Not so PC, PeaceCorps! (originallly posted Jan2011)

What is there to say or do when a humanitarian organization treats their own so inhumanly? Are there words to say or an anger that is measurable? I don’t think so. When I recently checked my Twitter and saw that Peace Corps was trending, I got excited. I thought, “Wow, lots of people are interested in Peace Corps, they’ve probably done something great.”… But no, they had just done something greatly disappointing and shameful. (or at least it had just come to light on a recent 20/20 episode)
Six women came forward to be interviewed, but 1000 admitted to being raped and/or sexually assaulted while on assignment with Peace Corps….You may be wondering right now, “How did I not hear about this?” Well, it’s because they were covered up.
In the 20/20 interview, one woman explained how on her very first day in her host country, Bangladesh, she was greeted by a group of young men who unwarrantably KISSED, GRABBED, and TOUCHED her. This type of behavior continued over the course of her stay, and she continued to report it, even asking to be pulled out of the country, but the Peace Corps didn’t oblige. Eventually, one night this same group men attacked her and one by one, gang raped her. When she was finally allowed to leave, she was told to tell the other Peace Corps volunteers that she was having her wisdom teeth pulled…. How cold and indifferent!
One of the most OUTRAGEOUS stories told, was about the murder of Kate Puzey. She was viciously killed after reporting to Peace Corps headquarters in Benin that some of the girls she was teaching were being raped and impregnated by a fellow Peace Corps worker, native to Benin. She asked to be kept anonymous because the rapist had a family member who worked at the headquarters. But this request was not honored, directly resulting in Kate’s death. This was confirmed by a local investigation.  Kate’s family was given the news over the phone and her belongings were dropped off in their driveway by the mailman. Within two months of Kate’s death Peace Corps completely cut ties and communication with Kate’s parents. Kate’s parents were not given any information surrounding her death or even an apology. To this day, Peace Corps has not apologized or taken any responsibility for Kate’s death.
Please read the article or watch the actual 3-part episode, I have attached to hear the rest of these stories and others.

Also, please pass this story on. Don’t allow such an injustice to go unnoticed. Peace Corps needs to step up their security and protection for the workers that risk their lives to work for them. Let’s keep in mind, it takes a special person to leave their family and friends and travel to an unknown place (for years sometimes) and give of themselves, their talent, their time, their comfort and their heart! There is a reason that we are in aw of people like Kate and other humanitarians. They do what others say is too taxing and strenuous. It is our responsibility as compassionate and caring human beings, to expect more and hold organizations accountable. I would like to see Peace Corps restore its name and prestige, but not without changes.
Let’s show these women some reverence and tell their stories over and over again.

 

 

 

Spun…over A21! (originally posted Jan2011)

I’m starting this year with a focus on the A21 campaign. It was founded by Christine Caine and it’s objective is to abolish injustice in the 21st century. I know this sounds like a big claim to make…but read further.
The A21 campaign’s focus is on human trafficking in Europe, but really strives to bring awareness of this issue here in America also. If you take a look at their website they give a list of impressive things that we can each do to help them on this mission. And most of them don’t require any money! I have actually decided to start the first 21 days of January by joining their “21 days of awareness”. Each day there is a new task that you can complete to help bring awareness to the extreme injustice of sex trafficking that women, children, and even boys are facing all over the world. Some things I have done so far are, watched the movie “Trade”, which gives a look into the repulsive world of sex trafficking, found out about actual human trafficking here in Buffalo, NY, and written a letter to a girl who has been rescued from the sex trade. I am sooo passionate about this organization and have heard from the mouth of Christine herself, her exhilaration and drive to really end injustice in the 21st century!! I know you may be thinking that this is a huge task and seems impossible, but it IS possible if you take this opportunity to do something. Even if it is to just watch the videos below and then tell your friends or post them on your Facebook page, you are helping. You really are! Please take a moment and look around the A21 website and jot down some facts that you can tell others about. Knowledge is power!
I am so excited to share with you my love for the A21 campaign and I hope that you will take this opportunity to tell someone else about it too!
p.s. If you live in the Buffalo area you may see me wearing a red A21 shirt on the 21st of each month!

forget the SEASON, focus on the REASON (orginally posted Dec2010)

I am so excited for this new year to begin. I’m not wishing this one away too soon, but am surely welcoming the new one.
      I love change. (I know that sounds strange, but I do) I love the fact that things can start anew and that you can start with a clean slate. The new year symbolizes a chance to reinvent yourself, to be the person you see yourself as in your dreams. It’s a time where no one criticizes you for wanting to start a new hobby, begin a new diet, travel to somewhere exotic, leave a bad relationship, etc, because you can always say “I want to do things different this year“, or “I want to start the new year off right.”
Well, I am going to say, “I want to do things different this year.” I am leaving behind last year, while holding on to the lessons I’ve learned. For me, this means that in 2011 I will:
-Get involved with the youth at my church more
-Do more random acts of kindness
-Volunteer at homeless shelters (not just during peak season…ex.The holidays)
-Donate more clothing than I buy (This will be a challenge)
-Pass on knowledge that I discover about poverty, injustice, and health concerns
-Love more, judge less, and keep my mouth closed more often (Challenging like no other!)
I hope that 2010 was memorable for all of you, whether it was good, bad, heartbreaking, disappointing, adventurous, exciting, or dull as rocks! No matter what, 2011 is on its way and it has the potential to be whatever you want it to be.Remember all that has happened, and use it to push you closer to your true calling, but don’t allow it to define you…Break some rules, Go against the norm, Pave your own path…Live healthy, Live happy. Begin to find yourself! (And this isn’t easy) It may take the whole year and longer, but don’t give up. You will better serve mankind this way. 2010 has taught me that the best things in life aren’t free! They come with lots of tears, prayer, hard work, determination, and faith! But it will pay off. Please don’t give up! Keep your goal in mind.

