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The Traveling Cow


sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
She picked fruit so that her daughter could pick a major.

Gracella crossed the border from Jalisco, Mexico with her seven-month-old daughter 26 years ago. She worked arduously long days in the fields picking and planting the fruits and vegetables that you and I effortlessly place into our shopping carts in the produce aisle. Her exhausting efforts made it so that her daughter would have an easier life where she would spend her days learning in a classroom instead of a working in a field. That little girl has since graduated from Oregon University and is now the Admissions Coordinator at Oregon Tech.

We had a little bit of a language barrier, but my lack of Spanish couldn’t misinterpret the pride on her face as she proudly proclaimed she has a daughter who is a college graduate.

She picked fruit so that her daughter could pick a major.

Gracella crossed the border from Jalisco, Mexico with her seven-month-old daughter 26 years ago. She worked arduously long days in the fields picking and planting the fruits and vegetables that you and I effortlessly place into our shopping carts in the produce aisle. Her exhausting efforts made it so that her daughter would have an easier life where she would spend her days learning in a classroom instead of a working in a field. That little girl has since graduated from Oregon University and is now the Admissions Coordinator at Oregon Tech.

We had a little bit of a language barrier, but my lack of Spanish couldn’t misinterpret the pride on her face as she proudly proclaimed she has a daughter who is a college graduate.

I was thumping watermelons at the grocery store one day, when I spotted a sticker with “Walchli Farms” on the side of one of the melons. Later at home, I did a Google search for the farm, and found their phone number; a few phone calls later, I was given permission to come visit the farm. This past Saturday, I drove for four and a half hours from Seattle to Hermiston, Oregon to meet the family that produced the melons I was thumping.

My GPS guided me to a quaint little town which 17,111 people call home. When I arrived at the farm, I found my way to a giant warehouse filled from floor to ceiling with watermelons. I watched with fascination as several forklifts zipped passed me cradling enormous crates of freshly harvested melons. In the corner of the warehouse, I found Curtis working at his desk. He was on the phone so I waited patiently for him to wrap up his conversation then I introduced myself.
 Within minutes, Curtis and I were in the watermelon patch and he picked up a fresh melon and threw it on the ground. The melon burst open and he plucked out a juicy piece and handed it to me and said “you got to eat fresh watermelon from the field if you’re coming this far from Seattle.”

Skip Walchli started Walchli farms in 1960 on just a few acres of land. He decided to grow watermelons because Hermiston is one of the best places in the world to cultivate them due to its elevation, sandy well-drained soil, and the perfect mix of hot and cool temperatures. As Curtis and I navigated the watermelon patch, I learned that the watermelons I bought at the grocery store started out as seedlings, which were all planted by hand around mid-May. The rows of melon plants are nestled underneath a strip of wheat, which grows high above the melon plants as a shield to protect them from the wind. A seeded watermelon plant is placed between every five seedless plants so that the melons may be pollinated. Like humans, watermelons get sunburns too, so a sunscreen solution is mixed and applied to the delicate fruits as they ripen beneath the blistering sun. The first harvest is in July, and two more harvests yield late-blooming melons throughout the season. At Walchli farms, every melon is hand picked, hand pitched and hand packed. And the entire family is hands-on. Skip, the founder still works on the farm. He is a no-nonsense man of very little words, but his heart is as big as the melons that grow on his fields. Curtis is married to Judy, one of Skip’s three daughters. Curtis left behind the life of a rodeo cowboy to become a watermelon farmer and jokes that it’s easier because you only work half a day: 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. You get the other 12 hours off.

I used to be annoyed that I had to peel off stickers from my fruits and vegetables. Now I look at those stickers with a new appreciation, as one of them led me on an adventure to a charming town where I was fortunate enough to meet the farmers that grew the watermelons which I eat. What’s more significant than knowing where my food came from, is knowing that I have a new friend named Curtis in Hermiston, Oregon.

I was thumping watermelons at the grocery store one day, when I spotted a sticker with “Walchli Farms” on the side of one of the melons. Later at home, I did a Google search for the farm, and found their phone number; a few phone calls later, I was given permission to come visit the farm. This past Saturday, I drove for four and a half hours from Seattle to Hermiston, Oregon to meet the family that produced the melons I was thumping.

