Know Your Why

This post is written by Leora Ward. Leora is an aid worker and life coach who supports women in the humanitarian and caring professions through her organization, Healing in Service.

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Leora Ward of Healing in Service

I was 24 when I first started working in West Africa, 25 when I moved to northern Uganda, and 26 when I took my first job in Darfur, Sudan. At the time, I got many comments from family and friends about my choice and decision to move so far away, to a war-torn country nonetheless. Some people found it idealistic, others thought it was “cute”, and then others called me a bleeding heart. I didn’t really take it personally at the time and never responded. The fact is that I didn’t have the words at that point to truly explain WHY I went into the humanitarian field. And, ever since then, I have bounced between altruistic responses about wanting to create a better world, to savior-like ones that sound something like, “well, someone’s got to do it!”

It wasn’t until much later that something clicked. I have coached women in the humanitarian and development fields for almost 2 years now. In doing so, I have gotten to know myself better and also understand the real reasons WHY we do this work. It seems Continue reading

Next deployment: TBD

This post is by Missing in the Mission blogger Suguru Mizunoya. 

Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.

 The Great Binding Law, Iroquois Nations

“Voicing for the voiceless” is a phrase that I liked and used frequently during my service with UNICEF in Africa.  I was (and am) so proud to work for children.  I had been giving voice to children in developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, many of whom still suffer from lack of access to education, clean water, shelter, and nutrition. But I didn’t know that children in my own hometown in Fukushima, Japan, were also voiceless.  The day the Great East Japan Earthquake hit our hometown—and three nuclear power plants in Fukushima started to meltdown—they too needed a voice.

* * * *

March 11, 2011. Morning in Kenya. My mobile phone rang. But I turned it off, as I was working. It rang again. Again, I turned it off.

It was a nice morning in Nairobi, and I was attending a workshop. The workshop just started and I did not want to be distracted by a call. Then the phone rang a third time. Thinking it must be an emergency, I picked up. “Suguru, a huge earthquake has hit Japan. Somewhere in the north. My parents are away. I just opened all the doors of our house so that we won’t get stuck inside.”

It was my wife in Saitama prefecture in Japan. She delivered our baby boy four months ago and was staying in her parents’ home until the baby grew big enough to travel to Kenya, where I worked.

“I called your mom in Fukushima. I was able to talk with her once. She was fine. But I can’t reach her anymore. Something is wrong with the mobile communication system. I can’t call my mom, either. I am scared.”

I told my wife to stay at home and try to fill the bathtub, just to secure water. And try to collect more information. As soon as we hung up, I told my colleagues that I needed to Continue reading