Over the years, nonprofits have served humanity by addressing needs that have slipped through the cracks of the government, the economy, and other systems. On the front of international poverty, many organizations have historically used a model of relief, giving aid and resources only to find that the recipients develop a greater dependency on the organizations. While there are some contexts that require relief, most development work must employ a different model that can create self-sufficiency and an infrastructure for lasting change. When we started BOH, we didn't want to fall into the trap of relief work and leave our women worse off than when we started. We had to do something different...
There’s something about stepping off that plane that I will never forget…the warm air hitting my face; the smell of a charcoal fire burning from a nearby home; the relief of arriving after a long journey; the feeling of familiarity; and the joyful sense of arriving home. People often ask, "How long is the trip to Uganda?" But while it is a long journey, that is never what I remember about the trip. It is the smiles...the people...the memories of being in a place that feels familiar, a place where I feel at home.
In what ways have you seen progress?”...This was the question a woman recently asked me at one of our events. She was eager and excited, wanting to hear more. “Progress”…this is an interesting term when we are working with people. How do you measure progress in another person’s life…and better yet, who am I to do that?
Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong and yet known that there is nowhere you belong more? When you look around, you see that you are right where you are supposed to be, and yet something inside you longs to be elsewhere. I have lived the last 10 years of my life in this paradox, belonging and yet still longing. You see, living with one foot in the western world and the other in Sub-Saharan Africa is a gift, but it is also the hardest thing I have ever done.
Besides planting the actual seeds, this mulch "blanket" is perhaps the most essential part of the planting process, sometimes making the difference between a low and plentiful harvest. The trick? Finding the dried leaves to make it. Luckily, there is one crop that drops heaps of dried leaves and there's plenty of it around, even neighboring many of the women’s gardens! Unfortunately, it comes at a price. So how much is too much?