Why I {still} need Africa.

It's been almost 7 years since I set my feet on African soil.  It's been over 3 years since I poured my heart and soul into my job at Mocha Club.  I left Mocha Club peacefully in 2010 after having my daughter and have never regretted that decision, but I do still dearly love this organization and my former co-workers who are now friends.

In 2008, while I was working for Mocha Club, we launched the "I Need Africa" (INA) campaign. It was born out of a sleepless night in Africa when my former boss (and founder of Mocha Club & fashionABLE), Barrett Ward, journaled some thoughts at 5am in Ethiopia one morning.  His words sparked a campaign to share a message:

We find that the more we continue to give to Africa, the more we receive, and we want to continue to challenge the perception that Africa needs only our pity and charity, and instead seek to reveal the truth that its people have much to offer.

With the hunch that this might resonate with others who've had a similar experience, Mocha Club took that journal entry and launched the original INA campaign later that year, with hundreds of bloggers sharing how Africa has impacted so many of us in similar but unique ways. 

Now, almost 5 years later, the INA message remains at the heart of all that Mocha Club does, so they have just relaunched "I Need Africa 2.0" to bring it back to the forefront.

So, I thought it was time for me to revisit why I {still} need Africa:

  • Prior to traveling to Africa in 2006, I indeed bought into the lie that "circumstances define happiness."  My entire life was based on things going a certain way - MY way.  But have you ever seen someone with AIDS burst out dancing in a room, for no apparent reason? 
  • Truthfully, I need the reminder.  In the busyness of my daily life in Dallas, I don't want to forget the way time stood still there, the way face-to-face moments with people were the priority.  I don't want to forget little Margret Harriet and how she cuddled in my lap and proudly wore the word "Jesus" on her forehead.  I don't want to forget what it sounded like the first time I heard the orphans' voices ringing out, singing hymns at 4 in the morning.  I don't want to forget the laughter of children in the midst of a stinking garbage pile in Kibera.  I don't want to forget.
  • The INA phrase "possessions in my hands will never be as valuable as peace in my heart" is something I've found to be absolutely true.  And as simply as we live here in this big city obsessed with botox and plastic surgery and designer clothing, it's still easy to get swept into the desire for bigger and better, for improving our current lot in life rather than being content with what is.  But it just ends up empty.  The less we have, the more peaceful I feel.

The other fun part is that Mocha Club has introduced some new exclusive INA 2.0 products to go with the campaign - a tshirt and scarf that you can get by either 1) joining Mocha Club, 2) getting another friend to join if you're already a member, or 3) just buying them in the Mocha Club store.

Love the shirt!  Even fits preggos.

I also couldn't resist this beautiful peace necklace...

Check out the video.  And see how it inspires you. 

Whether or not you've been there, I think we all need Africa in one way or another.