July 17

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“Do one thing every day that scares you”

 I am not big on motivational quotes, but I have always liked the one by Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing every day that scares you”. I love the concept, but when I think of my life, I realize that I rarely do things that scare me. When I think of really scary things I’ve done, I have to go back to 2007 when I learned to scuba dive.

Well guess what? I’m scared now! Today I leave for Rwanda and Kenya. Here is my list of scary things:

 · Have I packed properly?

· How will my kids do without me for 9 days (new record)?

· Better yet, how will I do without my kids for 9 days?

· Will I like the food? Will I get sick?

· Will I get malaria?

· Will I be safe?

· Will I be able to connect with the smallholder farmers I’m there to help?

The goal of the trip is to map out how farmers get seeds, fertilizers and training and how those inputs translate to crop yields. Until very recently they were subsistence farmers – eating only what they could grow or trade locally. Often, the food would run out before the next harvest, and families would enter into “hungry months”. Fortunately, through the work of the Millennium Villages Project, these farmers are now in a position to sell surplus crops to pay for other necessities like healthcare and education. That’s where I come in. We want to help formalize the systems they currently have in place to make them more reliable and efficient.

When I go back to my list of fears, I realize how fortunate I am. Imagine not having enough food for you family. That’s scary!