learning and growing. Hoping the families can cover school fees and that they see the value of time spent in the classroom over that in the fields or selling on the street.

Boys making their daily walk to school
An elementary school classroom ready for students.
A student in South Africa excited for her first week at university. Looking towards a brighter future

Working on the farm. Scratching out a living raising produce with the best going to paying customers and seconds to sustain you and your family. Praying for favorable weather and a more ample crop in the coming season.

A bounty of bananas on the way to the market
Piles of peppers ready for the customers’ picking

Row after row of mud bricks made by hand one at a time. Planning so they are dry and are used before rainy season. Walls built block by block, layer by layer, defining spaces for living and having a place to call home.

Brick by brick, line by line.

The walls are going up with the help of many hands

Hope can be heard in the laughter of the children as they giggle and play with sisters and brothers, either by blood or circumstance. Teenage girls braiding hair as they listen to popular music playing from a phone, young boys playing with balls or sticks and tires are globally universal pass times.

The love of rolling wheels is universal

Music carries hope through the air. From the acapella arrangements of a church to the boom box blaring modern tunes as the soundtrack for the foot and vehicle traffic moving to the beat at the market. Traditional music linking the past to the present with songs not written down but passed from generation to generation. People not remembering when or where they learned it but knowing the words and feeling the beat in their souls.

Bright colors and patterns are the fashion. Few black or brown outfits in sight. Clothes exhibiting energy and movement. The lappa skirts the women wear sway as they walk, in contract to the burdens they carry on their heads.

Getting water is a daily chore and a chance to catch up on the news of the day.

Girls grade 1 to 5 using their heads to carry their wares

Laundry hanging on the line. Thankfully it is already washed. Hoping for the right balance of sun and breeze to dry them for their next wear.

Hope can be seen in each sunrise for what the day may bring and each sunset for another day survived.

Hope is believing the best is yet to be.

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