change & bowls of oatmeal

It is morning.

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My fingers perch on top of the counter as the sluggish hum of the microwave swirls through the kitchen. The low, faint sounds of humans beginning their day start to flow as night ebbs away. Soon, and not a moment faster, my coffee will be ready.

The clock on the microwave counts down from 1:30, 1:29, 1:28… the perfect amount of time needed to cook the most divine bowl of oatmeal.

I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast for the last six years of my life. It is so habitual to eat oatmeal that when I don’t, I feel out of whack.

Indeed, it’s an art:

1 banana, a dollop of peanut butter, and a sliver of granola (for crunch) and you are on your way to breakfast heaven.

Today, as I groggily mixed my ingredients together, I had a flashback of when over a year ago, I began staying at Chelsea’s apartment and would prepare the same morning breakfast in her mod-sleek kitchen.

Things were different then: I would spend the night, bringing a packed bag (or three) and in the morning, we would wake up, share breakfast (as we read The Skimm aloud), and head into work. I was so giddy with love that I would beam with delight on my commute, almost like someone plastered a smile on my face.

That wasn’t the oatmeal (or the coffee) – I was falling in love.

Now, I still have the same oatmeal for breakfast, but I eat it in our home – usually before early morning calls to Rwanda. In our shared kitchen, I know where everything is, like a sweet song memorized, so I can do it with my eyes half-closed (and sometimes they literally are).

Chelsea and I, at the beginning of our relationship, were so routine about eating breakfast together. It was “our thing.” As I chewed my food this morning, it dawned on me: so much about us and about the rhythm of our life has changed.

These days, Chelsea starts work before the crack of dawn at Starbucks and so the start times to our days are stacked and unsynchronized. And, when she is able to sleep in, I am usually up, on a call, riding the train, or headed to class. I’m working and studying and so when it comes to mornings, there is not a minute to lose. When I look back, of course, I miss those early days.

But, you know what?

Though the newness of our love is fading ever so slightly, the trust, deep knowing, reliability, authenticity, and commitment are coming to bloom. The relationship, I think, is maturing.

For so long, I hated to spend hours (god forbid, days) away from my beloved. And still, I miss her, but now I know what I did not know before: she knows me, she sees me, she loves me – and she isn’t going anywhere. It sounds simple, but the fruit of building a strong foundation is literally just that – a strong foundation. That means that whether or not we are sharing breakfast, I know I get to come home to this spectacularly delightful human each and every day.

This is the woman who:

has taken me to the doctor when I’ve been sick, has run me hot baths on tough days, has stocked my favorite bottle of red wine, has edited my writing pieces, has encouraged me to follow my dreams, has purchased roller blades to accompany me on my adventures, has taken me to the airport at twilight hours, has driven in the snow when I was too frightful, has modeled incredible self-care, has shared her reading list, has sewed my clothing, has dared to be boldly vulnerable and brave, and more than anything, has shown up and loved.

She has filled the spaces of my life and it’s like glue in all the cracks, bringing it all together in a beautiful mosaic. Irrevocably, our lives are intermingled and that is the change I see the most.

We are not like we used to be.

Certainly, that is a common realization upon the process of personal self-reflection, however, it is particularly poignant in the context of a relationship. The relationship has changed, because we – both of us – have.

Our love has been strengthened, too, often by very difficult, challenging circumstances. I never knew that about love – that love doesn’t only grow and beautify because of good things. It grows because even in the murkiest of waters, you know (and choose) the person you want to walk through it with.

Where did the time go?

I think about the swiftness of the year, the months, and the days, as I eat my oatmeal, alone, on the couch before the business of the day arrives. I cannot pinpoint the moment we began to change because we are always in motion, always in progress, always, always learning.

That is enough to know, because I love where we are – whether we share oatmeal, or not.

 

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Moving In 101

Earlier this year, in June, after over half a year together, Chelsea and I decided to move in together.

This was a relatively easy choice; it made sense for us financially, it made sense for where we were in our relationship, and also, as mature, young adults, it would allow us to keep growing in our relationship and sharing our lives together.

When you are not living with your partner, there is a limitation for what you can share.

How long do they brush their teeth?

How much do they snore?

How many times does their alarm clock go off in the morning?

How do they fold their laundry?

How do they plan for the week?

Do they sing in the shower?

Do they clean up after themselves?

Do they have a routine for paying the bills?

Do they cook dinner or eat out?

