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Day 3: The Gift of Story

By Lydia Baldridge Meier

I’ve spent more than a dozen years being a storyteller for Opportunity International. Stories go into proposals, reports, cards, letters, articles, videos, speeches. You might think that after a while, stories would start to blur and feel formulaic. But to me, receiving each client’s story is a precious gift that they impart to me – the privilege to bear witness to their journey. Whether they give their story directly to me during a visit, or whether I receive it second or third hand through my colleagues around the world, that gift is a precious piece of themselves: their struggles, successes, hopes and dreams.

One of my favorite stories is of Rosita Kawatche in Malawi. I met her outside of her home near Kasungu, a rural area. She sells produce by a busy road. She had recently taken her first Opportunity loan, enabling her to buy more vegetables to sell. What has stuck with me about Rosita in the 10 years since I met her is not the straw hut she lived in or the precariousness of setting up shop right on a busy, dangerous road. What I remember every time I think of her, is how proud her husband was of his wife’s new venture. He waited patiently as she shared her story, then when he understood my request for a photo of Rosita and her vegetables, he ran to the house and gathered baskets, cloth and buckets to create a display of produce worthy of his wife’s hard work. This is transformation. This is a story changed. A woman in a country where many are thought to be commodities, is now the proud partner of her husband.

I encourage you to create your own stories by travelling with Opportunity.

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” ― Rudyard Kipling

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