My GPS guided me to a quaint little town which 17,111 people call home. When I arrived at the farm, I found my way to a giant warehouse filled from floor to ceiling with watermelons. I watched with fascination as several forklifts zipped passed me cradling enormous crates of freshly harvested melons. In the corner of the warehouse, I found Curtis working at his desk. He was on the phone so I waited patiently for him to wrap up his conversation then I introduced myself.
Within minutes, Curtis and I were in the watermelon patch and he picked up a fresh melon and threw it on the ground. The melon burst open and he plucked out a juicy piece and handed it to me and said “you got to eat fresh watermelon from the field if you’re coming this far from Seattle.”

Skip Walchli started Walchli farms in 1960 on just a few acres of land. He decided to grow watermelons because Hermiston is one of the best places in the world to cultivate them due to its elevation, sandy well-drained soil, and the perfect mix of hot and cool temperatures. As Curtis and I navigated the watermelon patch, I learned that the watermelons I bought at the grocery store started out as seedlings, which were all planted by hand around mid-May. The rows of melon plants are nestled underneath a strip of wheat, which grows high above the melon plants as a shield to protect them from the wind. A seeded watermelon plant is placed between every five seedless plants so that the melons may be pollinated. Like humans, watermelons get sunburns too, so a sunscreen solution is mixed and applied to the delicate fruits as they ripen beneath the blistering sun. The first harvest is in July, and two more harvests yield late-blooming melons throughout the season. At Walchli farms, every melon is hand picked, hand pitched and hand packed. And the entire family is hands-on. Skip, the founder still works on the farm. He is a no-nonsense man of very little words, but his heart is as big as the melons that grow on his fields. Curtis is married to Judy, one of Skip’s three daughters. Curtis left behind the life of a rodeo cowboy to become a watermelon farmer and jokes that it’s easier because you only work half a day: 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. You get the other 12 hours off.

I used to be annoyed that I had to peel off stickers from my fruits and vegetables. Now I look at those stickers with a new appreciation, as one of them led me on an adventure to a charming town where I was fortunate enough to meet the farmers that grew the watermelons which I eat. What’s more significant than knowing where my food came from, is knowing that I have a new friend named Curtis in Hermiston, Oregon.

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I was playing with my niece on the dock when I fell and got a splinter wedged deep into my hand. When I got home, my hand was swollen and throbbing as I tried to remove the splinter, but I couldn’t get to it without cutting into my hand and causing further pain.  Instead, I cleaned it with soap, applied Neosporin and placed a Band-Aid over the cut.  For the next two weeks the area where the splinter was lodged would cause me great pain whenever it was touched, so  I continued to keep the cut clean and allowed my body time to push the splinter out by itself.


A few weeks later, as I was working at my desk, I looked down and noticed the splinter had surfaced; I could just simply lift it out. Within days, the infected area on my hand closed up and healed itself.


Tuesdays at two is the day and time I see my therapist each week.  Last Tuesday, we were talking about how I have been healing over the years from the pain and trauma of my childhood.  I then held up my hand and showed her the scar that was healing, and explained how the splinter that was lodged inside my hand for the last few weeks was like the pain and torment that was lodged inside my heart for the past 36 years. Like the wound on my hand, I helped the wound in my heart heal by removing all toxic things and people that were making the infection worse. The Band-Aid I placed over my heart was me choosing to stop echoing my father’s words that I was worthless.  I healed because I chose to take care of the wound in my heart as I did the wound on my hand.

I grew up in a house where criticism was spoken more often than praise; I embraced violence easier than I could endure a hug. I couldn’t and didn’t know how to initiate a hug with my mom until I graduated high school. I spent my adult years relearning many emotions I was taught to suppress as a child.
For almost half of my life, the only feeling I knew how to express was happiness hidden between a cheese and cracker layer of humor and sarcasm. I didn’t allow myself to cry at sad movies because I was told that tears showed weakness. I couldn’t utter the words “I love you” to someone whom I still love today because I didn’t think it was possible that another person could ever love me.
The word “love” by itself is easy for me to toss around. I use it to close emails with colleagues, friends and even strangers because “love, Tan” is a lot easier to type than “sincerely, Tan.” It is only when the word “I” and “You” are added to the beginning and end that the word “love” goes from being simple to complicated.
There are two moments in my life where I regretted not being able to say, “I love you.” The first moment was when I watched my mom walk to the elevator after she had visited with me. I stood at the front door wanting to run after her to hug her and tell her how much I love her, instead I closed the door and said “I’ll see her again tomorrow I’ll hug her and tell her then.” She died suddenly the next day.
The second moment was when the love of my life walked away from me. Instead of chasing after her that day, I turned and walked the opposite direction. I was too proud to turn around and too afraid that if I said, “I love you” to her, she wouldn’t say it back to me.
I love you came too late.

