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Reason to Live Friday #25- Feed the World

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Reason to Live Friday- so for today, I’m dedicating it to making the world better, one woman at a time.

 

Some of you may flinch at the memory of the 80s hit song- ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’.  Personally, I love it. I do. It was created by Bob Geldof. Not Gandalf. Gandalf is the wizard in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books who has a long gray beard and carries a staff. Bob Geldof is a song writer and humanitarian. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse the two.

Okay, back to the song. There’s a few reasons I love listening to it. The bells and chords in it are pretty cool. Then there’s the game you play to identify which 80s British singer you are listening to when they sing their part. I’ll be in my car going, “oh, that’s Boy George.” Or “is that Simon LeBon?” George Michael and Bono are so easy to identify.

But the words about ‘there’s no snow in Africa’ and ‘thank God it’s them, instead of you’, rips my heart out. The last thing Africa needs is snow. But maybe some rain would be nice. And honestly, aren’t you all glad it’s them and not you?

There’s poor everywhere in the world. But Africa is poor and war torn. The Sally Struthers commercials with the kids covered in flies and their distended bellies always is etched in my mind. She would say, ‘for just the cost of a cup of coffee, you can clothe and feed a child.’ Amazing how far a dollar goes.

Sorry to bum you out. That’s not my point. My point is just to plant a seed of thought in your head.

Have you heard of Women for Women International? It’s this amazing company that teaches women in war torn 3rd world countries how to run their own business to support their families. Every 6 months I receive a new ‘sister’s’ profile and all about her situation. I’ve had women in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Rwanda.

My current sister, Yvonne, is in Rwanda, she is in her 20s and is married but has no children. Rwanda? Can you believe it! Can you imagine living there? No.

I’ve received Easter cards, Christmas cards and photos from my sponsored sisters. Some come with photos. I usually burst into tears because they write that I’m such a blessing and I’ve done this amazing thing for them and their family and they pray for me and my family…. Oh my gosh!!

Yeah. Of course the Christmas card comes at Easter, and the Easter card comes at Christmas because I think they still operate by Pony Express in 3rd world countries. Okay, sorry, bad joke.

Well, I know there’s poor everywhere. There’s poor here in my own neighborhood and hungry children at my kids’ schools. And yes, I do what I can to help them too. But the idea of a woman, who has to fight to survive whether it’s war, rape, famine, drought; who doesn’t know how to read or write; who is treated like property instead of a person; I need to be a part of that change.

I got a message from them to hope I could spread the word this holiday time with the hopes that some of you could do some gift giving through  their program. You know buy some chicks or a goat for a family that needs it. Forget iPads and Prada handbags, these women want a goat for Christmas.

If you’d like, we can all pitch in. Message me if you want to contribute a few dollars and we’ll get some goats and chicks for these remarkable women!

If you are interested in sponsoring a sister, it’s a monthly commitment of $25 here’s the link – Women for Women Int’l Sponsorship

The good news is that this organization rates very highly on Charity Navigator. See here.

So in answer to the 80s song, I think they do know it’s Christmas time. Hopefully some of them do anyway.

I’m not as super as I think. Or, I have it good part 2.

The other day I was doing my errands that included dropping off the dry cleaning, going to the post office, dropping off the library books, delivering art projects for PTA, picking up cat food, shopping for Father’s day gifts, the usual groceries. Coming home to put stuff away. Run the dryer, empty the dishwasher. Plan dinner. Scoop the cat box. Check emails, make a cup of tea. Sit.

Sometimes I get actual laundry folded and some volunteer work done. Maybe some vacuuming, toilets scrubbed. Hmm, floors? Not usually.

I felt pretty accomplished. Pretty great. And then I thought, really? This isn’t so great. This is easy. I don’t have to carry my baby on my back and get water at the river.

I don’t have to wait in line for vaccinations. Hide in a hut from guerilla soldiers. Wait for the electricity to turn on in the city to get  some hot water to make dinner.

Why do I feel I need the accolades? There’s women out there, fighting each and every day for their very survival and that of their children.  Sure, I do a good job for my kids. I do my best. And aren’t I lucky to be born in a country of peace and prosperity?

I sponsor a woman through Women for Women International. This is my third ‘sister’ that I have donated a steady $30 each month that takes a woman in a war torn country, educates her, gives her work experience and helps her support her own family. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I am helping a woman, who would otherwise be helpless. My ‘sister’ this year is Violette in Rwanda. She is 25 and has a family. She wrote me a letter thanking me. I cried when I read it. She wished me and my family well and thanked me for all that I’ve done for her. I haven’t done anything except a direct deposit from my bank account to the program!  Last year my sister in Nigeria, Alice, wrote me a letter telling me about what she’s learned and the different crops she is planting for her family to make money. How her life is so much better now. I was so humbled by their words of thanks to me.

Each year they graduate the program and a different sister gets sponsored. In September I find out who my new sister is.  That will be my 4th. And I always look forward to see who it will be and what her story is.

It’s all about perspective isn’t it? Everyone has their struggles. Whether it’s the job you need to get up for in the morning to leave your family each day to provide for. Or the disabled child you need to help out of their wheel chair to get to the bathroom, or help feed. Or maybe you are struggling while unemployed and hoping there will be a nibble soon in the job offers. Or perhaps you’re going through a divorce.

I’ve said before that I have it good. I don’t think anyone has it easy no matter their privileges.

I’m not saying because you aren’t in a war ravaged country that you have it easy. I know we all have our hard days. We all have our struggles.

I just will try to remember that while I’m toolin’ around in my minivan, drinking my espresso and eating my chia seeds; wearing my cute Cole Hahn shoes I bought at Nordstrom Rack, that I have it pretty darn good.