Hunger and Hope

I believe that our instinctive alliances, the folk we resonate with, are sent as  a signpost, pointing to our values, our needs and our longings. People come, people go. We love, we learn, we evolve and move on. We’re all travellers, after all. Only our souls, our real selves stay intact. Relationships, deep or casual, can result in disappointment or pain but some people were sent as teachers, bringing us lessons about ourselves; they were lines drawn by the universe to underline or point to the people, beliefs and actions that do matter.

Over the coming weeks, as I play around – and believe me, it is that intuitive and spontaneous – with the concepts of finding and expressing our voices as creative people, writers, bloggers, business builders and parents, I’m hoping to have a lot of open mike nights, charity coffee mornings and bring and buy sales in our wee café-bistro. I genuinely want this to become a café where people can sit silently, read and relax or chat and enjoy the company of others.

There’s so much information on the net; I’d like this to be somewhere that values wisdom, experience, synchronicity, instincts and spontaneous insights too.  I especially treasure the people who become regulars, whether they smile at me silently or fill the space with laughter, music and chat.

I read the following post  last week and decided to use it, right there and then, because of how it moved me; because I like the person who wrote it. We learn as much about ourselves from our spontaneous choices as we do from our deliberate self excavation.

I have been given permission to use this post in its entirety, as it first appeared. I know Randi from her comments at other blogs. She has helped and inspired many people, always happy to praise and support others in her comments. I enjoy commenting in other blogs too, and I like the ones where I’m made to feel welcome at their ‘kitchen tables’. For me, it’s part of the essence of the awesome potential that blogging has to shrink the world in a huge win/win hug. That’s why I resonated with Randi. When I learned more about her, I knew my instincts were sound.

Unite for Hunger and Hope ~  by Randi at  Foreign Quang


April 29, 2009, is the day of BlogCatalog’s Unite for Hunger and Hope. BlogCatalog hoped that as many bloggers as possible would post about the seriousness of the world hunger situation. At last count, 598 bloggers agreed to participate.

My sister, Kelli Solsma, President of Project Rehema [see picture] has made me acutely aware of the growing problem of world hunger. Kelli has traveled to Tanzania, Africa, on numerous occasions. She began traveling there as a member of a medical and educational ministry team. The doctors on the team would perform much-needed surgeries for the citizens of Tanzania, often in hospitals with dirt floors. Kelli’s special focus was on the orphans, most of whom had lost their parents due to the AIDS epidemic. She has worked tirelessly with the Tanzanian government in an attempt to open adoptions.Kelli

When the ministry that she supported could no longer focus as much on the orphans as Kelli would have liked, she simply began her own ministry. Her heart could not forget a special little girl. According to the Project Rehema website:

“Rehema was a beautiful, but small, frail, little girl who was first noticed by a group of missionaries at 3 separate orphanages in July of 2003. When asked why she was moved so often, the reply was, “Rehema is HIV positive, you know.” The perception that Rehema’s mere presence would spread HIV to others prevented her from being admitted to most orphanages. Rehema spent her last days at one of the few orphanages that do accept HIV positive children. She died on July 24, 2004. She was only 8 years old. Project Rehema is named in her honor.”

Since so many of Tanzania’s orphans have AIDS, the food shortage has become especially painful for Tanzanian children. The AIDS medication that is available to them, has to be taken with food. Many children do not get enough food to even be able to take their medicine. They die, hungry and sick. 1 in 9 Tanzanian children die before age five.

Kelli related to me an especially poignant conversation she had with a Tanzanian adult woman. When Kelli asked the woman how many meals she had a day, the woman replied “Two.” As shocked as Kelli was by that answer, she had the presence of mind to pursue it further. “And what do you eat for your meals?”

The answer was shocking. “The first meal we have tea. For the second meal, we share a piece of corn.” [On the cob–shared among four people.]

That answer alone should make us grateful for every mouthful we stuff into our faces and for every plateful we scrape into the garbage. Super-size me indeed.

If your heart is touched this Unite for Hunger and Hope Day, Project Rehema does accept donations. They are attempting to fix the “Donate” section of their website so please call Kelli directly using the numbers on the website.

For some real inspiration, watch Daughtry’s video, “What About Now?”


Where do you bestow yourself? Which are your most treasured alliances? What can you learn about yourself from the people who move you and bring out the best in you, the causes that call to you?


  1. Thank you Randi, for sharing this and for always being so willing to share your time and energy for the benefit of others. You write beautifully; showing not preaching. Please update us with any new donation links when you have them.

  2. Thanks for sharing this article Janice and to Randi for writing it in the first place.

    The causes that speak directly to me are campaigns against cruelty to children and cruelty to animals (particularly dogs). I donate regularly to the NSPCC as well as take part in their email campaigns.

    I also like to point people to ManyTears Animal Rescue and can only wish I was physically capable of doing more to help them.

  3. Thanks for the link, Marc. I’m glad you mentioned that you do email campaigns, too. It reminded me that just one click can make us feel we’re still contributing even on our darkest days. I had sidebar links on my other site to provide food and books just by clicking. I haven’t figured out how to do it in this one yet but I’ll have another go today. They had an animal one as well. You’ve inspired me to have another go. Cheers.

