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Turns out that no matter how far you travel, you discover that human beings have a lot more in common than different. We need the same basic things; food, shelter, water (hopefully clean water). We must find ways to take care of ourselves, and we want to take care of our families and children. It seems that the need for human touch and community is also strong.

In July 2012, on a Changers of Commerce trip to Ethiopia, we spent some time in an Elder Center in Dire Dawa, one of the poorest cities, in one of the poorest countries in the world. Here each day, the senior citizens of Dire Dawa would gather – for some time together, a lesson from the center director, and a meal – if you call a bag of ramen noodles and a piece of fruit a meal. Maybe their only meal. Once we adjusted to the squalor and the realities of their harsh lives, we quickly focused on what we have in common, and how we could connect and maybe make a difference.

These are magnificent people. They have so much dignity, bearing and in most cases genuine warmth and optimism. A few stole our hearts. Bazunesh, the woman in the picture below, is a single mom with two daughters. Her husband died of aids. The Elder Center purchased an old broken down loom for her, and everyday she works to make scarves for sale. It is her only source of income, and it is difficult to find someone to buy them – unless a group like us comes by. We bought all of them that July, and have been sending money for new orders since then. Our wonderful Changers of Commerce and Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) community have raised several thousand dollars through their sale, and have helped Bazunesh fulfill her goals to make sure her beautiful daughters are receiving a good education, as well as support the work of Global Hope International in the process.

Next week at Summer Brand Camp, we will be offering both the light summer scarves for only $25.00 each, and the new gorgeous jewel tone & metallic patterns for $75.00 or 2/$100.00. A little actually goes a long way in Ethiopia, and you will have the peace and satisfaction of knowing that you are changing commerce, and changing lives.

With great love,

Joni, Amanda, Kat & Bazunesh