Strolling some Mediterranean sidewalks during the late-autumn months, it’s not unusual to see shriveling olives wasting away on the ground. There are, of course, locals who spirit away buckets of a forgotten tree’s olives, or the odd pigeon that might take a peck at the bitter fruit, but it’s been my observation that a considerable amount of urban olives go to waste.
Enter enterprising University of Malta Professor, Dr. David Mifsud. Late last year, Shawn received an email from the university inviting students and community members to participate in an olive harvest being led by David. As something that’s been on our must-do list for some time, Shawn and I jumped at the chance to spend a few hours as volunteer olive pickers. We were also thrilled to hear that this Mediterranean staple was being harvested for a cause. The olives picked would be pressed into oil, bottled and sold, all to benefit charities serving Maltese residents with special needs or illness.
Riding through the countryside of Laos’ remote Xieng Khouang province, we spied verdant rolling hills, villagers of all ages escorting livestock on the dusty roadside, and giant craters disfiguring the landscape. For an instant, these cavities in the red earth evoked images of sand traps on golf courses. However, with Laos’ unfortunate distinction of being the world’s most bombed country per capita, not much golf is being played here.
Guided by a local father-and-son team, we had embarked on a day trip to visit the country’s mysterious archaeological treasure: the Plain of Jars. We would also visit two villages: Ban Naphia and Ban Tajok, nicknamed ‘Spoon Village’ and ‘Bomb Village,’ respectively.
Just one month ago, a 500-gram bundle of mischief and joy came into our lives on the streets of the stunning Ukrainian city of Lviv. As you may remember from my earlier post chronicling Cocoa’s adventures with us, the kitten’s story commenced in a sad fashion, when he was discarded behind a series of dumpsters right before our eyes. But I’m here to provide a very happy update.
As the golden leaves of autumn danced from the branches above, a man walked past us, a black kitten in his hands. Since there was an open-air pet market selling puppies in vintage playpens and kittens in birdcages just around the corner, we thought the man had just purchased a kitten. I had cheery visions of him perhaps taking it home to a jubilant family.
Instead, he walked behind a set of steel-grey dumpsters and dropped the kitten into a pile of mixed leaves and trash. Stone-faced, he then walked briskly past us, keeping his gaze forward and careful not to make eye contact with us.
My husband, Shawn, and I were speechless. Over several years of travel in many corners of the world, to include our home country, the United States, we’d likely seen hundreds, if not thousands of homeless pets on the streets. However, we’d never before seen one disposed of right in front of us.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
Passports with Purpose 2013 kicks off today with the goal of raising $115,000 for buildOn to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa. Mali is the world’s fifth poorest country.
Today is International Women’s Day, a commemorative day that’s celebrated in different ways throughout the world. In some countries, the focus is on women’s accomplishments, whereas in others, it is a day to merely show gratitude towards women.
To inspire you, I’ve included a collage of pictures of girls and young women that I have met during my travels from Cambodia to South Africa.
The world is not interested in what we do for a living. What they are interested in is what we have to offer freely – hope, strength, love and the power to make a difference!
How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.
We must become the change we want to see in the world.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.
It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
-Robert F. Kennedy
Go out into the world and do good until there is too much good in the world.
-Larry H. Miller
To him who is determined it remains only to act.
We have it in our power to change the world over.
I feel that the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.
-Dr. Jonas Salk
Your thoughts, words and deeds are painting the world around you.
-Jewel Diamond Taylor
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.
We can do no great things – only small things with great love.
The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.
If it is to be, it is up to me.
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.
What girls or young women have inspired you close to your home or during your travels? Please also share your ideas for making the world a better place!