Work In Progress

My first encounter with extreme poverty was like an unforgettable punch in the gut.

The kind you would never have seen coming. The smells. The sights. The panic feeling that this must be a bad dream, a nightmare. The kind of things you can’t unsee.


I remember visiting an orphanage and rocking a baby girl named Esther that had fleas jumping off of her… actually Esther was two years old, but she was the size of a six month old due to lack of proper nutrition. She had been abandoned in a field when she was three months old and brought to this orphanage who did the best they could with the very limited resources they had.

That was my first taste of being truely angered by injustice. It was the beginning of an awakening for me to do something. Anything. Sitting idle day in and day out, caaught up in my “first world problems”, you know, complaining about leftovers, laundry and checking my childs homework for the 10th time, were no longer going to sufice.


I began to research things like , the orphan crisis (that’s a whole other story) , the millions of people who dont have access to clean water, food, medical care or education. The more i read, the more I broke into a hundred pieces feeling helpless. What was I supposed to do? A stay at home mom from Wisconsin.
After a ton of trial and error, and talking to people much wiser than myself, I came to this conclusion. Education and job creation will break the cycle of poverty.


Myself and two partners decided to open a fairtrade boutique in Kenosha this past fall as one way to make a difference. Fairtrade is so simple, yet so profound. Wait for it… It’s the thought that human beings deserve to be treated fairly for the work they do and the products they make. Plain and simple. Not to buy their third vacation home or the latest Iphone, but do things like feed their children and send them to school so they can learn to read and write.


Mind blown? I know mine sure was when I realized the purchasing power that I possessed being born into one of the richest countries in the world. I became keenly aware of Maya Angelou’s famous quote “Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.”


I’m choosing to do better. I think we can all choose to do better, no matter how big or how small. I’m choosing to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.


I invite you to join me.

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