Help us build the project Select: Angel of Mercy USA in Cameroon

Monique, her sister along with life-long friends are embarking on a life changing journey together… A very intentional fulfilling of lifelong dreams to make a difference in the lives of orphans. They each have different motivations, dreams and inspirations, but with one goal, to make a difference in the life of an orphan.

Monique tells her unique story: It was on my heart to do something for children since 2007.  While attending a women’s conference at Hillsong in Sydney, Australia, I saw a presentation by Watoto Children’s Project in Uganda, which recreates a home environment by pairing widows and orphans.  

Busy, like we all are, I put the idea of volunteering somewhere on the back burner.  By day, I am a Commodity Derivative Salesperson for an Investment Bank, and I have a lot of hobbies.  I take weekly French and Tenor Saxophone lessons, biweekly Pilates lessons and am training for my 2nd half-marathon in August.  In January, I joined the Board of a Houston based non-profit.  Busy.  So, the catalyst for why I decided to find a project now, was the innocent words of one of my nephews, Victor age 8, this past Christmas day, December 2010.

In my family tradition, each person present shares some of the notable things and blessings that they experienced that year, and perhaps those things for which they are grateful, before we open gifts. Victor said that he was thankful for his parents and family, and for having a house to live in because some kids do not have either and are homeless and that he felt really badly for those kids and that he prayed for them.  The earnest truth of words touched me and I began to cry.  I thought, I have to do something about that and I have to do it now.  I started my search to find the right organization and right project to support when I returned home from that holiday.  

After a considerable amount of research, I found 200 Orphanages Worldwide and was inspired by their amazing work around the globe serving orphans.  The opportunity in Bamenda, Cameroon, as presented by Angel of Mercy, suited my desire to be part of a project from its inception.  The Bamenda Project also gives my sister Christina, a LEED certified architect, a chance to realize one of her childhood dreams: to design an orphanage.  It is an honor to be able to work with people who truly embody Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.  We all have limited resources in terms of time and money, but we can all do something.  That which we do, is our legacy.  

There is a story about a child and a starfish that I heard once.  If you don’t know it, it goes like this:

 An adult found a child on a beach throwing starfish back into that water on a beach where hundreds had washed up to high during the tide. The grown-up asked the child what they were doing. The child replied that they were racing to throw them back in the water, so they wouldn’t die. The adult said that it was a waste of time because there were too many starfish out there, so they would never be able to save them all. And the child replied, well, at least I’ll save this one.  Like the child in the starfish story, we can each do something, and maybe save one.  Each orphan we will house, is a starfish to me.  

Learn about Christina and Danielle  in our next few blogs. JH