There is so much that co-habitation can teach you. And, when the time is right, it is a stretching, meaningful, and frankly, incredibly important experience.

Knowing that Chelsea was the person I wanted to fully, 100% commit to, I knew that moving in was the next step in the long journey of a relationship. It certainly was not something we decided overnight. We discussed what that would mean over the course of weeks and months – even while I was away in Rwanda earlier in the year. When I came back, and we got more serious, we began to openly discuss what a shared, co-habituating life would mean for us. One day, after church, we sipped coffee at a trendy coffeehouse in Uptown for several hours as we talked about the different ins and outs of living together. We even wrote up notes on this conversation.

We talked about our expectations, our hopes, and our dreams. We talked about chores, about work-life balance, and about taking Sabbath. We discussed how we would pay for groceries and also, who would cook, when. We brainstormed how we could differentiate for what this season would be in our lives, versus when we get engaged, get married, and the like. From the beginning of our relationship, it has been important for us to take every season in stride, for what it is, and for why it has meaning. For example, when we were dating, we tried visiting new places, often and frequently, so we could learn more about one another. Once we got promise rings for each other, the conversations intensified, and we began to share our dreams for the future and what those could look like if they were fused together.

On our move-in day, I was jubilant. It was happening!

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In seven (long) hours we consolidated our stuff from each of our homes into the new one that we were starting together. We ate Qdoba on our first night in our new place, and I was so happy that “home” was inclusive of a place we shared together. In the months that followed, we learned a lot about each other. For example, Chelsea is a diligent rice cooker (who knew?). That’s her domain, without any question. However, if we need to experiment or change something up in a recipe, I’m your girl. Quickly, we learned our strengths (and weaknesses) and played to them.

Moving in together is a big deal. Moving in together is a huge step and should be taken when the relationship has two, committed people, in it for the long haul. Living together should be an intentional step too, ensuring that both people are on the same page for what responsibilities they have and how it will affect the relationship.

Of course, when we made the decision to move forward in it, old memories of “wait until you get married” and “whatever you do, dont live in sin” came flooding back. These old, traditional mantras always do. There is so much fear-loaded rhetoric for young people to move in with their significant others.

Like the plethora of pumpkin flavors at Trader Joe’s in the fall, unspoken and spoken moral codes are often the most pervasive when it comes to thinking about the “right way” to live your life. And, I get it. Moving in with your partner should be an informed, thoughtful decision. Yet, I think we can do more to educate youth on what that means and the kinds of conversations we can have around those choices.

If we are so busy telling people not to live together, we miss the opportunity to have the conversation about what happens when it happens. Because, that’s the thing. It will happen.

What I have so loved about living with Chelsea has been that we have been able to build a strong foundation for our lives. We, literally, are getting practice for sharing the load of adulthood, and still making space for ourselves, each other, our faiths, and the many other things that we love. Like sports, living together has taught me about teamwork and partnership. It has also taught me how to be present in the best (and worst) times of another person (and vice versa). Living with another human brings down the walls of facades; no longer will you be the public persona of yourself.

In the end, you will just be, you.

You have to be ready to show the “real” you if you’re willing to move in with someone. You have to be ready to be vulnerable, honest, and humble.
You have to be ready to be an active participant in someone else’s life – not just your own.

These are real measures of maturity in a relationship. I am beyond grateful to be experiencing – and learning from them. We have not had a perfect ride, by any means, but we have been open. It has made all the difference.

Relationship education is a growing need our world desires. I wonder what it would be like to emphasize the opportunity for conversation around growing up, adulthood, and partnership. These are the real conversations. I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t had them and for future generations, I hope we can start having them too.

There is no list to follow, there is no how-to-guide. Instead, moving in with another person is about knowing yourself, knowing your partner, and knowing where you are headed. This takes a lot of self-awareness, faith, and gusto – not just for the first few months, but for the long haul. Sharing your life is a big deal. Let’s not forget that.

I have never been happier in a home than I have with Chelsea. Perhaps, ironically, it is because moving in was not only about creating a real, physical, and tangible home together but also, starting (and growing) a home between us. This takes work. Every. Single. Day. However, it is a gift and I hold that close and dear to my heart.

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just like people, places change.

Just like people, places change.

Flying into Kigali, Rwanda last week by way of Denver, Detroit, and Amsterdam (read: crazy amounts of jet lag), I was unable to ignore the expansive landscape of bright, yellow lights over the rolling hills that I have seen many times before.

