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Posts Tagged ‘mobilize’

Photo by Kit Carson.

Her neighbors told her that she should leave her baby girl to die.

What was believed to be a severe reaction to a vaccine left her three-month-old child with little to no control of her extremities and frequent body tremors. Her firstborn could barely breast-feed and refused the inexpensive powder formula she had.

She prayed and prayed that God would send someone to correct her daughter’s physical problems, but no Cambodian doctor would commit to long-term oversight of her care. Ten months later, she had developed a system to slowly but surely breast-feed a child whose tongue seemed to have a mind of its own.

Photo by Courtney Cain.

Then a university student from America studying occupational therapy came to her home. The student was referred to her by her local pastor and a couple who operated an orphanage nearby. She started doing weekly exercises with her daughter to improve her mobility. Soon, she started to move her head from side to side and reach for her toys, something that was impossible before.

But that wasn’t enough. The Pediasure drink that she gave her was effective, but would cost three times the mother’s monthly pay. There were other hospitals she could go to, but the transportation and medical costs were too extensive.

A year later, she wasn’t producing enough milk for her baby and options were running out. She weighed less than a pound more than her birth weight. Thankfully one week, the couple said they were able to help arrange a hospital visit so she could have some long-term care. But with such corrupt practices in Cambodia, quality care was a long shot.

Photo by Kit Carson.

When the couple left that night, they paused outside. After a few minutes, they came back into the house because they said they had an urge to pray for her daughter again. The next morning, the baby woke up, saw the powder formula and reached for it, craving it and crying all at once. For the first time in her short yet painstaking life, she was drinking regularly. It was a miracle!

The hospital visit was arranged and the doctors were able to provide a specialized nipple that would be easier for her to feed from. They educated the mother on how to better care for her child. Doctors told her she will never fully recover from what the vaccine did, but she was on her way to living a functional, healthy life.

Photo by Laura Kebede.

Seven months later, she went from 2 lbs to 15 lbs and could focus her eyes on her mother, reach for her when she needed help and was much more aware of her surroundings. One mother’s faith and some help from a few people made the difference between life and death for one baby girl.

Follow the original story:

1. “The Baby”

2. “A Small Plea for Martha”

3. “An update about Martha”

4. “Praise to God for Martha’s recovery”

5. “So far in 2012”

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“Same, Same. But different.”

This phrase permeated the sea of tourist tee shirts surrounding me in Thailand.

“Same, same. But different” was a sarcastic comment, based on the street vendors who tried to sell ignorant tourists fake Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and other high-end designer bags, shoes, jewelry and clothes. They’d hold up a magazine cut-out of the original on the catwalk, alongside their fabulous – or not-so-fabulous – fake and say, “Same, same,” pointing back and forth between the two. And let’s be honest, if you ever heard stories about developing country street vendors, you knew the items probably different. Hence, the tee shirt’s phrase, “Same, same. But different” – with “Same, Same” on the front and “But different,” on the back.

Little did I know, this phrase would mean more to me than any of the fake – or real – designer goods that would ever be available to purchase.

Why?

Well, it’s all because one afternoon in 2006, I – a nineteen-year-old American girl doing tsunami relief work in Thailand – accidentally ordered a prostitute to my hotel room.

This is our volunteer team taking a short rest from construction work in Ban Nam Kem, Thailand.

I’m going to share the details of this story in a later post – how exactly this actually happened, how the situation unfolded, and the results of that simple mistake. But for now, I will say that what I got from the woman I apparently bought for one hour was a fully-clothed Thai massage – and an entirely new perspective on people. That is, that people are people everywhere; that although we’re different on the surface, at our core, we are the same – “Same, same. But different.”

So since then, I decided that through journalism, I would tell stories that showcase our similarities and achievements rather than our differences and failures. The latter already pervades the mainstream news media and in some ways, rightly so. But I believe there is a better, equally – if not more – viable alternative to communicate the world’s happenings and – who knows – maybe actually join with those already sparking and spreading positive change.

Based on my research, I have found there is both a void of – and a demand for – inspiring news stories. And I’m not simply talking about cheesy, feel-good, positive news, but rather, creative multimedia stories that convey the reality of human life in such a way that people are captivated and inspired, rather than disengaged and depressed.

These inspiring stories are ones that I want to tell. And what’s more, I want to make them actionable. Basically, this means that each story is coupled with several easy-to-execute action steps; tangible ways for the average person to act on their inspiration, right from their couch, kitchen, favorite coffee shop, city sidewalk or elevator at work. Whenever. Wherever. (I’ll get into the details of this more later, as well.)

So what’s happening with this idea right now? Well, I’m currently in my final semester in the graduate program at the Missouri School of Journalism, getting my master’s in “entrepreneurial journalism” – a focus-area that I sort of made up.

My friend Annabel from London took this photo of our friend Jeff who lives in Ban Nam Kem, Thailand. He is carving "Tsunami 2004" into a sand pile.

My goal? To start a communication organization that does what I’ve just described.

The goal of this blog? To share the heartbeat behind the vision.

From posting on other awesome things happening in the world, to linking to great multimedia stories and giving a behind-the-scenes peek at what it looks and feels like to be a 24-year-old entrepreneur with an ever-developing vision, an awesome team and tons of passion – we’re hoping this blog communicates what this organization is all about and adds an extra kick to your daily routine.

This will be fun.

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