  4. Janice,
    Thank you so much for your efforts at sharing this message. Your campaign to allow others to express their voices has given a voice to these small children who would otherwise never be heard. Thank you for giving them their day and for allowing them to “speak.”

    Nice to see you here. I enjoy knowing a little bit more about your heart–and its kindness toward animals and children.

    Randi´s last blog post..How to be Frugal Without Being a Scrooge

  5. I would have to say my family, friends and clients bring out the best in me and also show me where I need to grow.

    My heart is will an organization called Wounded Warriars. Soilders who have lost limbs in the war.

    We send donations regularly to the Smile Train. Docotors who go to other countries and fix cleft palates. Did I spell that right. I’m also a hands on person and have volunteered in prisons, soup kitchens, spend a week after H. Katrina, taught Enlish to refugees…the list is long.

    However there is always more I want to do, I’m thinking Habitat for Humanity.
    Great story. Thanks for bringing up people who need more than we do even though we think we’re in a crisis.

  6. Hi Tess,
    I’m so glad I asked this – I wasn’t sure whether to or not – but it’s been humbling for me and a wonderful way to get to know folk better and I’m happy I did. You help so many people already through the bold, inspired action you generate on your site, but your energy is an inspiration, a lesson for us all about how much we can achieve if we get up early like you do and back our passions and beliefs with action. Thank you for sharing this. These are links to those causes Tess mentioned:

  7. @Randi,
    It’s my pleasure; such a small thing to contribute when people like your sister and thousands of others are giving time and energy as well as money.

    I had this post on my screen today as I was working on something and Rehema’s message in those beautiful eyes started me off again. When I read your post the first time, all I could do was cry before I was actually able to type a few words in your comments box.

    Thank you for sharing this. I wasn’t sure whether to ask questions at the end but I’m glad I did. It’s been humbling. You already help thousands of folk with the bold, inspired action you generate through your blog, but this list just shows what a person can contribute when they back values and beliefs with action, passion and energy. I’m reminded of a Ghandi quote:

    “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

  8. In South Africa one of the saddest problems is that so many adults are dying of AIDS. As a result, thousands of households are being run by children under 16 even under 13. There are many, many children who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their younger siblings because all the adults have died. I support groups that find and assist these rural children. Thank you for this post.

    1. Lovely to see you over here, Paisley. Thank you. I support a charity which contributes to this work too. Maybe it’s because I’ve lost friends to AIDS or because I couldn’t imagine my daughter and son having to raise themselves, but I find the plight of so many of Africa’s children particularly heart wrenching. But I was ashamed of myself when I read Randi’s post because it hadn’t occured to me that many medicines have to be taken with food. It simply hadn’t occured to me.

  9. Hi Janice,

    Talk about one person having the ability to make the a difference. Randi and Kelli are perfect examples of that belief. Good for them for trying to do what they can to ease suffering.

    It is amazing how in some parts of the world people struggle to achieve what we in the West take for granted. When I lived in India, water coming out of the faucet was not always a guarantee. Four people sharing a cob of corn should not be tolerated. So much money is spent on weapons and yet thousands (I pray it is not millions) of people starve. We have the power to end world hunger and poverty. May more people be inspired to take action like Randi and Kelli!

    Great post, as always, my dear friend! 🙂

    Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..604,800 Amazing Options

    1. @Nadia
      You’re right. If everyone who voted in American Idol donated a dollar along with their phone call, that would be $40,000,000 a week for starters.

  10. Hi Janice,
    Thanks for sharing this story. I’m really moved that Rehema died so early in her life at just 8 yrs. I wonder how many young lives are lost! I always feel proud of people like Kelli and Randi and many… who live for others. I always wanted to be a social worker who can make difference to people in need. I wanted to do something and pray that I’ll be able to do it soon.
    I myself been brought up by missionaries in orphanages. I know how it feels to be in there. The kids need more love and good food to grow up.
    I congratulate you, Kelli and Randi and Tess to help people who are in need. Let’s all join our efforts to lessen the hunger in the world!

    Solomon´s last blog post..How to unshackle your writing muse?

    1. You’re an inspiration, Solomon. You haven’t let your difficult past stop you from being a positive person who has dreams of making a good life for his family and of helping others. Thank you for sharing this.

  11. Hi Janice,
    Thanks for fixing the comment! You know I didn’t sleep well last night for the mistake. I wonder if there is anyone who can understand others as much as you! I really mean it.
    I’m blessed to know that there are people like you in this world, and they make this world a beautiful place to live.
    Thanks for your kind words!

    Solomon´s last blog post..How to unshackle your writing muse?

  12. You’re very welcome.

    I don’t know if you’ve used it on other blogs before, but underneath your comment after you post it, you’ll see an Edit icon. It gives you four minutes to edit your comment. I installed the plugin because, like you, I feel bad if suddenly see something I would like to go back and change but can’t.

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