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The Convention Center is open and the Marriott is now operating. Plentiful (perhaps unnecessary) roundabouts have been added to the city roads as more and more cars seem to fill them. There is a new dance club, a handful of new restaurants, and newly launched start-up companies. Whether in the IT sector, drones consulting, or in business incubation, Kigali has transformed into a flashy choice for investment. I saw this happening years ago and yet it still it surprises me. This city isn’t the way I left it.

My work has changed immensely too.

With The Women’s Bakery, I was most recently in Rwanda at the end of 2015 when we were at the tail-end of our first cohort, before the launch of our first Kigali-based bakery. We had a group of women, start-up capital, and big dreams. We were fine-tuning our business model, trying to refine how we could best educate and empower women for economic opportunity throughout Rwanda (and East Africa).

This week, I had the incredible honor and experience of baking, observing, and tasting our nutritious (and delicious) bread from these same women, in our 6 days-a- week bakery. Beet, banana, carrot, and honey bread galore, the intricate process of making this bread proves, once again, that the application of education is potent leverage for opportunity. Our bakery, lined with green metal, sits amidst a bustling part of the city as proof that commitment, belief, and grit can make dreams a reality.

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My eyes filled with unexpected tears when I was shown how to properly knead and shape some of our new products, like our tresse bread, for example. Patient with me, our ladies demonstrated the varying preparation techniques for ideal fermentation and shaping. I loved being taught. I loved baking with women who were now our teachers. The moment was small, but it left a deep impact.

Our work as a service-provider in Rwanda continually changes too. We’re training more women’s groups this year AND for the businesses we’ve co-launched, we are seeking and exploring avenues for profitability.

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To see tangible change like this is evocative and meaningful because you are reminded (humbly) that the things we work, sweat, yearn, and long for can actually happen.

Though incremental at times, change does deliver.

In the year since I’ve last been on this side of the world, my work, the landscape, culture, and atmosphere of Rwanda aren’t the only pieces of life that have changed here.

The girls I have supported in school since 2012 are all nearly graduated and exploring post-graduate options. The teachers, like the students have moved on too. My Peace Corps site in the Eastern Province has since seen 3 additional volunteers and educators. The sports materials our soccer team acquired through a grant were stolen. The care-taker of the cows at my old school passed away. My host father has a booming milk business. My Kinyarwanda teacher got married and a baby. The woman who helped take care of my house (and me) has made enough of an income to buy goats, pigs, and a cow. One of my students now posts regularly on Instagram.

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Rwanda has provided me a unique lens by which I can measure the change around me – and within me. I’m realizing, each time I come back, that I come back a different person. Like the changing architecture, views, and life circumstances of my friends in Rwanda, I too have pivoted, made mistakes, adopted new ideas, achieved new successes, and continue to grow into just being me.

Sometimes, these changes are visible. It’s easy to see when I’ve grown my hair long or have opted for a different style of clothing. It’s also relatively straight-forward to speak about updates on my family – their work, homes, and families.

Yet, I can’t help but wonder, how to express the internal change that has molded, shaped, and impacted our development as people.

How do I contextualize the joy of a new relationship?

How do I give words to the changes I’ve experienced in how I view gender, faith, politics, and policy?

These are just some of the questions.

Change happens over time – with small (and big) experiences – and we are challenged each day to enter conversations, relationships, and life with what has already happened to us.

Perhaps the struggle is not choosing how we express our change, but instead, we can choose to faithfully move forward into it. We don’t have to be afraid of change. It’s going to happen. The weighty, more implicative question remains what we will do.

I sat in our Kigali bakery this week, chatting with a Rwandan male that explicitly (and genuinely) expressed concern over what the implications would be with the plethora of executive orders released throughout the week in the United States. Like many, he was apprehensive about the onslaught of change happening so quickly.

Today, on a much-needed slow Saturday morning, I took the time to catch-up and read all that was taking place in public policy from the White House. I was appalled, shocked, and in disbelief.

I considered the changes I have noticed so intensely within our bakeries, within Rwanda, and within myself and wondered, how much change can America take?

I don’t know. I’m tired of not knowing, but honestly, nobody does.

What I do know, for certain, is that change does not have the final say. We do.

Like these hills that remind me all that I have been through for the past 5 years, we will overcome.

