Retiring in 2002 from being a manager with state government, I knew I wanted to be of service and work internationally in my next phase of life. My lifelong wanderlust had developed into a fascination with other cultures and what made people both similar and unique. In 2005 I traveled to Iran and Syria with a small citizen diplomacy group. Our mission was to let government officials and everyday citizens know that—contrary to our government at the time—not all Americans considered them the “axis of evil”. My eyes became opened to the many ways we can voice our opinion and be heard in places where it matters most.
At the same time, I was studying with environmental activist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy. Through her teachings I learned that activism takes many forms. Important as “holding actions” are, they are only one approach to being an activist and making change possible.
A few months later I fulfilled my childhood dream of visiting Africa. Preferring travel with a purpose, I took a photo workshop in Uganda where I documented the lives of street children. Through that experience I met 20-year-old Ronnie Sseruyange, who had become a street kid at age 6. For the next ten years he lived with other children on the streets of Kampala, foraging for food during the day and hiding from police at night.