There are so many platitudes or maybe they are idioms regarding "one step at a time" or "one bite at a time". Yet after 20 years I find truth in them. I never would have thought that I would have helped build the #1 school in Sierra Leone that educates over 700 children or created an international psychosocial FGA program that changes peoples lives or helped build the capacity of many organizations that have touched so many more people, except, I just didn't stop taking the next step or the next bite. So 20 years later, LemonAid Fund gave out 20 plaques of appreciation and 20 certificates to our first group of National Trainers of FGA and my heart was singing. So many shared stories around the room. So much satisfaction of what we had been led to do together. There was Fody who, at first, couldn't articulate his gratitude for the years of scholarship support he received from LemonAid Fund and the emotional support he got from Francess along the many years since he lost his parents in the war. There was Rugiatu (Nene), Christiana and Aminata. long supported by LemonAid Fund in their courageous stance to end the cutting of FGM, who slipped in late apologizing for the dust on their shoes as they had just come from the Bondo Bush (where only those who have been initiated/cut are allowed) to help stop FGM. There was the Secretariat of the Human Rights Commission listening eagerly to what LemonAid Fund had done to promote human rights over the years as he was new to his position. There was Mr. Scott the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning representative of the Non Governmental Organization community in Sierra Leone who said, "MoDEP needs to be handing out awards to organizations like yours". And the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children's Affairs stood up and not only launched LemonAid Fund's Vision One Million FGA but she went on to lift our other work with the ministry over the years including that the Ministry would get on board to end FGM!! And the stories go on as wide as the smiles in the room with no smile bigger than mine. "I did that!" with a GREAT deal of help from my FRIENDS and FAMILY and those committed to helping themselves and helping others who are asking for help. I am deeply appreciative of all of you who helped make this happen with me over all the years.
Dr. Nancy Peddle Founder of LemonAid Fund and Vicki Browne Liaison for LemonAid Fund, friends since 1972 and co-adventurers and passionate people supporting positive and lasting change globally, write about their experiences and invite others to share theirs along the way.