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The Road to Ambassadorship

I have it all. I am a healthy wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher striving to live as a Christian. I have a furbished, modest home on the edge of suburbia and a career in healthcare which takes me downtown five days a week by way of a modest car. I have a walk-in closet packed with clothes and shoes for all seasons including six pairs of black heels.

Yet, my restless spirit is estranged from the happiness that surrounds me. I smile outwardly in spite of the unrest which haunts my inner core and robs me of contentment.

My journey began my senior year in high school when my career aspiration listed in the yearbook was to become a U.S. Ambassador. College graduates did not exist in my family lineage. But with my stubborn mind and perseverance, I was undaunted by the challenge that lay before me. Three years later, I was pregnant and unmarried. My personal goals were suspended and my attention refocused on my new priority, a beautiful son.

I returned to the University of Louisville to finish the degree I had started some eighteen years earlier. In my studies, I came across the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which prompted me to sign up for an International Student Learning Program. I worked with the University’s Communication department to establish a public speaking program at Bokamoso Secondary School in Botswana, Africa. During this trip, a buried flame was re-ignited and an awakening began.

An Oprah interview introduced me to Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of “Half the Sky”. The reading of “Half the Sky” led me to both a revelation and a genesis. There was a revelation of unbelievable oppression and inhumane atrocities that women face every single day. The book prompted my deliberate career transition into a largely unknown world which beckoned my spirit. But the transition seemed, and still seems, almost impossible. Can I find a means to marry my love for writing with a cause so worthy and really make a difference in someone’s life?

The end of “Half the Sky” provided tangible ideas that anyone could realize to address the oppression of women. I immediately joined kiva.org and began my first microfinance loan. My family received Kiva gift cards for Christmas last year and I now have five loans which are repaid or still active.

Subsequently, I joined www.worldpulse.com because the organization promotes an assortment of causes which permits me to help in varied degrees. The opportunity to be a part of “Voices of the Future” was one more tug at my spirit, another step in realizing my passion. I believe I have come full circle and am on the road to becoming the U.S. Ambassador of my teenage aspirations, not in the traditional sense but in a new, fresh and innovative sense.

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dbunton's picture

"Ambassador" Kimmy D

"Ambassador" Kimmy D,

First and foremost, congratulations on earning your degree. Your determination and commitment is admirable!
We are all Ambassadors on this journey to liberate women worldwide by role-modeling, and leading by example. Such examples are apparent in our stories here on World Pulse.

As a man, I can attest that "anyone could realize to address the oppression of women". I have become informed and encouraged at the same time. Your work at the University of Louisville to establish a public speaking program at Bokamoso in Botswana, is inspiring to me to advance an IT and citizen journalism program my organization is implementing in the DRC and Kenya.

Good luck on the rest of your journey, and your quest in "mentoring" -current and future VOF participants- through sharing your stories and ambitions.

Darren Bunton

Kimmy D's picture

Thank you

"Ambassador" Bunton,

Thank you for your support and encouragement. I wish you success with your programs in DRC and Kenya. The children in Botswana were so inspiring. They were economically challenged but happier than the children in my son's school in the U.S. They are proud to be who and where they are and loved to sing about their country. I would love to hear what about what is on the minds of the students in Kenya.

RosemaryC's picture

The power of a small idea

Dear Kimmy:

I love this idea of reprofiling ambassadorship as you have done here – that is so powerful, the idea that we can all be ambassadors in our world, sharing what we have and know with others.

I remember reading the story of how Kiva started. Jessica Flannery was working in microfinance in East Africa when her husband Matt, a computer programmer, came to visit. They were so struck by the stories of the people with whom Jessica was working, and how each needed just a small amount of money to change their lives and that of their families. One woman, for example, just needed money for a bus ticket so she could buy fish wholesale at the lake from the fishermen, rather than from distributors in town – but no one had a program to give her a bus ticket (until Kiva). Jessica and Matt were so convinced that if other people heard these stories, they would want to share. They started a small website with a few stories, and shared it with all the people who had come to their wedding – and the loans were fully subscribed in one weekend. Kiva.org has grown exponentially ever since, and so many lives have been changed around the world as a result of these connections. I hope you will read the story of how Matt and Jessica started Kiva.org as I am sure it will inspire you in your own quest.

There is a tremendous power in a small idea, pursued tenaciously, and so many people in North America are reaching out and making these kind of personal connections across the globe. (Actually, they contribute far more money than the US gives in foreign aid, which often surprises people). I read about so many examples of people who start to work with just one person from another country, and it grows into an entire program that influences thousands of people. But the key is that they start with just one small thing. Not all of us can start such activities but we can all support the ones that others have started, as you have been doing.

As well as being a teacher, it is clear - as Darren says, that you are already an ambassador – well done! With the determination and strength you have shown in completing your degree and linking with Botswana and now with the rest of the world, you can do anything you want to do. Bravo!

Kindest regards,
Rosemary

Kimmy D's picture

Thank you

Rosemary,
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I am so glad that you shared the story about Kiva's start up. That's amazing and I will definitely read about it. Such a simple idea that has reached the lives of so many.

Deewai's picture

wonderful :)

wonderful :)

meena-megha's picture

inspiring

your writing and your story that speaks of the power of reinventing yourself based on circumstances and opportunities that come by is truly inspiring.

elizabech's picture

Keep going!

So excited that you went back and finished your schooling! My mother also went back to school in her 40's and she became a social worker who does amazing things for kids in the system......you will do amazing things for people all over the globe!

Never lose this passion! Keep going and take every opportunity!

Liz

YAOtieno's picture

I need to read this book

Kimmy,

Thanks for sharing your story, It made me want to read :Half the Sky"...By Nick Kistof,

I must also say thank you to Rosemary for sharing Kivas story. It is very inspirational

Cheers,

Y

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