And whether it’s about your country, your work, or yourself, we have the communal responsibility to join each other. We can’t give up – not now. Not ever.

Because places, like people change, I think they can serve as mirrors for the way in which we see our own progression through life. Perhaps places can serve as powerful mechanisms in this way, addressing change without agenda, without reservation.

I’m grateful for Rwanda because of this. I’m grateful I have a place that helps me benchmark my life, propelling me forward with new dreams, goals, and hopes, mindful of how far I have come.

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adulting.

Reflecting on the last year, and in preparation for 2017, I’ve noticed the development of a strange phenomenon that has taken hold in my life: adulting.

Adulting: a lovely millennial-driven term that alludes to the process of transformation from the formative years of youth to being somehow “grown.”

Just a year ago, while visiting a museum in Montgomery, Alabama in early January, a curious, spirited, middle-aged woman pulled me aside gently to ask about my age.

“I don’t mean to be nosy, but my dear, are you grown?”

I hesitated for a moment. Grown? What the heck was she talking about?

“Ma’am, I just turned 27…”

“No! Oh my. I thought you weren’t anywhere over the age of 20! It’s those clothes, your spirit, you seem young!”

I’m sure this can (and should) be taken as a compliment. But, coming from a refined Southern woman, I’m not so sure that it was. Alas, this was a year ago, and because 2016 was you know, 2016, I grew up a lot. I came into my own and so yeah, if I saw that woman again I would proclaim boldly and without reservation: I am grown, honey!

To be sure, I’ve engaged in adult-like tendencies for a few years now: I pay my bills on time, I plan and cook meals, I know the ins-and-outs of my health insurance policy, I budget when possible, and I understand weird concepts like 401k, HOA, quarterly taxes, and swaddling.

Yet, the actual experience of maturity and “growing up” are felt more starkly in paradigm shifts and “long-view” perspectives than it does through the day-t0-day responsibilities of being a grown woman. This growing sense of becoming an adult is less about the things I do and more attune to the ideas, knowledge, and experience I gain.

We commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day this week and so I set aside 20 minutes at the start of my morning to reflect on one of my favorite quotes from the famed Civil Rights Leader:

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For years, I have read quotations like these and appreciated the timeless sentiment they hold for each generation. After all, I’ve owned Martin Luther King Jr. books on his best speeches, messages of reconciliation, and case for justice since I was a young teenager. These idioms and words of wisdom have shaped the woman I am – the woman I want to be – and so it’s not as if the power of them has left me untainted.

Yet, I don’t think until recently that I could tangibly understand them.

The arc of history meant little to me back when I was a 21-year old. I was too young to notice patterns, to observe implications, or note the impact of things that were happening to me. Simply because of the lack of perspective, I couldn’t have known the influence my brother would have on my life, or the direction I would take because of a trip to the continent of Africa, or really, who I would become as I entered a journey of faith: full of bible studies, spiritual questions, small groups, church visits, and real-life, existential experiences.

In my early twenties, I couldn’t yet see the evolution of my past. I couldn’t appreciate the movement of time and what happens over the course of days, and months, and years. I didn’t yet know how we can and often change – sometimes, in unexpected ways.

Now, near the end of my twenties, it’s as though my past has come into a sharper view with stronger lenses; I see how my travels and relationships across the United States and the world affected my political, religious, and personal attitudes; I know how my educational background shifted my perception of others; and perhaps most importantly, I have experienced how commitment to justice, fairness, and love plants seeds of change with time.

The world does not become better overnight. But with the passing of days, people and circumstances do change.

I have.

Later this week, I saw another quote worthy of note, from Civil Rights Leader Angela Davis, that said,

I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

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I immediately loved the sentiment, namely because it began to capture the feelings and change that I have experienced within my adult life – a subtle shift from only observing, to believing, and eventually, doing.

It’s more than understanding inspiring quotes too – it’s also knowing how to comfort my friends in times of grief; it’s discerning the right moment to share truth; and it involves valuing yourself enough to take care of yourself as you would any other person.

Being an adult is hard work.

As an adult-in-progress, I hold both perspective and a future together.

There are days when I would rather play in the mountains, roller-blade around the park, and eat three (or four) scoops of ice cream. Sometimes, I do those things, and it’s awesome.

But on a lot of days, I recognize that I have a responsibility to both the life I have lived and the life I will continue to live. There is no such thing as a compartmentalized person, and so I know that I can be all parts of me fully, all at once. Knowing the kind of perspective that comes with age, I am anxious about the people, places, and circumstances of my life now and how it will affect my life in five, ten, or fifteen years.

