Monrovia, Liberia - As I am nearing the end of my time here once again, leaving next Monday to bring Moses to college in America, I am reflecting on the specialness of these two beings of light – and how “It’s a God-thing” as we all say here that we are connected. Victor Frankl discusses in one of my most treasured books ever, Man’s Search for Meaning, “…human beings’ motive is not money or even happiness, but for meaning. We are driven above all to understand the purpose of our lives. Once that is understood even the most miserable conditions cannot upend inner peace.”
Monrovia, Liberia - A Moses is Going to College in America Celebration! Over thirty people gathered tonight, Moses’ biological family and chosen family, to celebrate him and his amazing accomplishment of having been accepted to ten universities in America. He has chosen Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania where he will study computer science.
Monrovia, Liberia - Ten days ago, I shared the unbelievably awful news of the sudden death of a beautiful 6-year-old girl named Precious. She had just graduated from KII and was on her way to 1st grade with such great joy! A very big graduation celebration here in Liberia. That was June 29th. July 4th Precious died in the leading hospital in this country of yellow fever; no ability to help and no medicine here. My outrage and sadness has been tremendous, my heart so broken.
Then tonight I met hope manifested by her parents, Franklin and his wife Mary. And I was beyond blessed to meet their new baby daughter, Marylin – parents Mary and Franklin combined their names which is common here in Liberia.
When I first graduated from college and then graduate school, I opted to teach for several years in return at the time for the cancellation of my accumulated college debt. Armed with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education and counseling, I first went to work for Northwestern University’s Laboratory School in Evanston, IL in America. I had so wanted to take a post at an inner-city all black school on the south side of Chicago, but my father put his foot down with a firm NO – and for some reason I obeyed him. Looking back now, I wonder why…So, I went to the north side of Chicago to the largely affluent suburb of Evanston, which had an integrated population for many years, and economic extremes. My assignment was a special education class for “emotionally disturbed” children. OMG that label haunts me now. I had perhaps 10 students, primarily children of color. Despite big challenges, we loved each other as a family. Joy is my remembrance.
Monrovia, Liberia - It feels like Ebola time. Fear. Wonderment. Confusion. Prayers.
I am one of only a very few people staying in my familiar Liberian compound/home, a place with a capacity for perhaps 200 and usually full of life and joy; as in addition to guests from elsewhere, so many local people come to the Kendeja to enjoy the pool and beach and very special seaside setting. It is a sacred place. And today it is empty. The one major airline that serves Liberia whose crew stays here, Brussels Air, is gone until at least Sunday – even though they kept coming during the long civil war and Ebola; not now.
Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year. I strive to focus on my gratitude list always. That is the reason I authored the book GRATITUDE Always a few years ago. November is, however, a special time to focus on gratitude as the year is coming to an end. Here are some of my gratitude moments:
None of this would be possible without YOU - so many of you who over the last 20 years have shared your time, treasury, and talent with the Foundation for Women. Thank you!
A very special thank you to Dana, Janie, George, Jennifer, Barbara, and Barbara for joining with me to lead the Foundation for Women.
A tremendous thank you to Cory who keeps everything together always - cannot imagine life without Cory!
To friend Aldis at MISSIONLINES who has shared so many links to help support our work: www.ONLYLOVEisbest.com and www.ONLYHOPEisbest.com and www.MakeEducationFun.com and others!
To Sector 9, the Tony Hawk Foundation, Awesome Beyond Borders Foundation, and so many others for helping us bring skateboarding to Liberia!
And to friend Leena Patidar who has brought COIN UP to us! Here's what COIN UP is:
What if you could simply donate your spare change from everyday purchases to support the Foundation for Women (FFW)? Well now you can, there's an app for that! FFW has partnered with a revolutionary mobile donation app called COIN UP. You can make a monthly impact through COIN UP in 3 Easy Steps:
Please make this your year end gift to the Foundation for Women.
With great gratitude,
La Jolla, CA - Liberia’s Ebola Eradication Day is just 8 days away, now set for May 9th. I was in Liberia when the last Ebola case was diagnosed on Friday, March 20th; the woman sadly died one week later. Since then there have been no new cases, thanks to the vigilance of the Liberian people. They have come together, joined with each other, committed with each other to end this deadly crisis. And they are succeeding. There is respect for Ebola and a commitment to constant washing of hands in bleach water, checking temperatures, and a change in many cultural practices, including honoring of the dead.
La Jolla, CA. - We all had a wonderful skype connection this morning, the team in Liberia and our Edify partner in San Diego and me in La Jolla . I LOVE Tuesday mornings at 7AM here! Connecting regularly with all in Liberia reminds me of why I am on the planet – it’s about connection and service and love.
Liberia and the people of Liberia are in recovery from an unprecedented crisis. Besides the tremendous death toll and infection rates, every aspect of the country has been affected. The GDP for the three most affected countries is expected to be a loss of $2.2B in 2015; countries already struggling in so many ways. So, we discussed a five point recovery plan.
La Jolla, CA - This is the latest report from Liberia published recently in the New York Times:
All too much too late. And an acknowledgement that it was indeed the Liberian people who ended ebola in their country, not the international community response.
There is a front page story in the New York Times today, “Empty Clinics Are Called a Misstep in Ebola Effort,” which I read with great interest. On September 16, 2014, President Obama announced an expanded US plan to help Liberia. I remember that day distinctly. I was in Kauai watching the announcement on CNN while speaking with His Excellency the Vice President of Liberia. I was telling him of the announcement. The number of new ebola cases in the country peaked the week after the announcement.
Deborah Lindhom is the Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Women. For over 20 years she has lived and worked in Africa, India and the United States on issues of poverty, education and microcredit.