My mother use to say ‘Show me your friends and I’ll show you the future.’ I have made a tremendous effort to surround myself with genuine, loving, optimistic and driven people. I truly believe your success will be in direct proportion with the company you keep… good generates good.
In my “Friend’s of Brielle” category, I want to feature the inspirational people in my life. In the last post, Dom Venneri (instagram.com/domvenneri) shared his travel secrets – he has been to some of the most amazing places and spent time with pretty incredible folks. He inspires me to break out of my slightly neurotic planning mold and just be creative and free.
For this post, I am thrilled to share the story of Rosemary Gibbons, a woman that literally left her whole life behind for a much bigger purpose. Enjoy!
My Story of WE ARE ONE
by: Rosemary Gibbons
When I was young growing up in the Midwest, I would see pictures of children in Africa. My heart was touched and I wished that I could help them somehow. Many years later I had the opportunity to visit a remote African country, one of the poorest in the world. I traveled to Malawi and saw first-hand the needs of children there.
While visiting a college in Malawi, I was invited to teach a course on Leadership. There was a need because Malawi had been under Colonialism and then a dictatorship for many years. I had been facilitating workshops on Leadership Development and Team Building in the states, so my experiences fit the need there. During my stay in Malawi, I saw that people had been oppressed and living in fear of taking initiative and responsibility. The country needed strong leaders with the courage to stand up for what is right and they had to be taught; thus education was a priority. I also discovered what I already knew in my heart: that we are all a part of the human race and that there is a oneness that connects us.
In 1998, I sold my house, car and most of my belongings to move to a college campus in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi. The joy of teaching those so eager to learn was beyond words. My joy heightened when I met a Malawian man who shared my desire to train up effective leaders who could take responsibility to make the country a better place. We were married in 2000 and set about teaching and training, with the knowledge of “we are one” in our hearts.
We also founded a nonprofit 501c3 which could enable friends in America to donate and help with our cause. We named it WE ARE ONE. Many have contributed thousands of dollars through the years which has created an opportunity for those who were living in vulnerable and poverty stricken conditions. The connection of people who give and those who receive creates a connection of oneness.
In 2002, a famine plus the Aids pandemic devastated Malawi and nearly an entire generation was lost. Their children were left stranded without care or grandmothers trying to provide for them. We felt led to adopt 12 boys who could be future leaders. These are now in high school and college. We also created a scholarship program and tutoring project which have assisted many to acquire a much needed education.
It has not always been easy, as I have encountered near death experiences through ill-health and robbery, setbacks, disappointments, and sadness. However, after serving for 18 years in Malawi, I can say that it has been worth it to experience positive results and to learn over and over that we are truly ONE.
Please visit our website and learn more: www.weareonemalawi.org
We Are One Malawi Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/weareoneMalawi/