In my company, our guiding philosophy is “Win the Day.” It applies to everything we do. My recent sabbatical gave the phrase new meaning. I spent a month in Kenya, working with Asante Africa Foundation to teach teachers and kids in the community called Wamba, a poor bush community of 25,000 people, most of whom live in huts out in the bush.
I saw so many beautiful sights, and met amazing, warm people who persevere past what we would believe to be roadblocks. The community is strong and the schools are supported by the tribe. The children are eager to learn. They listen intently and respectfully and appreciate everything they have. They work long hours on school work, tending the goats, and cleaning their own uniforms each day so they can go back to school the next.
The experience put many things in new perspective. The days of living on the dirt in tents in the bush or on the on the school grounds with no toilets, showers or running water reminded me not to take what I have for granted. Plumbing and running water are truly things I will never take for granted again! What does “Win the Day” mean to a family who has to constantly relocate to find food and water for themselves and their herd of goats?
Winning the day took on new meaning on a particular Monday during my trip. After meeting me and learning that there are actually women teachers, engineers and business owners in the world, the “Mamas” of the Shamburo tribe in Wamba brought 4 girls, ages 7-9, who had never attended school before. I was given the honor to enroll them in school and provide them with uniforms.
I realized that winning the day is really about showing someone new possibilities, and looking beyond yourself to what you can bring to community, your family, your company and those around you. What can each of us do to work a little harder, make our world a better place, give back to the community, and show respect for each other? Most importantly it’s about being so very grateful for what we have. I am grateful beyond words to have had the opportunity to see Asante Africa Foundation’s work in action, to make these connections and to learn so much about myself and our world.