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4 Things To Help Me Not Feel Overwhelmed

1. Catching Dennis Kiprop’s Contagious Optimism

Dennis Kiprop (Kenya) and Canaan Gondwe (Malawi) chat during a break in the SIA Small Business Fund Coordinator conference in Uganda last summer.

Dennis Kiprop, a SIA Small Business Fund Coordinator in Kenya and our source of unending optimism, shared this encouraging story, called One Matters, with me this week.

He prefaced, with his usual positive outlook, “SIA is a unique organization that has changed a lot of lives that once were hopeless and now have a reason to smile!”

And the story: One old man was walking on the shore of the beach, it was windy and so tides were strong and pushed out thousands of starfish onto the sand of the shore. When the tides went back in, it left the starfish on the scorching sun, not to return to the ocean soon.

The old man saw a young boy trying to pick the starfish and throwing back each starfish back to the ocean. When the old man saw this, considering helpless star fish lying along miles and miles of beach, he shook his head and asked the young boy, “Young boy, what are you doing?” The boy replied, “I am throwing the starfish back to the ocean.”

“You can’t get all the starfish back to the ocean,” said the old man. “There are thousands along the beach, no matter how many you will put back to the ocean, you will not finish.” The boy paused a little bit to look at the old man. Then he bend down to pick one more starfish and threw back to the ocean and said to the old man, “that one mattered!”

Dennis concluded affirming: This is exactly what I see in our communities today and what SIA is doing; one life changed matters a lot to God. We can’t meet all the needs out there, but the continued pick-up of star fish around us matters the most, and lives are being empowered in special ways.

2. Remembering that change is already happening! 

Many women as part of the Kasozi Savings group

We met with women from the Kasozi Village Savings group in Uganda this summer. Even without outside money, the women are saving together, to improve their lives and community. We are not creating a movement, we are happy to uplift it.

3. This quote by Wendell Berry about vulnerability and being okay with not knowing what to do.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

4. Rereading this post about starting small.

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