Isn’t it funny how you know exactly what you want, where you want to go, how your life should look. Except it never turns out that way. It never looks just like that. And you’re happy anyway. Elated, even.
Isn’t it funny how the world almost always beholds something even better? You round that corner expecting to find something really great, but when you get there it’s breathtakingly incredible instead.
I’ve started this post a million times — okay, maybe not a full million, but close — and I’m still not quite sure how to put the awe that fills my chest into words.
In six short weeks I’ll be boarding a plane with eleven other women. Women whose voices, visions, and spirits take my breath away. After sixteen hours in the air we’ll land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a week-long trip that I’m sure will leave me even more speechless than I am right now.
A year ago I thought I knew what my work in agriculture would look like this year. I thought I knew how I could make a difference. I had no idea and for that I’m grateful, because this not knowing? This awe-struck anticipation? It’s the best feeling in the world.
I want to tell you that I know nothing about Ethiopia, that I am not uniquely qualified for any of this, but that I’ll try my best. I’ll try to learn some of at least one of the eighty two languages spoken in the country. I’ll try to understand what the people we meet go through each day. I’ll try to tell their story. I’ll try to make a good impression on behalf of all of you, all of us. I’ll try, because it’s all I know how to do.
I only hope to be able to do both the people we meet along the way and the organization that is kind enough to host me justice.
Because the truth is, a couple of weeks ago, I held roughly the same amount of knowledge about both — and it wasn’t much. I didn’t know that ONE was an advocacy group, that asks only for your voice, not your money to make a difference. I didn’t know that 2/3 of the people in sub-Saharan Africa are employed in Agriculture. I didn’t know that the simple act of ensuring female farmers have the same access to enrichment programs and opportunities as their male counterparts could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by more than 100 million.
And that? If I can be a part of even a small portion of that? There are no words for the joy I feel at the thought.
I’ll be posting here about what will, undoubtedly, be a life-changing journey — one that has already begun and will not end when I’m back on U.S. soil again — but I’d love it if you’d follow the whole group and join us in affecting change, too.
You can learn more about Agriculture in Africa, and the other issues that ONE focuses on at ONE.org. Read the ONE Moms blog, follow ONE Moms on Facebook and Pinterest, follow the ONE Campaign on Twitter, and keep track of the #ONEMoms hashtag.
I’ll be traveling to Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign to report on how American-supported programs are improving and saving lives. ONE is a non-partisan organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by pressing political leaders to support smart programs that do just that. They’re also launching a new initiative to focus specifically on Agriculture, which is where I’m most excited to join in. ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. It’s something I can get behind and I hope you can, too.
Take this big leap with me?