November 10, 2012 I Am Just One

When I went to Uganda in June, it was a dream come true. I have always wanted to go to Africa – to see first hand all that I have read about for years. I saw and learned so much. When I came home I kept wondering what I could do to help on an ongoing basis. The thought that I had packed up and came home – but that the people I had met who were struggling in disease, poverty and hard times were still there struggling… it just didn’t sit well. What could I do to help?

If you’ve been following my blog you may know some of this story… but I’ll share anyhow.

Back in 2011 I started to pray that God would use my camera to offer hope and do more. To make a difference.

In December 2011, while photographing at the Ronald McDonald House I met Meera. I fell in love and asked if I could photograph her once a month. And you’ve all seen how that has gone – the world has fallen in love with this little monkey as we’ve journeyed with her through the good and bad.

A friend notified me about a photo contest by Watoto to win a trip to Uganda alongside some National Post photographers who would be mentoring us. I figured there was no way that I’d win – but I entered an image of Meera, and an image from an orphanage in El Salvador I was at in January 2012. I was shocked to win – and to be off to Uganda in June. The photographers from the Post shared that it was that image of Meera that really tugged their hearts and let me win. Again I saw how my prayer to use my camera was being answered.

I went to Uganda… and when I came home I wore the necklace I bought there as a souvenier. Everywhere I went people asked me where they could get one – and so I put on my website asking if anyone else would like to purchase one with funds going back to Living Hope. In two weeks we sold over 200 necklaces!

And then the waiting list started as more and more people wanted necklaces.

And I saw again this little prayer being answered.

On November 1, my good friend Sarah and I launched “JustOne” – world changing fashion. The idea is I am just one person… but I can make a difference. We sell the handmade items from women around the world, and help support them long term. It is also about raising advocates for women across the globe.

And now today, November 10, the next crazy, unbelievable part of our journey is here. Sarah and I are leaving tonight to go back to Uganda. And then to Kenya. And lastly to South Africa. We are going to make connections for JustOne, to purchase new items, and to document the needs and how they are being met by the organizations we support.

If one year ago you would have told me that I would have a new group of people (Meera’s family) that are now a part of my family, and that I would have traveled to Africa twice… I would have thought you were insane. God has a good sense of humour.

We will be blogging as internet allows on our JustOne blog. Please check it out!

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