The middle of the morning food market in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia is perhaps an odd place to begin a story about malnutrition. Baskets of fresh fish in beautiful hues of silver and blue line the barely-more-than-one-person-wide footpath through the temporary stalls that pop up here […]
One of the most frustrating things about being in agriculture is watching people who mean well, but who do not have enough knowledge and experience to be truly informed, make bad decisions on behalf of the industry and its consumers. But then, I guess you […]
Today, something really exciting is happening for both ONE and myself. Our local newspaper, The Lansing State Journal, is featuring a front page story about ONE, my work with them, and our trip to Ethiopia. Front page! So, with apologies to those regular readers who have seen all of this before, I want to give a big welcome to the LSJ readers who are clicking through, and offer up a recap of some of the most notable trip highlights.
You can find all the posts about my work with ONE — before, during, and after the Ethiopia trip — here, and pieces from each and every member of ONE’s Delegation to Ethiopia over at ONE.org. There are so many inspiring pieces I can’t possibly link to them all, but I would encourage everyone to take a few moments out of their day to browse.
Meanwhile, here are a few of my favorites:
Thousands | I knew Ethiopia would be “behind”, but I wasn’t prepared for just how far behind.
Smell. Sip. Sacrament. | “Of all the exotic aromas and experiences from my sojourn in Ethiopia, it’s the frankincense I miss most.” – Cathleen Falsani
Soul-Pulling Dance in Ethiopia | “For a while I stopped eating and couldn’t take my eyes off of the live performers and musicians. I kept staring at them and didn’t realize I was crying until the tears starting falling from my chin and I wiped them off with my scarf hoping that no one would notice this odd breakdown I was having in the middle of dinner.” – Kelly Wickham
On The 6.8 Million | Thoughts on the malnourished children of Ethiopia and a look at how the programs on the ground there are helping make things better long term.
What Mother Want for Our Children. | “While the statistics are, with good reason, what the administrators are proud of, it’s the children–the joyful, amazing, energetic children–that demonstrated to us in the most basic way, that things are going well thanks to grants from the US.” – Liz Gumbinner
Conservative Thoughts on Foreign Aid and The Fiscal Cliff | Why foreign aid is not just a pet project of the left and how going over The Fiscal Cliff will effect us all.
The Faces of Ethiopia | “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love faces — because I truly believe every one of them is beautiful. And so today, I want to share with you some of the amazing faces that I was able to photograph while I was in Ethiopia.” – Karen Walrond
“You See Something That You Can’t Unsee” | How a quote from a speech Bono, co-founder of ONE, gave at Georgetown University helped me finally put into words one of the most powerful parts of our trip.
Video by Ryan Youngblood, Youngblood Films
First, go to ONE.org and join the cause. ONE never asks for your money, only your voice. And works to make it easier for you to leverage your power as a citizen of one of the world’s biggest governments.
If you still have time after that, consider signing the ONE petitions to help combat AIDs, support life-saving vaccine availability, support sustainable food solutions that will help end hunger and malnutrition, encourage politicians to take action on the federal budget, and foster transparency in all the world’s major governments.
Click on any picture, or its corresponding name/number below to learn more about each ONE Delegation member.
 Asha Dornfest  Cathleen Falsani  Kelly Wickham
 Gabrielle Blair  Michelle Pannell  Christine Koh
 Maya Haile Samuelsson  Jen Howze  Liz Gumbinner
 Alice Currah  Rana DiOrio  Me!
All headshots copyright the incredible Karen Walrond, pictured at left. Karen traveled with ONE as part of a delegation to Kenya last year and returned to Africa with us this year as the official trip photographer. Trini by blood, Texan by choice, and English by Marriage, Karen is, above all else, a force to be reckoned with.
Karen’s headshot copyright Maile Wilson
Coming into this trip I knew I would walk away a changed woman. I prepared myself as well as possible for the extreme poverty, the hunger, the disease. I tried to learn a little Amharic, the most common of the more than eighty languages spoken […]
Isn’t it funny how you know exactly what you want, where you want to go, how your life should look. Except it never turns out that way. It never looks just like that. And you’re happy anyway. Elated, even.
Isn’t it funny how the world almost always beholds something even better? You round that corner expecting to find something really great, but when you get there it’s breathtakingly incredible instead.
I’ve started this post a million times — okay, maybe not a full million, but close — and I’m still not quite sure how to put the awe that fills my chest into words.
In six short weeks I’ll be boarding a plane with eleven other women. Women whose voices, visions, and spirits take my breath away. After sixteen hours in the air we’ll land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a week-long trip that I’m sure will leave me even more speechless than I am right now.
A year ago I thought I knew what my work in agriculture would look like this year. I thought I knew how I could make a difference. I had no idea and for that I’m grateful, because this not knowing? This awe-struck anticipation? It’s the best feeling in the world.
I want to tell you that I know nothing about Ethiopia, that I am not uniquely qualified for any of this, but that I’ll try my best. I’ll try to learn some of at least one of the eighty two languages spoken in the country. I’ll try to understand what the people we meet go through each day. I’ll try to tell their story. I’ll try to make a good impression on behalf of all of you, all of us. I’ll try, because it’s all I know how to do.
I only hope to be able to do both the people we meet along the way and the organization that is kind enough to host me justice.
Because the truth is, a couple of weeks ago, I held roughly the same amount of knowledge about both — and it wasn’t much. I didn’t know that ONE was an advocacy group, that asks only for your voice, not your money to make a difference. I didn’t know that 2/3 of the people in sub-Saharan Africa are employed in Agriculture. I didn’t know that the simple act of ensuring female farmers have the same access to enrichment programs and opportunities as their male counterparts could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by more than 100 million.
And that? If I can be a part of even a small portion of that? There are no words for the joy I feel at the thought.
I’ll be posting here about what will, undoubtedly, be a life-changing journey — one that has already begun and will not end when I’m back on U.S. soil again — but I’d love it if you’d follow the whole group and join us in affecting change, too.
You can learn more about Agriculture in Africa, and the other issues that ONE focuses on at ONE.org. Read the ONE Moms blog, follow ONE Moms on Facebook and Pinterest, follow the ONE Campaign on Twitter, and keep track of the #ONEMoms hashtag.
I’ll be traveling to Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign to report on how American-supported programs are improving and saving lives. ONE is a non-partisan organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by pressing political leaders to support smart programs that do just that. They’re also launching a new initiative to focus specifically on Agriculture, which is where I’m most excited to join in. ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. It’s something I can get behind and I hope you can, too.
Take this big leap with me?