Friday, October 19, 2012

#ONEMums - No Misery Trip

Michelle Pannell (Mummy from the Heart) has been back from Ethiopia for nearly a week. I could almost say that 'we' have been home for nearly a week. Last week I was with Michelle in spirit all the way. Here are the posts I wrote about her mission with International.

My #ONEMums (#ONEMoms) posts:
Where You Live Determines If You Live
Lend Us Your Voice
Living Proof

A Simple Idea - MaryJoy
FashionABLE - A Different Opportunity
The Biggest Problem You Never Heard OF
Dont' All Thunderclap At Once

I learnt so much from this mission. First I read Michelle's posts (and listened to her soundclouds) which you can also read (listen to) at Mummy from the Heart, then I followed her links to the websites of the organisations she visited. There were those who were expecting a misery trip. I can tell you that this was no misery trip. This is what I learnt last week.

1. You don't need to be rich to make a difference. International asks for your voice to give them the strength of numbers to carry out their work. Their work is to follow up on all the promises made by countries and other organisations to give foreign aid. To make sure the promises are kept. To make sure the money goes to worthwhile projects and not into the pockets of corruption. To monitor the projects for efficiency and effective results. We are talking about billions of dollars donated by people like us. ONE makes sure it isn't wasted. You can see it all here on the  Living Proof Website and you can add your voice by scrolling down this blog on the right to the ONE widget.

2. Ethiopia is a beautiful country with much to offer. It's no longer the country of severe famine that we watched on the news 15 years ago. Whilst there is still extreme poverty there is also a growing middle class, an increasing tourist industry and vastly improved social initiatives helping towards greater employment, education and healthcare for everyone. There is a long way to go but the progress so far shows a country filled with hope.

3. Helping people to help themselves and move beyond poverty is the best way to give lasting aid. The cooperatives (especially those started and run by women) are nothing short of inspirational. They take families out of poverty, empower them and allow them to educate the next generation. Some provide work and income for families in the villages while others are major businesses exporting e.g. fashion items, around the world.

4. Missions like the ONEMums and ONEMoms work. While Michelle and 11 other bloggers were reporting from Ethiopia and their Ground Support Teams (bloggers like me) were adding our own posts, sharing, tweeting and retweeting. The #ONEMums hashtag had over 6 million hits on twitter. That doesn't include fb and G+ activity. (I'm not sure if it included #ONEMoms or not). That's an enormous number of voices added to, most of whom had never heard of the organisation or what they do before last week. It's also an enormous number of people who have read about Ethiopia as a happening country, dispelling other more depressing images left over from harder times.

5. A meaningful trip can change your life. (Or: 5. Michelle Pannell is an exceptional woman. Probably both.) Michelle wrote in one of her posts, Down to Earth with a Bump, that the culture shock was in coming home (and realizing how much we have, a lot of it that we don't even need -  my words). She writes:
   "...just allow the processing to take place and slowly the information will fall into place and then dh and I can make some decisions about how we want our lives to change and we both know that we do.  Last year dh went to India on mission and that touched and changed him and now my Ethiopia journey has done the same for me, but we need to see how those changes translate to real everyday life."

6. Not everything has to succeed 100%. My thunderclap has rumbled off into the distance to quietly expire. I chose the smallest number of supporters (100) and the longest time available (14 days) but with only 3 days to go, we have only 26 supporters and a reach of over 40,000. I've let it go. Oh well, you win some you lose some. If any of you would like to cast a sympathy vote you can do so here but really, I'm over it. *sobs quietly* ;~)

7. One little photo can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you Michelle and all the ONEMums\ONEMoms. You did a terrific job and I am honoured to have been with you all the way.

Bottom right on the poster is me :~)

All photos are taken from the ONEMums Pinterest file.


  1. What a fabulous summary. I haven't done enough for #OneMums as of yet (note to self to sort that out).

    I know it is not the same but in 2004 I went to Japan for 16 days and remember feeling a HUGE culture shock when I got back.

    I thought it would wear off after 24-48 hours but it took 2 weeks :-0

    Liska xx

  2. I went to Russia in 1986 and i also suffered from reverse culture shock for about 10 days afterwards.

  3. Inspiring stuff! Visiting from the blog hop. X

  4. Thanks Applebypie. I was truly inspired by ONEMums.

  5. Glad I did my little bit sharing some of her posts ;-)

    1. That's the secret isn't it, a million people all doing a little adds up to one great enormous effort.

  6. Oh gosh, I have only just seen this. What a marvellous post. Thanks so much, mich x