What do you know of Africa? And what do you love of Africa?

Have you dreamt to visit this vast land of deserts, beaches, mountains and savannahs, steeped in rich traditions and culture, safaris and wild animals, amazingly diverse people.

Though most of us talk of 'Africa' in general terms, it is one land consisting of 54 individual countries. So far in my lifetime I've visited five of those countries, four in Sub-Saharan Africa and one in North Africa.

Each country has been amazingly diverse: the landscape, the people, the food, the languages, the handcrafts. Yet, there is without a doubt a common thread that passes through these different counties - an intoxicating charm blended with an earthy reality of life.

I feel like I just can't get enough of being in Africa. But whether your feet ever land in this place, you can still celebrate the richness of this land and its people by investing in it.

When the opportunity arises, I urge you to buy goods made or grown in Africa: coffee, chocolate (cocoa),  cotton, and an incredible range of handmade items. Read books and watch movies about Africa. The reports regarding Africa so often on the news are so negative: wars, famines, AIDS, poverty. But those living with these problems are beautiful people who work hard to live well.

The problems of the world can seem so huge that it's hard to even know where to start with making a difference for someone else. But taking action as part of our everyday life can directly make a difference for people on the other side of the world. Perhaps you have a sponsor child - we do, his name is Ezekiel and he lives in Tanzania. Or, you can support the work of an Aid & Development agency. Or, your church supports a community development program. Or, you buy beautiful fairly traded handcrafts. Or, my personal favourite of ensuring your coffee has been ethically & justly sourced.

Whatever you do, I urge you to invest in Africa: to learn about it, to live in a way that remembers our African brothers & sisters, and to love it and invest in it.