The cornucopia of plenty was ever so conspicuous this year, compared to previous year’s that I’d taken pretty much for granted, since I’ve visited the Eritrean refugee camps in Africa this July where food and education were both in very short supply. These kids are looking for both, yet their experience is that neither food nor education are readily forthcoming. While I donated and distributed thousands of dollars of medical supplies, it was in connecting eye-to-eye, and heart-to-heart with these kids, that I reveled in, receiving their smiles of gratitude.

DLM in Sudan Refugee Camp

Yes, that’s me with the head covering on the right, giving out flimsy hair bands, which were received with so much humility it made me cry. People with so little, grateful for the smallest of tokens, and yet hopeful for a promising future. These same kids plead with their mothers to spend the pittance of money they earn at two and three jobs on education, NOT food. They KNOW that education is their only ticket to freedom, if there is one.

I’ve contributed monthly to Unitus (associated with Grameen Bank), for a year now, ever since I was introduced to Mohammad Yunus’ courageous and heroic trail blazing in micro lending. My life’s mission includes speaking to women everywhere to empower them about their money, and encouraging us all to consider redistributing even $25/month to organizations that support women who have initiative and drive, and simply need a LOAN of capital–even a one time loan of $25.00–to boost them towards their freedom and that of their families.

I’ve touched and hugged those whom the world calls poor, yet their spirits are surprisingly hopeful. It is that hope that I want to rekindle. I’ve used that African experience to re-frame my own thinking, so that I am conscious and grateful for all the abundance that I have, and for the immense opportunities I have, and I can assure you that this current market decline is miniscule by comparison to the worries of entire families literally starving to death!

This Thanksgiving and holiday season may I recommend that you gift yourself and your friends with Mohammad’s book Banker to the Poor? It was one of the most powerful and riveting books I’ve read, in which he gives us hope that we can all participate in the freedom of our planet, one micro-loan at a time, freeing one spirit and family at a time.

That’s something to be thankful for, and to celebrate!