A large chunk of my heart is buried under a tree that looks like this.

A Jacaranda tree.

They turn my hometown of Pretoria, South Africa lush purple every October.

I miss that piece.

It’s been two years since I buried it under a tree and boarded a plane for the States. Two years since we were last home.

I have strong roots here in America, that’s true.

But the ones that pull me back to Africa have a lifetime’s head start. They have burrowed deep into the hard, cracked soil of the country that the rest of my family still calls home. And when the wind blows me about I feel the tug of those roots and the ache of that stubborn bit of my heart.

It wants me to come home, “Now!” (to paraphrase my two-year-old).

I expect that this week the ache will be worse than usual.

Because this week Compassion International is providing a walking, talking window into Africa. A team of bloggers is in Kenya this week to share a firsthand look at the work that Compassion does there.

Compassion Bloggers: Kenya 2010

I dare you not to tune in. Because, once you do, you won’t be able to change the channel.

Follow the team on twitter; they’re using the hashtag #cbkenya (Compassion Bloggers Kenya) and there twitter group is here.

Let your own heart ache and break a little bit.

Read their stories here.

Leave encouragement in their comments. They are gonna need it. Because their hearts are about to undergo some major knocks.

Tell them I sent you. Tell them I told you a tiny bit about Africa and you wanted the first-hand version.

Tell them I said, “When you think of Africa you think of:

hot, sweat-running-down-between-your-shoulder-blades-sun, red dirt, dust roads, and open pick ups with folks crammed in back. You think veld fires and the smell of cooking in the open. You think of sunsets that burn up the sky like no where else and faces that could light up the night they are so full of hope and good humor when they have every reason not to be.

You think of purple Jacaranda trees and mealie meal and chickens.

You think of mangos and watermelon and giraffes carved out of wood.

You think of the very middle of the heart of God when you think of Africa.”

Tell them you want to know if that’s true.

And, like you, I can’t wait to hear their answer.