You might forgive me, however, if I wasn’t in the mood to be happy.
And yet, I have left every conversation with our project teams with renewed vigor to keep up the fight and…well, yeah, be happy.
For example, early Friday morning I was on a call with Ntakamaze Nziyonvira, our East Africa project director.
I chatted with Ntakamaze while he was in Goma, Congo, for some personal time. If you know anything about the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo you might ask yourself, why go there for personal time?! And why now?!
You see, Ntakamaze was born in the DRC. When he was a child he was forced to flee to Uganda as a refugee. After later completing his studies at the University of Rochester in NY, he returned to East Africa to run our partner NGO, CIYOTA. He now helps more than 1,500 refugees go to school every year.
So, why return to the DRC, a place he was forced to run from? Well, surrounded by a small group of family and friends, Ntakamaze and his wife Vanessa were married there last week.
It could have been easy to meditate on the pain of funding losses and hard conversations, but this weekend I kept returning to the strength and joy of the brave people on the front lines of this fight against forced labor, environmental destruction, and COVID-19. And I have the utmost honor to call these amazing people friends and colleagues.
I am proud to stand with them. I am proud to continue to the fight with them. I am proud to share the moments of happiness with them.
So, today I have a simple ask: can you please join me in congratulating Ntakamaze and Vanessa? Email us ([email protected]) back with words of encouragment and we’ll be sure to send them on to the newlyweds.
And — if you want — take a moment to smile on all that gives you joy. It might come from the most unexpected source.