There are those who have it so much worse off than we do. Don’t let your heartache for a season, divert you from the real reason you live.

 

Fire Starters (originally posted Dec2010)

Keep the fire within, burning bright. (…or spark the flame)
Three books have sparked my interest recently and drawn me in, just by reading their back covers, and I thought I would share them with you. (I am starting Lioness Arising now, and look forward to sharing with you what I read.) Each of them is different. One discusses a “movement” centered about serving and giving back in your communities (in a way we may have never seen before) and how to make it not only an event, but a true WAY OF LIFE. (I love this!) It’s great to see people volunteering, but it just sends me over the top with JOY when I meet people who have made serving truly a lifestyle. This is a desire I have to do in my own life, and am constantly striving to uphold. The book gives you ideas of how to get started and how to get others involved. It’s not “another one of those”…it really is worth giving a chance.
Another book discusses the importance in supporting and educating women around the world. With the support of mindful and compassionate people who stand up for the injustices that many women suffer,women all over our world can be thrust from positions of servitude, to survivor, and on to success.I believe there will be some moving and candid stories within this book that will simply pierce you to empathy.
The last book, which I am very excited about diving into (sometime this upcoming year) is a book that in its title alone perks my ears and gets the gears in my brain churning. It is a call to action for all women who desire to be a beacon of light, a force to be reckoned with, a warrior for the weary lead by the One who is never tired nor defeated. I was pointed to this book by Chris Caine (in one of her podcasts) and of course anything coming from her, I will give a chance. Please take a moment and look at these books,recognize the goal each author had in mind while writing them, and see which suits you best, and read. (Or just carry it around in your car or purse for times when you have nothing better to do) I can not wait to uncover the knowledge awaiting in each of these books!
Servolution

http://www.messengerintl.org/Display.asp?Page=Home

*Listen as Lisa Bevere and Chris Caine discuss this book.

All the books can be purchased on Amazon.com

 

Mission Refugee (originally posted Dec2010)

If you live in the Buffalo,NY area, I have attached a link to an amazing organization called Jericho Road Ministries. They help to empower and equip refugees. There are SOOO many ways to get involved with them. You don’t need a degree or anything, just a desire to serve. I actually am a mentor with The Priscilla Project. The Priscilla Project is a part of JRM that helps refugee women who are pregnant and need a little assistance navigating through appointments, pre/post-natal care, understanding WIC, the importance of breastfeeding, proper nutrition…and many other things that may come a bit easier to those who have grown up in a first world country. The refugee women are kind and gracious and can teach you so much about their culture and what their life has been like. If you have a free 2hr spot in your week, you should definitely consider volunteering with TPP. The last I heard, there was a long list of women awaiting a mentor….If you are a guy and a little freaked out that I just through out the word “Breastfeeding” in a blog, you may be interested in one of the other areas that JRM offers…. take a look at their website and let me know what you think!
p.s. You don’t have to have any children to work with TPP.

The Mission (originally posted 26Dec2010)

The stench of anything stagnant, yet full of potential, is unbearable.
A simple example. You load your dish washer with dirty dishes after a big dinner. You fill the reservoir with dish liquid and close the door. You go lie in bed and awake to the next morning. (Forgetting to run the dishwasher) You quickly drink your morning coffee and eat your scrambled eggs; then throw the cup and frying pan into the dishwasher. You come home that evening after a long day with some take- out Chinese, put it on a plate, then right before heading off to bed, open the dishwasher to load that last plate and you are hit with the stench. The dishwasher has been filled to the brim, and prepared with liquid, to do its job, but was never turned on….
“Run me!!” I say!
I desire greatly to be used by God, in a way that I could never ask or imagine. I believe that this world is in great need of love and compassion and I want to give some of it. I want to become unbearably full of potential, that God will have no other choice, but to release me to my destiny.
I have been inspired by some many people; from Nelson Mandela to Christine Caine. I want this blog to be a door for those who want to give back. I will be telling you about the places I shop, that give money to organizations I believe in. I will be telling you about the lives of amazing people that are bettering this world and motivate me. And anything else that I think will push you to run and seek whatever your calling may be.
 “Become full of potential, STINK, so that you just HAVE to be used!”
Originally posted 26th December 2010