I love the concept of “Every Day Heroes.” I know this topic has been done more than once but these heroes are the people of the world no one knows. They don’t do amazing philanthopic things for the recognition they do it because they believe in what they are accomplishing and have a passion for giving. They are filling the space that is not always filled by the not-for-profit sector. My next guest has changed the way I think about giving. Just when I feel I am doing some “good” in the world I meet someone that amazes and inspires so much I want to keep giving everyday for the rest of my life because of them. Meet my new friend Chelsea Peters.
I met Chelsea through a friend of a friend. You know that 6 degrees of separation concept? That is how Chelsea and I met. I feel like we have always been just 6 steps away from each other and finally we both turned at the same time and we bumped into each other. Chelsea is doing something I have dreamed of for most of my adult life. She is opening an orphanage in Uganda for street kids. She and her partner Morris are not millionaires. She does not
have extensive knowledge on how to go about opening an orphanage, starting a not for profit nor do they have any children of their own. But they care for these forgotten children on the street. They understand their needs and want to help them with a passion so deep in their hearts it is driving them to do what they need to do to make it happen. Chelsea writes about a generous donation she recently received from an 8 year old girl from Colorado. My give is not only sharing Chelsea and Morris’s story but matching the donation of an 8 year old. If she can find $100 in her life savings so can I. They need just $6500.00 to get the orphanage up and running. How will you help Chelsea? How will you help the street kids that have been abandon in the streets of Lira. Even $10 will help. Read the story and hit that donation button. Help Chelsea and Morris bring their dream alive.
Day 209: Give 209 Guest Chelsea Peters
In February I was in Lira, Uganda visiting my partner Morris. I found a little street boy named Junior, who is 8 years old. He had wandered by earlier when Morris and I were sharing food with the other street children. Junior began playing silently with his broken toy car. Each time we peaked out to check on him, there he was playing in his imaginary world. I hoped that world was a better place than his reality. This car was the only possession he had in the world and it had been broken by the local police (they treat the children of the street a bit like rats.) He had painstakingly worked to repair it. He wanted to give me his car to take home and fix. I wanted to get him a new one. When I told him that he smiled sweetly up at me and showed me that all he really wanted was to hold my hand. I think what he really wanted was to come home with me. I sat in the dirt with him in a white dress as dust whirled around and passersbys stared at the ‘muzungu’ (foreigner) and the street kid. I had nothing to give of mine but my old blue hair tie.
Junior needed so much more than a hair elastic. Yet at the same time the simple hair elastic was exactly what he needed. It represented a bond between us that nobody can take away from him. Two months later I am back in Vancouver and my partner Morris (still in Lira) still feeds him everyday. He still wears the blue hair elastic on his wrist.
Morris and I have made a promise to fight for Junior and the more than 100 homeless street kids in Lira like him. That promise is Atin Afrika Foundation and the residential shelter that we are creating for the street kids of Lira.
The other 8 year old in this story is a little girl named Brynn who lives in Colorado. She has never been to Africa and she has never met me. Her mom Hillary and I worked together on animal rescue projects in Mexico and that is how Brynn came to hear my story, the story of Junior and Atin Afrika Foundation.
I received an email from Hillary recently. This is what is said. “Brynn and I hit some thrift stores today to get the goods for her crafty ideas. While we were driving I told her about the fundraising you’re doing. I told her how Morris has been bringing Junior food, got him a jacket, all about the rainy season and the kids having to sleep on the streets in the cold. Brynn was silent for about 30 seconds and I wondered whether she’d heard anything I said.”
After some thought these were the words that came from an 8 year old’s mouth “Mom, send Chelsea $100 from my bank account.” Her mother was stunned. She’s 8. She has $400 and wants to send 1/4 of her life savings to me because she believes in what I am doing. She knew that I will do far more than the value of $100 worth of good with it.
The email continues from Brynn’s Mom, ” She’s been like this since the very beginning. Thanks for inspiring her!”
Giving is a chain reaction that happens when people are inspired to act. In my case it began with a blue piece of rubber. A hair elastic changed my life. I realize that this sounds preposterous, but truly a hair elastic changed my life.
A little girl from Colorado named Brynn humbled me and my email back to her mother was short, “ Please tell Brynn that its kids like her who inspire us all to act and think beyond ourselves because if an 8 year old can how is it possible that we grown-ups do not?”
Maybe we can’t change the world, but we can change the lives of these street children. Children are our future and despite all the cynicism and scepticism, knowing that there are kids like Brynn and Junior out there, makes me believe there’s hope.
Chelsea Peters took a trip with friends brought her to Lira and after meeting the street children, spending time with them and hearing their stories she made a promise to herself to do everything in her power to give them two things missing in their lives; hope and love. She is in the planning process of starting the Atin Afrika Foundation with her partner Morris Owiny.
Time Commitment: Chelsea is making a lifetime commitment
Cost: 365give is matching the $100 donation made by Brynn