To make a difference for one

I feel so blessed, I get to combine so many of my passions.  Both my family and the organization I work with are incredibly supportive and understanding of how important The Leaky Boob is to me giving me time to write, speak, and otherwise advocate for moms, babies, and families. One of my biggest supporters is Anna, my boss at work.  I asked her to share why she believes so deeply in the work we do with Initiative 31.8 and I’m honored to share it here.  While you’ve never heard Anna’s voice in the context of TLB before, her wisdom and passion have been influencing this community for over a year as she has mentored and encouraged me.  Reading this piece helped me better understand why she so freely supports my involvement with The Leaky Boob, her heart is in supporting women.  Meet Anna, one of the most influential women in my life.  ~Jessica

Have you ever had a moment in your life that you knew would forever change you?

That happened to me several years ago during a trip to N’Djamena, Chad in sub Saharan Africa.  Ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world and harshest places to live as a woman, its beautiful people and land have found a permanent place in my heart.

One evening near the end of my trip, I went to visit the home of a young woman in her early twenties named Sarah*.  Sarah wanted to show me where she lived.  As I stood on the dirt floor of her tiny room, I listened as she described her life to me, a life of hardship, suffering, abuse, and loneliness. Her room had barely enough space to spread out a mat on the floor. There was a curtain serving as a door for privacy, and she had a small shelf against the wall, holding a bowl, a bar of soap, and a change of clothes.

She didn’t seek my sympathy, but rather we were two women sharing a private moment.  And yet, I saw how hungry she was, being given just one meal a day by the extended family that had taken her in. I saw how trapped she was by her life circumstances, desperately trying to get an education and find work. I saw how much she sought meaning from empty pursuits, relying on harmful relationship after relationship to survive. Even though our lives are so very different, we connected on a deep, soul level.

As my heart broke for this new friend, I knew in that moment that I wanted to devote my life to being part of the answer for people like her.

Through my work at International Teams, I have found myself in the company of many more people who want to take part in transforming lives of people like Sarah, of seeing communities become a place where no one is invisible.  Where a young woman in hunger, isolation, and powerlessness can build a life of opportunity.

I am just one person, and there is so much hurting and hardship in this world. But if my life can be part of seeing change in the life of just one person, then it is worth it. I would do it for Sarah, and I know she would do it for me. By joining together, we can all make a difference.

If you knew that you, just one person in a world of great suffering and injustice, could make a difference in the life of just one other person, would you do it?  As mothers we’re drawn, compelled to invest in the lives of our children and know first hand the meaning that comes from doing so.  It is in our nature as humans to feel compassion for others, even those that don’t call us “mom.”

You can do that right now. Saturday Jessica and I will be hopping on our bikes to ride to raise funds for the oppressed in the RIDE for Refuge.  Jessica thinks she will be sore and barely able to walk after. Possible, but I just smile and know the great sense of accomplishment we both will feel after giving just a few hours of our lives to change the life of another.

We haven’t reached our goal yet, but it’s not too late! Will you donate to our sponsor page?

 *not her real name

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Have you ever had a moment that forever changed you?  Did it alter the direction of your life?  Did it develop new passions?  Has it inspired you to help others and make the world a better place?

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Comments

  1. Anna Pavey says:

    Jessica, it is you who inspire me with your artistry and passion for the world. I am truly a better person for knowing you.

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