you can make a difference


“We won’t always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What’s important is that you do care and you act.” – Charlotte Lunsford

I’ve lived in Mozambique for 6 years. That’s one of the poorest countries in the world. For the first 2 months I could hardly sleep, I was devastated with the misery around me, I wanted to help everyone, take every child home, feed every homeless I found on the streets, buy every little useless artifact they tried selling me at the market. I felt utterly powerless.

I was working full time, but most of my girl friends were not, they were there to accompany their husbands and had hardly anything to do – even the children were taken care of. I once asked one of them why didn’t she get involved in some sort of institution to help at least the children. There were so many orphanages with huge needs and she had the time and the means. She replied that it was hopeless – nothing she could do would ever be enough. So she did nothing!

This was not an option to me. There had to be something that I could do, besides financial contributions. So, I decided to start at home with my staff. With the house I rented, I had “inherited” 1 cook, 1 maid and a gardener. The company provided 24 hour service guards, and 2 drivers. In time I took another 2 employees that were working in friends’ houses and when they left the country had nowhere to go.

I know, it sounds like a lot of help, specially because we were only two people in the house… But the 6 or 7 people that we were paying for cost us hardly what 1,5 would cost back home and we were actually providing for 7 families. I didn’t care what it looked like.

For some of them, the only proper meals they had the whole day were the ones they had at our home. Some of them had to feed 4 or 5 children plus the parents or the in-laws. Little by little we made sure they all had proper cement houses with toilets, plumbing and electricity. It was such a luxury for them. All the children went to school and they all had clothes and shoes.

It probably wasn’t much… but I felt I had done something and for at least those families I had made a difference.

Where can you make a difference?

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