Archive for April, 2010

Positive Energy is Never Misspent

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

So, you’re out of work but you still want to help people? Laurin Hayes uses her smarts and creativity to find a way. Here is her story:

Laurin with Tanzanian friends

I traveled to Tanzania for the first time 9 years ago to see the flora and fauna of that amazing place. Being a nature and animal lover, I expected to fall in love with the wilds of Africa; which I did, but I unexpectedly fell in love with the Tanzanian people as well. Warm, welcoming, loving, soft-spoken, these people prize community over competition, and are collectively the most gracious and hard-working people I have ever known.

To realize what they must do on a daily basis just to survive was a complete awakening for me. To witness their triumphs despite their daily struggles has motivated me to take a harder look at my own privileged American society. To witness their simple joy in spite of overwhelming poverty has left me with a yearning to do what I can, in my own way, to help.

It was through a mutual friend that I met Karen Ande. Karen and I share a deep desire to leave “positive footprints” in Africa by helping to bring a healthy dose of awareness to the situation and to give others an opportunity to enrich the lives of those less fortunate that we have left behind.

A professional photographer by trade, Karen Ande has produced a book filled with beautiful images and touching stories of the many people she has met and places she has visited during her travels to Africa. She donates all the proceeds to worthy and responsible causes which she lists in her book. I was so motivated by Karen’s positive attitude and inspiring book that I wanted to share it with everyone I know.

Since I’ve been out of work for 6 months, I can neither afford to purchase multiple copies, nor make a significant donation by myself, so I have to get creative and ask myself, “What can I do???”

I have compiled a mailing list of 50 friends and family from all across the country whom I am sending my copy of Karen’s book to — one at a time. I’m giving others an opportunity to see, read and hopefully feel what I feel about the project because I truly believe each of us has a responsibility to help those less fortunate — in whatever way one is able. Even small donations can collectively add up to make a huge difference.

Sure, it’s a total experiment but I’m willing to give it a try, because that’s what I can do. I’ll keep blogging to let you know where my book travels and what the outcome of this experiment will be. My new mantra: Positive energy is never misspent.