So, when does this adult-sort-of-thing happen? 25? 27? 30? 35?

Perhaps, and what I tend to believe, is that you don’t wake up one morning and voila! You are an adult. Instead, it happens with time. With people. With life experience.

At some point, you begin to hold all your life together, in one basket, and appreciate it. Honor it. Protect it. I like this part of being an adult. I’m willing to take on that kind of maturity, because it means that I don’t have to isolate one part of me.

As an adult, I know who I am.

And, I can be her. I like her.

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How do you explain a mass shooting to a survivor of a genocide 22 years prior? 

Moreover, how does the description of hate translate through linguistic nuances; the conception of struggle expressed through words; the acknowledgement of pain vocalized with storytelling? Like an assembly line issuing product after product, I can’t help but wonder if the hate I meet in the world and the hate you meet in the world might actually be different manifestations of the same damn thing. 

As the fuzzy line of long-distance calling creeps in and out, I realize that you don’t even know where Florida is – much less the magical city of Orlando – and yet, I explain, with as much gentleness as I can, what has happened. My voice cracks in the middle –

Tears fall – and I say nothing. 

And though you are seemingly millions of miles away, I know you feel what I feel. Tragedy like this – loss of life – is not a stranger in your life. You comfort me, even in our distance, and it makes me feel less alone. 

There are no words for this. Loss aches in the soul and the utterances of our spirit are the only fragments of sentences we can muster. 

Tonight, I’m glad we have Skype. I’m glad we can talk. I’m glad it isn’t too late. 

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I am done standing on the fence.

For me – and for so many of us – we can’t stand idly when acts of evil like an Orlando shooting, a Stanford rape, a Syrian war, or a San Bernandino attack happen and fill the wavelengths of mainstream consciousness. It’s been there for so long, hasn’t it?

Guns, bombs, human rights abuses, and sloppy, venomous words of judgement are killing us.

I know the second amendment, but I also know the first. Freedom. Just two weeks ago, I pressed my hands upon the finger-tip stained glass case protecting the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence in Washington D.C. I was emotional; I saw the worn wrinkles of time and prayed: I hope it’s not too late. For us. For Americans. For the world.

I am a child of Columbine, of September 11th, of Sandy Hook, and of Charleston and yet I choose to be a woman riding Cat Steven’s “Peace Train” – cause out on the edge of darkness/there rides a peace train/oh, peace train take this country/come take me home again/oh, I’ve been smiling lately/dreaming about the world as one/and I believe it could be /someday it’s going to come.

I don’t know answers to some of the hard questions. But. I know God. I know hope. I know solidarity. Our world, is defined too much by what is wrong, and deeply, I want to echo and establish what is right. And what is right is that LIFE MATTERS. No labels, identifiers, or markers change that.

If we seek righteousness on this earth, please, stop looking for a code of law to be your rigid guide. Look. Open your heart.

Righteousness is before you;

it’s in beating hearts, celebrations of a new life, of love between soulmates, in inspiring teachers, in the care of a child, and within the tender touch of a grandmother. As humans, we all live part of this.

Like swirling dandelions, turning over in summer breezes, life moves all around us.

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Righteousness is not building walls, subjugating people groups, or creating “the other.”

Unity is not a call for perfect agreement on issues, ideas, or preferences. Unity rises higher – higher than political stakes, higher than our own edifices of morality. Unity asks us to see the humanity in another human. Not a naive utopian desire – it’s a call to action.

A beloved community for all. Loving the people around you. It’s not perfect; love is complicated, messy, frustrating, and confusing. But my, it’s the most worthy cause we have.

No more fence standing for me. Nope, not anymore. If it looks like hate, I am running as fast as I can, like Usain Bolt propelling his muscular legs towards victory. Paul envisions a community filled with fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); Martin Luther King Jr. called this “his dream”; and the power of the South African philosophy known as “ubuntu” is derived from such understanding.

Ubuntu means simply: I am because you are. 

I can’t stop weeping because friends, sisters, and brothers died this week. And today. And tomorrow. Orlando, perhaps, is challenging us to look in the mirror and ask if we like what we see. Orlando has victims. Families. Hurt. Pain. Loss. Life has been taken – in an egregious manner. I read the stories of each victim last night and couldn’t help but think what their last moments on earth were like. In stains of sadness, I could only pray, pray, and pray again that redemption would be made possible.

