From the Start Your Week with Steve Newsletter —
“They say that if you’re married to someone long enough, you eventually start to look like them. They say that about dog owners and their dogs, too, so I question colloquial wisdom.
“Although Carolyn and I don’t look alike, sometimes we find ourselves reading the same things — lately, it’s been about innovative people overcoming impossible odds in Africa.
“The person inspiring me is Zephaniah Phiri Maseko of Zimbabwe, who supported his family of eight on seven acres of dry, frequently draught-stricken land. Through observation, analysis, and a lot of hard work, Maseko has ‘harvested’ the rainfall available to him yearly and transformed his parcel into an oasis of abundance. You can read more of his story in Brad Lancaster’s Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.
“Carolyn’s superhero is William Kamkwamba, the only son of a Malawi sustenance farmer and one of a family of eight. Kamkwamba achieved international recognition as The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, building a working windmill from junkyard scraps, despite draught, lack of schooling, national starvation, and a cholera epidemic.
“Both Maseko and Kamkwamba were considered modern-day Noahs. Mocked and taunted by neighbors, they persevered despite being called crazy. Once they succeeded, however, they were called geniuses.
“Are you a modern-day Noah? Do you find yourself being talked about in a not necessarily positive way, because of your crazy ideas? It’s hard when you haven’t reached the success part, the part when you’re called a genius. But you keep at it, because you believe what you’re doing.
“Be encouraged by the stories of Mr. Maseko and Mr. Kamkwamba and know that you, too, have good work to do, and good ideas to share.”
“Yes, You Can.”
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The last “60 Minutes” I watched had a retrospect piece on the Lost Boys of Sudan. I watched with great interest hoping that the boys, now men, who came to America kicked ass, and for all their suffering are now living the good life. As it turned out, maybe not the good life, but at least a better life in most cases. My naive, optimistic, outlook gets crushed and stepped on more often than not, but then there are stories of Zephaniah and William that lift me up again and I know my optimism will stay intact. My husband and I are totally opposite when it comes to our outlooks on anything. He will always point out the worst, and I will always point out the good. We often finish each others sentences or say what the other is about to, but thankfully, haven’t begun looking like each other. LOL Something is working because we’ll be married 37 years on May 1st. We all have good work to do and good ideas to share. Most just have to take the first step and say yes, I can do that.
Margie — my son took a speech class that had as its textbook a book by one of the lost boys of Sudan. It is a fascinating story, and I would like to know how many of them have fared — just no TV, and after working all day, I’m in no mood for further online research..Your observations spur me into taking more direct action.
I am intrigued by the concept of the “good life,” which often, in our society, implies an abundance of money and a job that generates lots of income without necessarily performing any needed function (frequently I find myself asking, “What, specifically, does this person DO? And why does he get so much money to do it?”)
I notice that William is now in the United States, studying at Dartmouth, and my fervent prayer for him is that he maintain his sense of humility, and not fall into the trap of arrogance and self-seeking that pervades our particular society.There is much that he can do, but it will probably be a continuation of the way he started — doing it unusually, in the Noah-like way.That’s why he such an inspiration.
37 years! Congratulations. We celebrated 30 in December.
Yes, there is much good to do, and every single one of us has the opportunity to do the unique and specific tasks set before us. — Carolyn
Beautiful! Sometimes when we are with someone for so long we somehow create similarities whether physically , emotionally or mentally. I think the most special of them is sharing of the same heart that seeks to nurture each other in both the highs and lows of life.
So true, Island Traveler, and it is the beautiful fruit of a long relationship, much nurtured.