Saturday, September 27, 2008

my dreams are not for sale

Yesterday I sold my soul to Corporate America, but tomorrow I'm going to get it back.

In an act of desperation, I decided I was going to join the Work At Home Corporation (renamed because I don't want to get in more touble than I will already!) because I bought into the idea that making money was top priority over all. Yes, I need to make money to support myself and my family. But I have worked for a nonprofit before, and I can do it again. Just because I applied for 20 jobs and basically got rejected for all of them didn't mean that I had to give up. I just graduated from the SIT Graduate Institute with a Master's in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations!

But there I was, driving past Walmart in some sort of symbolic departure from my senses. I drove to the woman's house and I signed over a big chunk of change with the promise of earning lots of money. Wait...paying money to earn money? As I said, I departed from my senses. So the plan for "Work at Home Corporation" has worked for some people. Some have made millions. I thought...this will be great for paying off my student loans! I'm saved!

And then today I spent most of the day crying. Heartfelt tears. What was happening to my water project dreams? I had convinced myself when I signed up that I would earn money and then donate some of it to an NGO in Cameroon or start my own foundation. How very noble of me. So then why was I crying?

My dreams are not for sale. Who I am is not for sale. Who am I? I am someone who is not willing to work 40 hours a week just to pad my pocket with cash, but I am someone who IS willing to work 60 hours a week in the dirt until clean water is available. I am someone who knows that my very humanity is wrapped up in the wellness of others regardless of political borders or skin color or religion or whatever differences that God blessed us with. I am not perfect. Sometimes I am selfish. Sometimes I'm not. But I am someone who wants to leave behind a legacy of love, respect, and sustainable change for good.

I'm quitting that job tomorrow and I'm going to apply for one billion more nonprofit jobs if I have to.
And I will not be sold.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

looking for a water justice job

Please...if you know of an organization with job openings that address the world water crisis...let me know! I want a water justice job.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The end of water injustice

Before I launch into my passionate call for water justice in the world, let me first say (since I haven't blogged for such a long time) that I am proud to be the mother of a beautiful son as of March! And my amazing husband has been ever supportive as I have also obtained my Master's degree in August. I could blog for hours about how much I love my family, but instead let me tell you why our global family needs your support and love.

Two members of my extended family died because their water was contaminated. Unfortunately, this story is not uncommon. According to Oxfam, 4500 children die every 24 hours (every day!) because of a simple lack of clean water and a lack of sanitation education. A fact from Waterfacts.org states that when you break it down, that means a child dies every 15 seconds due to unclean water. And how many people around the world are affected? Currently, according to the UN, 1.1 billion. But that number is expected to grow as demand for water increases worldwide.

I know, you might be thinking that there are just too many problems in the world and too many issues to help solve. But did you know that the Executive Director of the United Nations Development Program said that proper water management (which translates to clean water) is crucial to meeting the Millennium Development Goals? Think about how many things water really affects. Your food. Your hygiene. Your hobbies. Your entire life revolves around water. Poverty and gender discrimination are linked to unclean water. This is a big issue, and it's not just another on the list! If we work on the world water crisis, a HUGE list of other problems will begin to be solved. Two birds with one stone, my friends.

The act of bringing clean water to someone's thirsty lips seems so simple. In some ways, it is. In other ways, the issue is made complex by corruption and other barriers. But we can break through the barriers. Let me tell you how, and then I'd like to hear your ideas.

1. Reduce your water use. I know, this might not seem like a fun suggestion. But did you know the average American INDIVIDUAL uses 145 gallons of water a day in comparison to the average African FAMILY who uses five gallons? http://www.waterfacts.org/

2. Donate to The Water Project. My page raises money specifically for the Life & Water Development Group-Cameroon's (LWDGC) water projects in Cameroon. The LWDGC brings Bio sand filtration systems into communities to reduce bacteria and other disease-ridden particles in the water by 90-95%. www.change.org/4500children

3. Work for water justice. Get a job in water justice. Some NGOs with available jobs include Corporate Accountability International and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

4. Join the Water Integrity Network. Begin fighting corruption in the water sector at http://www.win.org/

5. Buy the Global Corruption Report 2008. This joint effort by Transparency International and the Water Integrity Network encapsulates the issue of corruption in the water sector. Use the report to equip yourself with some invaluable knowledge! (And no, I wasn't paid to write that.)

