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Friday, May 20, 2011

A Thousand Sisters

Last night was the end of a very long week for me.  I was one of three co-chairs for the spring forum of the Auxiliary of the Assistance League of Salem. This is the largest fundraiser our organization does, and it has been in the planning stages for close to a year.

Wedding barely behind me, and then full steam ahead into the last details associated with the forum.  This year's speaker was Lisa Shannon, a Portland, OR native who while watching Oprah one day being ill at home, had a life changing experience and began her mission of helping  women of the Congo.

We learned of so many atrocities in the Congo. Hard to believe that in this day and age that these things still go on, and that there is so little publicity alerting us. It had me thinking, and still this morning, I'm thinking hard. Why do we feel so little for so many people who are suffering? Are we a self absorbed selfish group? Have we become so comfortable in our indulgent life styles that we can't look beyond it to see what happens in other parts of the world? Or are the thoughts of what happens there just too hard, and beyond our comfort zone?  I don't have any more answers today, then I did after reading Lisa's book, A Thousand Sisters.

I do know I feel good about where the money from last night's event is going.  Salem/Keizer school children will receive backpacks and school supplies throughout the school year. Teens being fazed out of the state foster care program will receive assistance from our group to set them up in their first independent living situation, even given a bike to help with transportation. I know that families struggling in homeless shelters will be given a kit to make a birthday party complete with cake, napkins, and gifts for their children. These are the reasons I continue with my membership in the Auxiliary.  Many times during the year I have felt overwhelmed by "things" and circumstances. If not for the other women I work with volunteering, I may have thrown in the towel. 

The women of the Congo have a horrible life. Not sure what I can do about it, but I will continue thinking of them, and for now, try to find that feel good feeling for the good that is coming from the unfortunate circumstances in the Congo.  It falls under the category, that from everything that happens something good comes from it.  If you wait long enough, something good always happens.

Thanks to Lisa, and her shocking story of the women in the Congo.  You have helped many many youth's in the Salem/Keizer area.

Lisa Shannon, on day 5 of her hunger strike for Women of the Congo

Lisa and her mom with Jill from Maps Credit Union our forum sponsor

This young woman is doing a thesis on the Congo, and was excited to visit with Lisa one on one

This photo is on the cover of Lisa's book A Thousand Sisters

boys are recruited at a young age to be in the militia

This was the first woman that Lisa sponsored

Even with the tragedies in their lives, they still find ways to celebrate what is good.  A nice lesson for all of us

Lisa signing books at the end of the lecture. Such a inspiring evening.

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