I grew up in a house where criticism was spoken more often than praise; I embraced violence easier than I could endure a hug. I couldn’t and didn’t know how to initiate a hug with my mom until I graduated high school. I spent my adult years relearning many emotions I was taught to suppress as a child.

For almost half of my life, the only feeling I knew how to express was happiness hidden between a cheese and cracker layer of humor and sarcasm. I didn’t allow myself to cry at sad movies because I was told that tears showed weakness. I couldn’t utter the words “I love you” to someone whom I still love today because I didn’t think it was possible that another person could ever love me.

The word “love” by itself is easy for me to toss around. I use it to close emails with colleagues, friends and even strangers because “love, Tan” is a lot easier to type than “sincerely, Tan.” It is only when the word “I” and “You” are added to the beginning and end that the word “love” goes from being simple to complicated.

There are two moments in my life where I regretted not being able to say, “I love you.” The first moment was when I watched my mom walk to the elevator after she had visited with me. I stood at the front door wanting to run after her to hug her and tell her how much I love her, instead I closed the door and said “I’ll see her again tomorrow I’ll hug her and tell her then.” She died suddenly the next day.

The second moment was when the love of my life walked away from me. Instead of chasing after her that day, I turned and walked the opposite direction. I was too proud to turn around and too afraid that if I said, “I love you” to her, she wouldn’t say it back to me.

I love you came too late.

Jokia and Mae Perm are best friends. Today, they live a tranquil and serene life at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. But before they arrived at the sanctuary, their lives were filled with hard labor and brutality inflicted upon them by their previous owners.
Mae Perm was the first elephant rescued by ENP back in 1992. She is over 90 years old and is revered as the grandmother of the pack due to her age and nurturing demeanor.
Jokia worked in an illegal logging camp. While she was pregnant, Jokia was forced to pull logs up a steep hill. She went into labor as she was working and her calf rolled down the hill. Her owners cruelly denied her the chance to even pause to see if her baby was dead or alive. After the incident, Jokia became very depressed and refused to work. Her handler used a slingshot to shoot her in the eye in a brutal attempt to get her to return to work. After she refused to budge Jokia was viciously stabbed in her other eye, permanently blinding her.
Elephants have their own cliques and are loyal to a certain herd. When Jokia arrived at the sanctuary, the herd had already been formed. Mae Perm left the group and walked over to Jokia and instinctively began to guide and protect her. The friendship was formed immediately and today the two of them do everything together. Although Jokia can feel vibrations with her trunk, Mae Perm acts as her eyes and guides her when they maneuver around the park.
A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. –Leo Buscaglia

Jokia and Mae Perm are best friends. Today, they live a tranquil and serene life at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. But before they arrived at the sanctuary, their lives were filled with hard labor and brutality inflicted upon them by their previous owners.

Mae Perm was the first elephant rescued by ENP back in 1992. She is over 90 years old and is revered as the grandmother of the pack due to her age and nurturing demeanor.

Jokia worked in an illegal logging camp. While she was pregnant, Jokia was forced to pull logs up a steep hill. She went into labor as she was working and her calf rolled down the hill. Her owners cruelly denied her the chance to even pause to see if her baby was dead or alive. After the incident, Jokia became very depressed and refused to work. Her handler used a slingshot to shoot her in the eye in a brutal attempt to get her to return to work. After she refused to budge Jokia was viciously stabbed in her other eye, permanently blinding her.

