Empowering Women: It Takes a Tribe

There is a mountain in Mexico I want to climb. I don’t mean in a “carabiners and ropes” kind of way, but in a “take a vehicle as far as you can and then walk the rest of the way” kind of sense. The goal? To help my friend Felisa Hilbert, one of my favorite examples of women empowering women, with the clinic she has established in a remote Mexican community that has no running water.

Felisa is a fellow Shot at Life champion. Although as Shot at Life champions, she and I have attended multiple conferences and trainings about helping children around the world have access to life-saving vaccines to prevent diseases like measles, pneumonia, polio, and infections that cause diarrhea, she has taken the next step: actually built a clinic from the ground up to help children in Tetzilquila, Veracruz, Mexico.

Empowering Women

The clinic is “up” a mountain but you have to walk “down” to get to it!

Empowering Women

Empowering Women Requires a Variety of Strengths

Felisa is the first person who came to mind when I learned of Heifer International’s new women’s empowerment initiative, which encourages us to think about four types of women in our lives: allies, entrepreneurs, artists, and den mothers. Read about her dedication to her clinic in this article (highlight below):

Hilbert has taken that philosophy to a rural community in Tex Tiquila, Mexico, where she is working to build a medical clinic. The community, made up of 40 families who speak Nahuatl, a native Aztec language, in place of Spanish, is completely isolated and lacks basic services, she said.

Although most people know Heifer International for their animal gifting program, they also do critical, impactful work to support and empower women. They believe that women have limitless potential, but limited opportunity and equip and empower marginalized women with resources and training as a means to sustainable livelihoods and community leadership positions.

Identifying Our Tribes

Heifer International developed a fun quiz to help us figure out our own tribe personas. Not surprisingly, I found out I am an “ally.” For Felisa, I would say she straddles two of the categories, “entrepreneur” (seriously, building a clinic on a remote Mexican mountain is not for the faint of heart or timid) and artist (check out the jewelry she makes then sells to support the clinic at the Jewelry for a Purpose Facebook page (pix of a few example below)).

Empowering Women

I’m also lucky to have great “den mothers” in my life. These are the people who don’t get sucked down by details BUT always seem capable of making sure no one gets left out and ensure there are snacks, drinks, and whatever other provisions we need at any get-together!

Honoring Felisa

Felisa, thank you for being you. Thank you for tirelessly supporting others. You inspire me to be better and today I am paying it forward to other women via a Heifer International Women’s Empowerment donation in your honor! This donation will fund a Heifer Women’s Self-Help Group that will teach women to read and write (empowering them to take control), give them livestock and training to increase their sense of self-reliance, and enable women to jointly better their communities through group savings and activities. SO INCREDIBLE.

Empowering Women

Celebrating the Sustainable Development Goals, especially HEALTH, with Felisa at the Social Good Summit in 2015.

Other Ways to Help Women Through Heifer International

To learn more about Heifer’s women’s empowerment efforts, check out heifer.org/joinhertribe. I would love all of my women readers to share about an incredible woman today!

There are several ways to be involved. While donations do, of course, rock, here are some additional social media actions you can take via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter between now and April 15 to be a part of this effort to amplify the #JoinHerTribe initiative and support women worldwide.

  • A photo of you + a woman who has inspired you (to grow your business, prioritize self-care, pursue creativity, help others, etc.)
  • A compilation graphic — 4 faces to fit the tribe roles of The Ally, The Den Mother, The Entrepreneur, and The Artist
  • A dedication to a mom or friend who has helped you through challenging parenting times
  • Public personalities you aren’t connected with personally but who inspire you to do great things (Oprah, Maya Angelou, etc.)
  • A video dedication to someone who inspired you to vlog

Who has made a difference by being part of your tribe? Give them a shout-out today!

Empowering Women

Eight Minutes of Attentiveness

I was issued a challenge this morning. In this blog post about Sensory Awareness and Storytelling, readers were encouraged to take two minutes every two hours to “stop and become aware of everything around you.” We were encouraged to come back at the end of the day and share our observations.

Why just comment when you can write a blog post?!

10 AM

What I see: The view out my window, past the (many) tabs open on my computer I am not doing anything about during this enforced period of awareness
What I hear: My favorite morning show, AMHQ, in the background; the tinnitus which fairly constantly creates static in my ear, house sounds
What I smell: I’ll spare the general public the details, but my house does not smell like a haven. Yuck
What I taste: The Powerade Zero I drank when I just completed my run
What I touch:: The nubby feel of the towel I am sitting on so the sweat from my run won’t further ruin our dining room chair

 

12 PM

What I see: The sight of myself in the mirror after just getting out of the shower
What I hear: Kellie Bartoli’s voice doing the noon news
What I smell: Nothing stands out
What I taste: The aftertaste of toothpaste
What I touch:: The lingering dampness of the shower, followed by another towel, this one to dry off with

 

2 PM

What I see: Green grass, sunshine, my car
What I hear: Birds, lawnmower sounds
What I smell: Grass, Nature
What I taste: The aftertaste of Diet Coke
What I touch: The warmth of the sunshine touching me

 

4 PM

What I see: My back yard
What I hear: Birds, crickets, bugs, lawn machines
What I smell: Outdoors smells
What I taste: Is “hungry” a taste?!
What I touch: The wind

 

Then Came Toastmasters

I discontinued the plan after the 4:00 break, because I had to be at Toastmasters at 6 and I couldn’t very well tell a whole meeting to put itself on hold for two minutes so I could commune with my senses BUT …
My responsibility at Toastmasters tonight was “word of the day.” It’s a bilingual club so I chose the word “sentido” (senses).
During “Table Topics,” which are two minute impromptu speeches, one of my fellow Toastmasters was given the prompt “talk about Mexico.” As it turns out, the Toastmaster is of Mexican descent and still has strong ties there. He started speaking: about the fact that the smells in Mexico are a bit of a mixed bag, about the sounds and textures, but most of all [insert long pregnant pause here] the pure pleasure of where his emotions go when he thinks about the tastes of Mexico. I think for two minutes all of us, even those of us who had never set foot in Mexico, felt something too.

 

Takeaways

Did this exercise put me in touch with parts of my world I had previously ignored? Kind of!

Every time the timer rang, at first I resented stopping my train of thought for TWO MINUTES. But the two minute periods did make me pay attention to:

How ingrained my habits have gotten; working at home, I get in a dining table/laptop rut

How desperately I want to get a handle on the general disorder of my home

How refreshing it is to go outside, even for two minutes. By 2 and 4 pm, I was making a beeline for the outdoors the second the timer went off

How accustomed I have gotten to telling my stories in pictures, as in “hey! look at my green grass.” That’s an entirely different thing than paying attention to my green grass and trying to hold its sensations in my mind’s eye

Something as small as thinking about the senses can send a group of eight people on a different two-minute trip: one where a little boy in Mexico eats a taco al pastor surrounded by the people he loves.

For that, I say operation sensory awareness led to an unqualified and utterly unexpected storytelling success!

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