This must stop. Legislation is necessitated. Attitudes are called for change. Our hearts cry out and we must, must pray. God, please. Will you come and comfort our friends and family in Orlando? And beyond, God, will you heal our broken, broken world?

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empowered, to empower.

Friends since 2007, Rachel and I together have ventured through the intensity and magic of Disney World, the coast-lines of Ghana, and questionable neighborhoods in New Orleans.

This last weekend, however, we had one of my most favorite adventures to date.

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Montgomery, Alabama.

On Sunday, we sat in the pews of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. A center point for the Montgomery Bus Boycotts and where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began to exhort the African-American community in non-violence and agape love, I couldn’t believe we were hearing the Gospel in such a rich, history-soaked place. Bah. 

On my birthday, the day before, we trekked 50 miles to Selma, Alabama where the famous Selma-Montgomery march took place in 1965. Nonviolent demonstrators, led by King and a band of other strong, resilient, and visionaries, walked for four days to the State Capitol of Alabama to increase efforts for registration of all voters. To say this was my favorite birthday ever would not be an exaggeration; I have spent years reading about the Civil Rights Movement and yet, here I was! 12469445_10154569586913902_2271018059112534330_o.jpg

The thing is, I’m reminded, is that truthfully, the struggle is real and the struggle continues. Not only for groups in our country, but for people around the world. People don’t have choice; people don’t have a voice in their own lives.

Just in the last week, as I’ve heard about failing school systems in the Deep South, I’ve also been re-connected with friends in Rwanda who are unable to feed their families. I’ve read statistics telling me that only 2% of land in the world is owned by women; and I’ve perused reports of violence and emigration coming from the Middle East. We live in a broken world. Then – and now.

I thought about these places, these movements, these efforts as I sipped coffee this morning. Researching empowerment methodologies, I couldn’t let go of the hot-button question in development work:

 how do you literally empower another human?

The Civil Rights Movement would never had traction without the empowered individuals – and thus an empowered community – to stand up for what was right.

Nor can we live our lives un-empowered.

If we do, how can we expect to make the right choices for ourselves? How can we instill unity in our communities? How can we nurture our families? How can we know things like grace and forgiveness – essential components to the human experience?

Where we recognize injustice, we must do something.

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It could be in our own lives, within our very own communities, or an issue that is happening a million miles away. That problem in Burundi? It’s our problem too. That issue in Syria? Yep, it matters in our lives. And obviously, the gun-violence down the street or even the tensions of racial misunderstanding – they affect us also. We are only unaffected if we choose to be. If we really believe in micro and macro-scale empowerment, these things, they must matter.

That’s what I think we have to do. It’s more than designing a project to fit projections, grant requirements, or assumptions perfectly. Instead, real empowerment is enabling a person to realize the capacity, value, and how to act upon it in their life. And goodness, it’s hard. It’s a lot more complex than handing out a worksheet and saying, “you mean something.” Instead, I think we have to start on a more fundamental level. You have to engage in a relationship with someone, learn about them – and their culture – and empower livelihood from a point of awareness and then to a point of action.

I love thinking about these things.

While researching this morning for The Women’s Bakery, I spent time learning about Acumen, a non-profit that invests in scale-able global projects. Acumen emphasizes the need for dignity of others as they make patient, wise, and practical investments in the skills of individuals around the world. On their website, they have their manifesto posted, and it’s a beautiful piece, highlighting the power behind doing what is right, and the humility to realize that though we might make mistakes, we still must try. The power of us even having the choice to help, well, that’s the beauty of empowerment – we can be empowered to empower. Boom.

A Manifesto. 

It starts by standing with the poor, listening to voices
unheard, and recognizing potential where others see
despair.

It demands investing as a means, not an end, daring to go
where markets have failed and aid has fallen short. It makes
capital work for us, not control us.

It thrives on moral imagination: the humility to see the world
as it is, and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be.
It’s having the ambition to learn at the edge, the wisdom to
admit failure, and the courage to start again.

It requires patience and kindness, resilience and grit: a
hard-edged hope. It’s leadership that rejects complacency,
breaks through bureaucracy, and challenges corruption.
Doing what’s right, not what’s easy.

Acumen: it’s the radical idea of creating hope in a cynical
world. Changing the way the world tackles poverty and
building a world based on dignity.