Elephants have their own cliques and are loyal to a certain herd. When Jokia arrived at the sanctuary, the herd had already been formed. Mae Perm left the group and walked over to Jokia and instinctively began to guide and protect her. The friendship was formed immediately and today the two of them do everything together. Although Jokia can feel vibrations with her trunk, Mae Perm acts as her eyes and guides her when they maneuver around the park.

A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. –Leo Buscaglia

Imagine on one of the happiest days of your life: you’re in the delivery room and the doctor hands you your new baby boy. Then she informs you that your baby has no arms and he will never walk, eat or even be able to live on his own without assistance.

Greg’s parents disregarded their doctor’s opinion when he was born, and raised their son just as they would any normal child. Today at the age of 37, Greg lives independently. He has graduated from college, leads a career in advertising, has a girlfriend, drives a car (Greg has a specialized car that has a steering mechanism installed down by the gas and break pedal allowing him to operate the vehicle all with his feet) and he even makes his own the coffee in the morning.

His entire life, Greg had to negotiate a world designed for people with hands and feet, but having only feet to function with. I was taken by his ability to use his feet in place of hands, and how he is able to reach and even hold things.  At home, I witnessed Greg doing his laundry, wash dishes, cook, and even style his hair. He has a stool that he uses to sit on which acts as a base when he transforms his legs into arms. He even has an iPhone on which he can text by either using his feet or by holding it with his neck and using his upper lip to type with.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, protects their rights and ensures they have equal opportunities as everyone else with regard to employment, education, transportation and all areas open to the general public. Greg is appreciative of the ADA because it helps him maintain his independence by simply requiring businesses with public restrooms to have a handicap stall. 

We take for granted that we are able to jump into a car or hop on an airplane and travel to any destination we desire; once there our basic needs are met. For Greg, traveling requires him to do lots of research and planning to ensure his special needs can be met.

When I interact with Greg, I hesitate to call him “disabled” because when you consider the fact that if Greg had arms, he too could do the same things you and I can do with our hands, but with our arms, can we do the same things he does with our feet? Sometimes life doesn’t give you the entire deck of cards to play with. Some people fold even before the bet is called but some, like Greg can bluff their way though the game of life even when short a few hands.

Imagine on one of the happiest days of your life: you’re in the delivery room and the doctor hands you your new baby boy. Then she informs you that your baby has no arms and he will never walk, eat or even be able to live on his own without assistance.

Greg’s parents disregarded their doctor’s opinion when he was born, and raised their son just as they would any normal child. Today at the age of 37, Greg lives independently. He has graduated from college, leads a career in advertising, has a girlfriend, drives a car (Greg has a specialized car that has a steering mechanism installed down by the gas and break pedal allowing him to operate the vehicle all with his feet) and he even makes his own the coffee in the morning.

His entire life, Greg had to negotiate a world designed for people with hands and feet, but having only feet to function with. I was taken by his ability to use his feet in place of hands, and how he is able to reach and even hold things. At home, I witnessed Greg doing his laundry, wash dishes, cook, and even style his hair. He has a stool that he uses to sit on which acts as a base when he transforms his legs into arms. He even has an iPhone on which he can text by either using his feet or by holding it with his neck and using his upper lip to type with.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, protects their rights and ensures they have equal opportunities as everyone else with regard to employment, education, transportation and all areas open to the general public. Greg is appreciative of the ADA because it helps him maintain his independence by simply requiring businesses with public restrooms to have a handicap stall.

We take for granted that we are able to jump into a car or hop on an airplane and travel to any destination we desire; once there our basic needs are met. For Greg, traveling requires him to do lots of research and planning to ensure his special needs can be met.

When I interact with Greg, I hesitate to call him “disabled” because when you consider the fact that if Greg had arms, he too could do the same things you and I can do with our hands, but with our arms, can we do the same things he does with our feet? Sometimes life doesn’t give you the entire deck of cards to play with. Some people fold even before the bet is called but some, like Greg can bluff their way though the game of life even when short a few hands.

