No. 25 – Making Life a Little Sweeter

In our search for service projects on this trip, I’ve usually been the one contacting local organizations to set up our volunteer opportunities in the cities we visit. However, for service project #25, it was the girls who found a small way to make the world a little sweeter. Our housemate Reagan gave them what was left of a huge bag of Dum-Dum lollipops, which she’d given out to the students in her English classes. Instead of keeping this massive bag of treats for themselves, Emily, Liv and Alison immediately took it outside the gate of our house and stood in the street handing them out to people walking by.
Giving away suckers in our neighborhood
Liv handing out suckers in Addis
I watched from the balcony as the first few kids came by. I’d see the pause of confusion first. Why is this little blonde girl approaching me with her hand out? Then came the smile and usually a handshake or a hair tousle after they accepted their little gift. Soon the children started sticking around to play in the street or sit with the girls has they continued giving away suckers. Our normally quiet street with its piles of construction materials and potholes started to look like a little block party had started. Cars were stopping to talk to our girls. One pair of women gave them a handful of their shimbra eshet, little green pea pods sold on the streets of Addis. Everyone taking a sucker left with a smile and probably a story to tell when they got home, about the little blonde ferenji girls making a party on the street with lollipops.
Busy street in Addis
It took a couple hours to hand out all those suckers. Afterwards our girls and two of the neighborhood kids were in our yard laughing and playing games. The whole thing made me smile with the lesson my own kids had taught me. Doing good things in the world doesn’t have to involve orchestration and organization…. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting a smile on a stranger’s face.

About the Author

Tracey Carisch

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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  1. What a beautiful story! Please give your precious girls hugs from all of us!! Hope your you’re having a wonderful time in Bangkok. Love & hugs from all the Madeleys xxxxxxx

    1. Thank you, Ed! We had such a great time with you guys. We’re still going through all the photos. Posts on SA to come soon. I hope we’re back again someday when we have room to take an ostrich egg home with us in our luggage. :-)

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