If you'll join me in the above suggestions, together we can see the end of water injustice.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

when a life passes on

This morning while getting ready for work, my mother called me and let me know that my grandfather in Indiana had passed away. Everything just stops in that moment, as if a door with no doorknob has been closed in your face. He's just gone.

His name was Walter and he was a chaplain in World War II. He met my grandmother (who died when I was four) during the war because she was a nurse for soldiers. He devoted his life to God and loved his family deeply. I remember him as a peaceful man. He was the one who baptized me as a baby. The last time I saw my grandpa, I was traveling through Indiana on my way to Vermont for grad school. I think that somehow he knew that would be the last time I would see him, even though I had no idea.

He would have been 85 in May. May is also when my husband's birthday is and the month that my father-in-law passed away. Next month, I will bring a new life into this world. Life continues its cycle, but when someone leaves this earth it's still not easy. At least I know that he's at peace, living with God whom he devoted his life to.

Friday, November 30, 2007

finding a place to breathe

Yes, it's been far too long since I've updated this thing! I thought today would be a good day to do it.

I have been EXTREMELY happily married since August 25, 2007! Life has changed, but only for the better. I am happier and I know I made the right decision.

However, despite living in marital bliss, I have found myself living in a quagmire of stress. I feel like it just snuck up on my while I was sleeping. Or maybe I was in denial that I was stressed. Anyway, I find myself feeling anxious most days which is completely contrary to my laid-back personality. I find myself worried about the fact that I am having my first child in late February and I have so many financial issues. I find myself wondering how my husband and I will be able to afford everything. Finally, I am worried about graduating from grad school on time as my internship doing refugee resettlement dwindles down to its final months. I should be finishing my internship right around the same time as our little son is due.

I realize that all of these issues can be resolved with a little bit of elbow grease. Or maybe I just need a magic wand. In any case, I am feeling overwhelmed. The same thing happened to me around this time last year; I was the victim of too many changes at once! Last year I moved from North Dakota to Vermont, started grad school, and got accepted to Peace Corps Morocco. Only a year later, I am married, expecting a baby, living in New Hampshire, working as an intern instead of a Peace Corps volunteer, and I am trying to work on my capstone so that I can try to graduate two or three months after giving birth!

So perhaps I just really need this short Christmas vacation coming up in December. A time to reconnect with my roots in North Dakota and reflect on how far I've come. A time to bring my present and my past together to prepare for my future. Perhaps the best thing I've done recently was get a pedicure, despite the fact that the machine at the nail salon broke and water began pouring onto the floor. And maybe the better thing will be to go to Cameroon finally with our son and breathe in the African air that has been calling me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

UPDATE

As much as it broke my heart to do it, I have officially withdrawn my application to Peace Corps Morocco. I was looking forward to this journey so much, but I have found myself in quite the whirlwind of change! I became engaged and now I found out I am pregnant! All of this has changed my plans. I am happy now about my decision, but I will think fondly of what I could have experienced. I will remember the volunteers heading to Northern Africa in September.

But I have so much to look forward to! This is only the beginning.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Two months to go!

It's been a while, so I thought I'd update you on my summer. Here's to hoping yours is amazing!

I realized today that I only have a little more than two months left before I leave for Morocco. How crazy is that? I asked my former Arabic instructor to teach me some Darija in the mornings, and I'm also busy reading Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir. Sometime soon I'm planning on going to the library to get some French research done as well as a little on el Maghreb.

So many people have been telling me that I have an amazing adventure awaiting me! While I'm enjoying my time away from school and my lack of things to do besides prepare, I really can't wait to wake up one morning and think, "Wow, I'm really here."