Friday, June 19, 2015

This Blog is Moving!

Friends! For any of you who follow this blog, I've officially moved the content over to The new site now hosts all of the current blog posts on this site, and will also host all future posts moving forward. As I transition to my new position as the Director of the Social Work Program/Assistant Professor at Trevecca University and leave the Mozambique Initiative, I'm upgrading my website! You can subscribe to my new blog by clicking here.

Learn more about this transition on my latest blog post called Harrowing.

Thanks so much for following!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Margins

On Saturday I woke at 6am, wedged myself into a packed 4-wheel drive vehicle, and proceeded to travel to a village called Cuamba located in the Niassa District of Mozambique. Cuamba is accessible via passages that I can only vaguely compare to "roads". A distance that might have taken us 4 hours in the USA took literally 10 hours on these muddy, safari paths. The rain continued to pour as we forged rivers and slid through mud for the entire day with the goal of reaching this village by nightfall. There was only one time that we had to be pulled from the mud with a chain and a good-Samaritan-like passing tractor, and I consider us extremely lucky. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Casting Visions, Lighting Fires

I'm bad at details. I hate the excel sheets, the line items, the itty bitty teeny weeny to dos, the nuts, the bolts...the details. I can do this stuff if I have to, and I often do, but I loathe this type of work and I quickly get bored. Now, I have tremendous respect for folks who are gifted in this area and I could not function without these people in my life, but I'm just not that person.

Despite these flaws, as it turns out, I do have a few strengths. And one such strength lies in being a big picture person. I am a dreamer of dreams and I can almost literally see them coming to life in my mind's eye. I see visions, and I know how to talk about them in such a way as to get people excited and interested, passionate and engaged. I'm a hopeless optimist and an endless believer in the human capacity for love, change, and growth. How I actually take the tiny steps to live out these awesome visions that I cast is often inconsequential to me in the moment, but I believe in them so much that it almost doesn't matter. Silly, I know, but true.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 American Habits I've Changed Since Working in Mozambique

I've been in my position as the Associate Director of the Mozambique Initiative for just over three years now, and I can't even begin to describe all of the ways that my experiences in Mozambique have changed my life. As I contemplate the new year ahead and attempt to incorporate the lessons I've learned during this time, here are 5 key habits that are significantly changing in my life since taking this job:
  1. Obsessing About Time: Am I going to be on time? How long will this last? When can I move on to the next thing? Is there time to do this if I do that first? Are we running over time? Being so time conscious is a luxury; it's a luxury to have reliable vehicles, and gas stations on every corner...not to mention watches. My desire to control time is fostered by these luxuries that allow it. And with all of these luxuries, I gradually started convincing myself that it was through my fingers that the sands of time fell. Not that we should be flippant about getting to work or school or important meetings, but how we orient ourselves around a clock is purely an expression of American excess and our desire for control. The sting comes when I realize the implications of this habit - that I move on to the next thing in my head and in my heart before even taking in where it is that I am standing, or who it is that I am standing with. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, we are gone before we even arrive. What are the long term ramifications of this on our psyches? On our spiritual lives? Life is short. All we have is this moment. Mozambicans realize this in a  way that is humbling, sobering even. I'm reminded again and again to just. be. here. now. The next thing will inevitably come. No need to rush.