Renate, I have been sitting with your words for some time this afternoon and can relate to your concerns – because they have challenged me many times during my own lifetime.
This is where I feel I am right now –
Sometimes we have a material gift we can offer, like the water and the biscuit. Sometimes we can give our time and our energy, like cooking a meal or providing a lift.
But sometimes we are faced with very painful situations, which we can’t influence or alter and our hearts just break open with and for the suffering of others.
It may sound too simplistic, but in these circumstances I feel that – a smile is never wasted and to quietly hold one’s place, listen deeply and bear witness to the life of another, by just being present, even when there is nothing that can be done or said to ameliorate the situation, shows a respect and an honouring of that precious life and this can never be meaningless.
Love and best wishes for your work in Africa.