Not long ago I received an invitation to a going away party. The invitation came from my friend Karen and stated that she was hosting a party for her daughter, Mariah, and son-in-law, Collin, who were leaving to take a position with the Peace Corps. In fact, in a few weeks, Mariah and Collin will be leaving for Zambia! It’s been a few years since I have seen Mariah, but back when my kids were small, she used to babysit for me when I had a meeting to attend or an errand to run. Mariah was more like a big sister to the kids and since she has beautiful red hair, just like my daughter, she would often be asked if they were sisters. (And Mariah knows that when she is in Zambia that red hair will surely create a stir!) Curious as to what the next two years will be like for Mariah and Collin, I did a little research and found a few articles that offered some insight. This one listed five reasons NOT to join the Peace Corps, one of which is “to build my resume.” Clearly this is not a good reason (there are easier ways to do that) and using this as a mantra won’t get you through the tough times. Then I found this YouTube video by Carrie Pavlik (who was in the Peace Corps 2007-2009) that shows the beauty of Zambia but also demonstrates just how much work is involved in doing the everyday things that we in America take for granted (getting water, cooking, taking a shower, etc). Mariah and Collin are excited that they are going to put their skills (both of them are fisheries experts) to work to help people in a country that is thousands of miles away. Yesterday was the bon voyage party for Mariah and Collin, and even though I knew I would be late in arriving if I baked a pie before going, I just had to do it. I wanted to say with that pie that I am so proud to know them, that I admire what they are doing, and to wish them all the best on their grand adventure! If you are interested in learning more about their journey, you can follow them on their blog: www.MariahandCollin.wordpress.com “The Peace Corps is guilty of enthusiasm and a crusading spirit. But we’re not apologetic about it.” Sargent Shriver “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.” Tom Brokaw
International Year of Cooperatives is intended to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of cooperative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The Year will also highlight the strengths of the cooperative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development. From Argentina to Zambia, the 1.4 million co-operatives across the globe will be celebrating and showing how they build a better world. (from the UN website)
On October 31 of last year, the United Nations General Assembly launched the International Year of Cooperatives. Cooperatives are businesses that are owned and managed by their members. In southern Oregon, there are several cooperatives that you might have noticed: Rogue Federal Credit Union (RFCU), the Grange Coop, Ashland Food Coop, and the Medford Food Coop. Recently, Bill Meyer of KMED, interviewed managers of those coops on RFCU’s Living Local Blog (hosted by Gene Pelham). You can link to that interview here. Two things that I learned from that interview are that those four cooperatives provide jobs for more than 600 people in southern Oregon and they have combined gross sales of $113 million.
Tonight my husband, who manages the Medford Food Coop, was at a coop meeting. I thought I would surprise him and his team with dessert. Shortly after their meeting began, I walked in with a Chocolate Pecan Pie (still warm from the oven) to help them keep up their strength for the tasks at hand.
As I drove home, the aroma of that pie was still present and smelled so delicious, it’s a wonder I was able to give it away at all!