We Have It In Us To Do Both
Processing my thoughts since my trip to Africa has not unfolded as I expected. Simply sharing the stories of courage and strength of the women I met or the lives saved by the incredible work of US funded programs in collaboration with so many on less than 1% of the budget, does not seem to answer the questions I continue to receive. I am finding that my take away from the trip is being shaped by my responses to “why Africa?”, “why now?”, and “why not help here in our own country?”
Whether in a small town, large city, developed world, or undeveloped world, poverty is present in its own form. We all know it is there and many are taking action to alleviate it. Because I advocate on this large platform for Africa it is assumed that I do nothing for those here in my own country. This interests me, because volunteering at the local level with our under-served youth, at our food bank, and in our schools is as important to me as my volunteer work with ONE. In addition, I have not yet met a ONE member or a ONE Mom who was not also invested in work at the local level. I like to say, “act locally, advocate globally”. Knowing that 2/3 of the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25/day live in Sub-Sahara Africa leaves me no doubt that I am using my voice where it is needed.
With the fragility that is being felt here in America and around the world, there is no better time than right now to take action. For so many reasons, the work ONE is doing is important. Opening our eyes to the crisis in the horn of Africa and learning the issues educates us and moves us to sign petitions. Seeing firsthand the research being done in the areas of preventable disease and how it is saving lives today encourages letters to be written in support of GAVI, and knowing that investments in long-term agriculture solutions like Feed the Future will give Africa the tools needed to feed itself leaves me dancing for joy! The possibilities and connections we have are endless.
Tensions can be felt here at home and around the globe. We need to look for some common ground. ONE brings together all parties, all faiths, all socio-economic levels, and all ages for a greater cause. Each group may participate for a different reason and that is perfectly acceptable. For me this collaboration in itself is uplifting, inspiring, and healing. So when asked these questions I simply respond because the world needs our voice of compassion here as well as Africa and I believe we have it in us to do both!!