During my first trip to Africa, as my visit to Tanzania was ending, I wrote this:
Last night over dinner, Sanjay asked me what I thought I might be like if I had been born here. I hope I would be like Mama Lucy. I fear, though, that I don’t possess her ability to succeed slowly and in small steps. She is able to relish (and appropriately so) the small miracles that she witnesses and inspires every day. While she focuses and builds upon those, I believe I might instead focus on everything that hadn’t yet happened, thus obscuring the magnitude of what had been achieved. I hope to learn from her and grow – passionate progress before perfection.
At Epic Change, we have so much room to grow, new ideas to discover and goals to achieve. And most of the time, I fix my gaze on all that’s yet to be accomplished. But today, since this paragraph about Mama Lucy came to mind (and as everyone around me will testify, I’ve been interminably humming this song), I’m focusing on what has happened, just this month, that’s bringing us at least a few steps closer. Today, I’m going to feel grateful. (Perhaps it’s a lesson from another great woman in my life, my sister Ashlee, who’s recently created a journal she calls “The Grateful Monk” in which she writes regularly about small things for which she has great gratitude – an idea so swell, I’m stealing it here. I’m sure she won’t mind.)
Check out this feature story about Epic Change from my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon, in the October issue of their quarterly magazine, Carnegie Mellon Today.
Late last year, Epic Change was challenged by a potential funder to raise $25,000 through small contributions from ordinary people within one year. This month, with your support, encouragement and donations, we exceeded that goal and, by doing so, were awarded a $5,000 grant that we will use as part of our next loan in Tanzania, which we expect to make before the end of the year.
We’ve been working feverishly on this season’s holiday products. Early in November, Epic Change will launch a beautifully designed line of holiday cards and gift items that feature stories of the children of Shepherds Junior school. Not only will these items incorporate artwork by the students and beautiful images like these by photographer Tim Llewellyn, who joined us on our last trip to Tanzania, each purchase will also make possible one or more of 1,000 bricks that will be needed to build the school’s next classroom.
We’ve just established an exciting partnership with Appfrica International to assist us with improving our website and blog. Appfrica International is an incredible organization based out of Uganda that incubates, facilitates and mentors entrepreneurs in software from the region. These are often recent computer science graduates or students who can’t find opportunities because of low job prospects. Appfrica works with them to help expose them to new skills, to collaboratively work on projects that earn them money and to help them develop strong business plans. Find out more at Appfrica.org.
Additionally, Exquisite Safaris will begin offering opportunities for travelers to visit Mama Lucy and her school as part of their safari excursions to Tanzania. The Exquisite Safaris Philanthropic Travel experience integrates indigenous local culture into every personalized experience they recommend. These personal introductions create authentic cross cultural friendships that generate trust, respect, and generous donations funding philanthropic travel projects worldwide. Exquisite Safaris was mentioned in a recent article published in the New York Times. If you or a friend are planning a trip to the region, we hope you’ll consider booking through Exquisite Safaris and incorporating a visit with Mama Lucy.
I know it’s not perfection – but it’s progress. A ton of it. And for that, and so much more: today I am grateful.
PS: My favorite member of the canine species, Millicent the Magnificent, is feeling festive today & wanted me to wish you a Happy Halloween!!!
PPS: If you’re on twitter, don’t forget to play #TrickorTweet today, and suggest Epic Change as a recipient of the funds the game will raise by adding us to the comments on this post about the effort. If you’re not on Twitter, what are you waiting for? Register here, read this and follow me. Trust me and jump in, the water’s fine ;)
|Just enter your gift amount & click the donate button:|