Still I rise

Today, the world lost an incredible voice.

Poet, author, dancer, singer, humanitarian and a source of strength and inspiration, Dr Maya Angelou, passed away.

As a child, I grew up hearing about this amazing woman with the ability to sting together words in such a way that moved a generation and set hearts and minds aflame. Then, one February, I was asked to recite Still I rise for a Black History Month assembly. I was terrified. I hated public speaking, still not a fan actually. Whenever I did it, my shyness forced my voice to be just above a whisper so the audience would always strain to hear.

But my teacher and parents decided that I was going to do this. Why me? I still don’t know, and to be honest I never bothered to ask.

My parents diligently worked with me each night, helping me memorize the lengthy poem. My teacher, a poet herself, taught me the intonation and played recording of Dr Angelou so I could understand the natural sass that seemed to ooze from her whenever she spoke.

Finally the night came. I could feel my stomach twist as my classmates gave their presentations. One by one they went, confident and sure. All too quickly, it was my turn.

I climbed the stage stairs and stood before the mic, still terrified. I started reciting from memory, sounding as scared as I looked.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

First line, done.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

My words became less about repeating what I’d memorized and more about expressing the ideas within the poem. On and on the lines flowed until the last stanza:

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

When the last ‘I rise’ left my lips, I felt powerful. Like the words alone had given me so much strength that I could say the poem all over again. Thankfully, it was time for the next person.

15 years later, that poem has stayed with me.

Thank you for your words Maya Angelou and thank you for overcoming all the odds and sharing your gifts with the world.

You are already missed.


Do you have $3, £3 or €3?

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200Dear Family, Friends and Subscribers,

This has been an exciting year of mission and learning with an adventure or two thrown in, and I couldn’t have experienced any of it without you. Through interviews and stories, I’ve met a struggling mother in Uganda who turned a hobby into a business. I watched a doctor mold the minds of her students to see their dying patients as people in need of care instead of breathing corpses. I’ve sat back in wonder at the way pigs can unite villages that, only six years ago, were scarred by massacres.

Through my time here at BMS, I have heard and told amazing stories and I need your help to continue. I know that for many, money is tight, which is why I am not asking for too much. Unfortunately, my family and I cannot cover the entire cost of me volunteering for another year, and I need some help.

You can help me continue this amazing work and telling these inspiring stories by doing two things:

Donating $3 £3 or €3 (or more if you are able)


Sharing my message with your friends

You’re probably wondering, ‘what good will $3 do?’ The answer is, ‘a lot more and $0.’ Every donation, big or small, gets me close to the $4,000 goal. Yes, it is a lot, but with your support, I know it’s possible.

Thank you for believing in me and what I’m doing and for going on this journey with me.

Yours truly,


Joseph Kony and the pigs of healing


Statues in a park on Michigan Ave, Chicago mirroring each other.
Statues in a park on Michigan Ave, Chicago mirroring each other.

Joseph Kony and the pigs of healing

In light of the terrifying news coming out of Nigeria this week, here is a story about healing.


In Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army terrorized the people until six years ago leaving the country in a state of fear and mistrust. Now, thanks to a pig rearing project, communities are coming together and old scars are slowly fading away.



Can you help?


VLUU L200  / Samsung L200 Can you help?

Dear Family, Friends and subscribers,

Thank you so much for following my journey from Chicago until now and traveling across the pond with me. After a few months of talks with Time for God (TFG) , BMS World Mission (my placement site), Young Adults with Global Mission and my family, my request to stay on for another year has been granted.

I fell in love with BMS, the family I have found here and this country, despite the rain. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to use my skills to serve wide range of people and tell their inspiring stories. (Interested in what I do? Check out the list of links under My BMS Articles!) I cannot put into words what this experience has meant to me and how thankful I am for the opportunity to continue giving, learning and sharing with the BMS family.

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Good ol’ York and Edinburgh the beautiful

Erin and I took a trip to York and Scotland for Easter. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and for Edinburgh that’s really saying something. Before we left for the short holiday, I was warned to pack for cold and rain. Thankfully we saw neither during out travels until we were heading back to King’s Cross Station.

Here are some of the wonderful sights and adventures we enjoyed!



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