Stepping Away from Groundhog Day
I have recently returned from a Vision Trip to the Dominican Republic with a team of women from Charlotte, Seattle and Texas. It was truly an amazing team. We all became fast friends and had some major bonding going on but that’s a whole other blog that I’ll save for later! We spent five days in villages outside of Santo Domingo and in communities around the town of Barahona. The trip was centered on microenterprise development, a proven strategy in overcoming poverty and changing lives by lending small loans to enterprising women.
I am back home in Charlotte but I did not allow myself to fully come home (thanks to Kathryn Compton who wisely reminded our trip team to not go home completely). I pray for the people we met and think of them constantly through out my day. I carry their stories with me, on the tip of my tongue ready to share with anyone who will listen and deep in my heart where they will have a permanent residence. I am forever changed by the life stories and the perseverance of the women we met on trip.
On day two of the trip, I was reminded of the movie Groundhog Day. In the film, Bill Murray’s character wakes up to the same day over and over again, destined to repeat the same trails and tribulations unless he makes a change that will re-chart the course of his life. For these women, it seemed to me like it must feel like Groundhog Day, every day. The challenges that they faced yesterday greet them the very moment they wake up today. Hard work awaits them in the form of daily chores, taking care of their family (which can include not only their biological children but parents and in-laws and anyone from the community that is in need of care) cleaning, washing, cooking, making sure the children have clothes to wear attending to the physical needs and health of their family. And then planning for following day’s meal, trust me, I am not talking about hitching a ride on a neighbor’s moped to the nearest Super Target. Planning a meal, making a meal, even gaining access to food is challenging when you do not have the resources that are required. Not only are the days physically grueling but psychologically as well. Imagine having to worry every day if you will be able to put food on the table or afford medicine if a child becomes sick. So many odds are stacked against these women, but yet they have such perseverance in the face of adversity. Not only do they dig deep each and every day to find the strength to continue to live and raise their families in places where it looks bleak and the lack of hope is almost palpable they do it while praising God! Their faith and belief that God will provide is the foundation of their unshakable inner fortitude.
Upon further reflection, maybe I was wrong. Maybe it isn’t like Groundhog Day every day after all. Every day IS a new day. Every day these women are chipping away at the obstacles that stand in their way. Every day is an opportunity to improve their lives and secure a better future for their children and generations to follow.
It was an honor and a blessing to walk alongside these women and see the work that World Vision is doing to encourage and enable them to lift themselves up out of hopelessness and into hope for a better future. This transformation is happening as a result of the Strong Women, Strong World initiative. Strong Women, Strong World is making the world a better place for a woman to live by empowering her through education (not only literacy but learning about her rights, reproductive health, nutrition, and basic economics) but also believing in her by helping her get a loan to start her own business.
My children’s school in Charlotte used a slogan for a capital campaign always that always resonated with me: BELIEVE AND ACHIEVE. If you believe, you can achieve. Sometimes you need someone to believe in you first so you have an opportunity to succeed and believe in yourself. The women World Vision believe in and are investing in, have all the ingredients to be successful: they are hard-working, eager to learn, motivated to do well and filled with faith, love and the unshakable belief that we are all children of a loving God who will provide. With a recipe like that, who needs a Super Target anyway?
When your alarm goes off tomorrow morning, consider joining me in a challenge not to accept the status quo. Don’t let it be Groundhog Day all over again. Do something to change your course and try to change the course of someone else’s life for the better.
by Carolyn Hudson, WOV Charlotte, NC