Have you ever walked by a homeless person and wondered what their life was like before they ended up on the streets?
It was a rare scorching hot day in Seattle when I walked up to the ice cream shack at the pier. I had enough cash for one ice cream; she was sitting in the corner and I asked her what flavor she liked. “Caramel crunch” she answered.
I gave her my ice cream and she shared her life with me. This is Janet, and she was once a substitute teacher from New York. Her husband was a construction worker who moved the family to Seattle for work, but he died soon after they arrived. She has three children spread across the country; one lives close by in Port Angeles, Washington. She lives off of the money she gets from the state and relies on the local gospel mission for a bed at night.
When we look at a bird, we don’t realize what a remarkable engineer it is until we see its elaborately structured nest. When we look at a spider, we don’t recognize its extraordinary ability as a weaver until we see its intricate web. We can look at things as they appear, but until we can see what they are capable of, we will only see just a bird, just a spider and just another homeless woman.

Have you ever walked by a homeless person and wondered what their life was like before they ended up on the streets?

It was a rare scorching hot day in Seattle when I walked up to the ice cream shack at the pier. I had enough cash for one ice cream; she was sitting in the corner and I asked her what flavor she liked. “Caramel crunch” she answered.

I gave her my ice cream and she shared her life with me. This is Janet, and she was once a substitute teacher from New York. Her husband was a construction worker who moved the family to Seattle for work, but he died soon after they arrived. She has three children spread across the country; one lives close by in Port Angeles, Washington. She lives off of the money she gets from the state and relies on the local gospel mission for a bed at night.

When we look at a bird, we don’t realize what a remarkable engineer it is until we see its elaborately structured nest. When we look at a spider, we don’t recognize its extraordinary ability as a weaver until we see its intricate web. We can look at things as they appear, but until we can see what they are capable of, we will only see just a bird, just a spider and just another homeless woman.

On July 17th, we ran a story about a young lady named Kim Em. She was born with dwarfism and became quite ill at the age of ten where she lost the use of her arms and legs. Her father abandoned her, leaving only her mother struggling to care for the family.
On July 22nd, I was able to FaceTime with Kim Em when my aunties visited with her to bring the money I sent to Vietnam for her, and I learned that her condition had worsened:  she can’t breathe on her own now after the many seizures she has had in the last few months, and must be hooked up to a portable oxygen tank.  The tank is on temporary loan from the hospital, as the family can’t afford to buy one due the prohibitive cost of $1000 USD.
I woke up the next morning determined to help buy Kim Em her own oxygen tank.  I put up the first $500 and before my lunch break that day, I texted and called a few close friends and related the tragic predicament to them.  I pleaded with each of them to forego their daily coffee and asked if they could each send me $5 to help this precious little girl.  After work, I was stuck in traffic for two hours during which I made a few more phone calls while sitting in my car on the highway.  By the time I got home, I was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of my friends and family; from the few phone calls and texts I sent that morning and evening, we have raised over $2000 to help Kim Em! One of my good friends and colleagues whom I have worked with for over ten years even matched my donation dollar for dollar.
We have reached our goal of purchasing an oxygen tank for Kim Em, and the rest of the money raised will be donated to her family for the ongoing medical care that she will need.
Someone asked me why I was putting so much effort into helping this little girl, knowing that she may not have that much time left on this earth, and I answered that that’s exactly why I am determined to help her. Whatever time she has left here on earth, I want her to have a chance to benefit from the things that most of us take for granted, such as the ease of a breath or simply having food on the table at dinner time.
If you can forego your coffee for today, please consider sending $5 to help Kim Em. 100% of all donations will go directly to her family.  You may donate via Paypal at kathy.stenger.rover@gmail.com. Thank you.

On July 17th, we ran a story about a young lady named Kim Em. She was born with dwarfism and became quite ill at the age of ten where she lost the use of her arms and legs. Her father abandoned her, leaving only her mother struggling to care for the family.

On July 22nd, I was able to FaceTime with Kim Em when my aunties visited with her to bring the money I sent to Vietnam for her, and I learned that her condition had worsened: she can’t breathe on her own now after the many seizures she has had in the last few months, and must be hooked up to a portable oxygen tank. The tank is on temporary loan from the hospital, as the family can’t afford to buy one due the prohibitive cost of $1000 USD.

