Hey Mocha Club. Marisa here.
If you’ve been around MC for awhile, you know I’m no stranger to this blog… I’ve shared about the MC 2009 trip to Cape Town and my 2008 trip to Uganda. They just can’t get rid of me! Next month actually marks my 7th year of giving each month to Mocha Club, and this summer will celebrate 6 years of working for the organization. So yeah, needless to say, I’m a fan of what we do.
Which brings me to this post and my most recent trip across the ocean. I was asked to go along on an assessment trip last month to visit all of our projects and check in on what’s happening on the ground with John, our new African Leadership President. It had been a couple of years since I was last over there, so I was stoked to get to spend time on my favorite continent.
While each trip brings new awareness, understanding, and appreciation for our projects and our partners, this time I walked away with such a clear grasp on the foundation of our work: investing deep. African Leadership (MC’s parent organization) has 2 primary areas of development: leadership and community. Mocha Club’s role is to fund the community piece: the amazing projects all across the continent. This trip, I also had the privilege of seeing the leadership development component in full force. Strong and courageous leaders traveling miles and sacrificing so much to gain knowledge and training to better impact their own families, churches, and communities.
We at Mocha Club believe that real, sustainable solutions happen when the community is identifying both the need and the response, when projects are locally developed and operated. And this is only possible when the leaders have been educated and empowered to truly implement the solutions. And oh how our partners impress me! They are using their training and skills and investing back into their communities. Each place we traveled, I was so encouraged by the impact of our projects, as I heard countless stories and testimonies of hope and pride in places where those words were foreign not so long ago…
Stories like Maron from Women at Risk in Ethiopia. If you’re familiar with this project, you know her life before this program was full of heartache and injustice. Yet, now she contains so much joy that she seriously giggles all of the time! Because we are investing in a program that provides full rehabilitation, investing in each woman so she receives rest, counseling, and support, girls like Maron have new hope for the future, to have a job of dignity and a life of respect.
Or stories like Irene, the founder of New Dawn School in Kenya. Irene entered a slum community where the average person lives on less than a $1 a day and has no opportunity for secondary education, and created a school where 160 students are getting a top-notch education. Because we are investing in a place that is not just a means to survival, but a beautiful, technology-rich, green, sustainable school that has become the pride of the community, hundreds of kids are getting the opportunity to go on to college, get jobs, and become productive members of society. They are breaking free from the cycle of poverty that has plagued this community for generations.
And there are countless more stories like Maron and Irene in each of our project areas all over Africa. Stories of both those being deeply invested in and those giving their lives to deeply invest in others.
Isn’t it amazing that it doesn’t take deep pockets to make a deep investment? Just by giving up a few mochas each month, together we are doing this… yielding a wide impact across the entire continent.
Stay tuned, Mocha Club… there’s a lot more chapters in this story.
We can’t wait to share them with you…