Investing in People

As I’ve been scanning through the news these days, the last few weeks especially, I’ve been overwhelmed, disheartened, and left sitting full of questions, frustration, and dismay. I've asked myself daily as I finally tear away from the news, what in the world can I do? What can any of us do?

In the face of overwhelming and depressing news, I try to focus on the small triumphs and changes in our daily lives-- the triumphs and changes that we already do have a role in effecting.

This week, I think of one of my best friends, a passionate, honest, and truly gracious woman who welcomed me into her family during my Peace Corps service in rural Rwanda. I think of her because she never ceases to inspire me. A mother of three, she singlehandedly provides for all her children and runs the house. She farms, she cooks, she cleans, she finds money for school, for the doctor, for clothes. She is always exhausted, and always manages to fill the house with ringing laughter and song. Last week, she visited me and asked me to teach her again the recipe we used to use to make banana bread. She told me of her dream to start a small bread and tea shop in her village. And, beyond the dream, she had already sketched out her plan, with a list of all the assets and materials she would need to get going. Together, we worked on a budget, discussed market testing and production plans, and of course baked several loaves of banana bread.

When I asked her why she wanted to start this business, she said that she wanted to be able to provide more for her family. She said, “I know I can do this Julie. I work hard.” And she does.

In the midst of all the global tragedy, and even in the midst of our own personal battles, each of us still has the power to invest in the lives of others. Invest in friendship, invest in affirmation, invest in business ideas, invest in a shared meal, whatever it is, invest in lives. Invest. Who knows what good may come of it?