I woke up the next morning determined to help buy Kim Em her own oxygen tank. I put up the first $500 and before my lunch break that day, I texted and called a few close friends and related the tragic predicament to them. I pleaded with each of them to forego their daily coffee and asked if they could each send me $5 to help this precious little girl. After work, I was stuck in traffic for two hours during which I made a few more phone calls while sitting in my car on the highway. By the time I got home, I was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of my friends and family; from the few phone calls and texts I sent that morning and evening, we have raised over $2000 to help Kim Em! One of my good friends and colleagues whom I have worked with for over ten years even matched my donation dollar for dollar.

We have reached our goal of purchasing an oxygen tank for Kim Em, and the rest of the money raised will be donated to her family for the ongoing medical care that she will need.

Someone asked me why I was putting so much effort into helping this little girl, knowing that she may not have that much time left on this earth, and I answered that that’s exactly why I am determined to help her. Whatever time she has left here on earth, I want her to have a chance to benefit from the things that most of us take for granted, such as the ease of a breath or simply having food on the table at dinner time.

If you can forego your coffee for today, please consider sending $5 to help Kim Em. 100% of all donations will go directly to her family. You may donate via Paypal at kathy.stenger.rover@gmail.com. Thank you.

Whenever I have the day off, I like to ride my bike around Seattle and just explore the sites and people watch. I randomly walk up to people and start talking to them like we have been friends for years. Most of the time people respond with a smile and causal banter ensues. (And sometimes they’d show me a magic trick and give me candy.) On my ride yesterday, I noticed a lady with lustrous pink hair that appropriately matched her outfit. I nonchalantly rode up next to her and said “I love your hair.” I ended up talking to LaDonna and two of her friends for five minutes.
Meet the three belles from St. Louis. LaDonna (pretty in pink) and Rosy (in the black top) came out here with Sheila (in the white top) to attend Sheila’s Grandmother’s 100th birthday party. Shelia proudly told me that at the party, there would be 6 generations of her family in attendance. After allowing me to snap a picture I told them of some of the tourist places to see in Seattle and off they went.
Watching people, I noticed many of them were on their cell phones. I rode by a park bench and saw a mother and her 2 teenage children sitting side-by-side staring at their iphone. Are we becoming more isolated socially because social media had replaced the causal banter with the status update? While I like facebook, I love meeting people face to face even more.

Whenever I have the day off, I like to ride my bike around Seattle and just explore the sites and people watch. I randomly walk up to people and start talking to them like we have been friends for years. Most of the time people respond with a smile and causal banter ensues. (And sometimes they’d show me a magic trick and give me candy.) On my ride yesterday, I noticed a lady with lustrous pink hair that appropriately matched her outfit. I nonchalantly rode up next to her and said “I love your hair.” I ended up talking to LaDonna and two of her friends for five minutes.

Meet the three belles from St. Louis. LaDonna (pretty in pink) and Rosy (in the black top) came out here with Sheila (in the white top) to attend Sheila’s Grandmother’s 100th birthday party. Shelia proudly told me that at the party, there would be 6 generations of her family in attendance. After allowing me to snap a picture I told them of some of the tourist places to see in Seattle and off they went.

Watching people, I noticed many of them were on their cell phones. I rode by a park bench and saw a mother and her 2 teenage children sitting side-by-side staring at their iphone. Are we becoming more isolated socially because social media had replaced the causal banter with the status update? While I like facebook, I love meeting people face to face even more.

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Recently I had the chance to listen to John Quiñones, the host of the television show “What Would You Do?” give a commencement speech where he recalled a time when he was a correspondent for ABC News. He was working on an exclusive interview with the President of Colombia at the time, and an hour before the segment was to air, Quiñones had to call his boss, Peter Jennings back in New York to tell him that the interview was not happening. Quiñones was bracing himself for a scolding from Jennings, but instead he was reassured by these insightful words: “Don’t worry about talking to the movers and shakers; talk to the moved and shaken.”

While on a road trip in Vietnam, I was able to meet a very courageous and resilient young lady in the city of Ca Mau.

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My mom once told me about how I almost died as a baby because I had become very ill with a virus, and my parents couldn’t afford the antibiotics that the doctor said I needed. We were living with my dad’s family at the time because we were so poor, and when my mom came home with the news that I was in dire need of medicine that she couldn’t afford, no one in his family offered to help. The next day my mom took the only thing she had that was of value - her ring - and pawned it to buy the antibiotics that saved my life.

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