MEXICO: Life Lessons at the Zoo

MEXICO: Life Lessons at the Zoo

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As a wife of one and a mom of four, it seems like I am always learning and discovering! I know I am not alone. Let’s just admit it: The world is a big place, life is a lesson, and children can be the best teachers.  Normally my series, Life Lessons with Mexico Mom,  is hosted on Los Gringos Locos, but today I am posting here on World Moms Blog.

Here are my insights and experiences as a Mexico Mom for this week, all taken from a family trip to our local zoo, Parque Zoológico Benito Juárez in Morelia:

Life Lesson 49: Flamingos look fake from a distance. When I spotted them I thought they couldn’t possibly be real. They were still as statues and their color is a vibrant peach. The flamingos were elegantly and perfectly formed. What a beautiful creation for us to enjoy! It turns out these birds were the real thing. Mommy was in awe over their beauty and I still am.

Life Lesson 50: I have no idea how to row a boat. I was the star of a real life comedy show called Mommy is Goofy. Just kidding… but I know that everyone who was watching must have had at least one laugh from my performance. We were going in circles for a while and when we started to move I hit at least three or four boats. I think we might have made it 50 feet before we had to turn around and come back to shore. All persons aboard survived.

Life Lesson 51: Petting a six month old tiger is amazing. We were able to do this along with our four kids. I think we were all in animal paradise. Her name is Esperanza which mean ‘hope’ in English. She was gorgeous and soft. Who would have known a tiger is soft! Esperanza is only six months old and her paws are the size of my hands. She was born in captivity and is well-cared for. She also has a hyena cub as a friend. They play tug of war and are quite a match for each other. Unforgettable!

BONUS – Life Lesson 52: Three grizzly bears standing eight feet tall is a sight to see. Their trainer was feeding them bread which apparently they love. But he would only throw a loaf when they stood tall. One of the loaves went into the water and the biggest bear went right in after it. What a cool ending to a wonderful family day at the Morelia Zoo in Michoacan, Mexico 🙂

What life lesson did you learn this past week? Please share it with us below. We want to hear your thoughts from around the world!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tina Marie Ernspiker.  Tina can be found blogging over at Los Gringos Locos.  She is also on Facebook and Twitter.  

Photo credit to the author.

Tina Marie Ernspiker

Tina lives abroad in Mexico with her husband and four children. She is active with homeschool, travel, and her Bible ministry. Tina loves photography and writing thus she blogs. Come join her adventures!

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PHILIPPINES: Moms Helping Others

PHILIPPINES: Moms Helping Others

moms helpingWherever we may be in the world, suffering is something that we usually consider to be a “normal” part of our lives. Some of us endure it on an everyday basis, while others seem to suffer only during “true” times of tragedy and despair.

The truth is, all of us on this earth, every single one of us, have gone through a time suffering in one way or another. Here in the Philippines, we are currently experiencing “national suffering” of sorts, as over 40 people have been killed recently in clashes between the police’s Special Action Force and Muslim rebels.

I’m sure you have your own suffering to speak of, too, whether it’s of the personal kind, or on a wider scale. I’m also sure that you’ve seen other people suffer, too, and have wondered how you can help ease their suffering (I know I have on many occasions!).

While I don’t claim that this post will provide the ultimate solution for helping ease other people’s suffering, I do humbly submit that we can do what we can to help others, by doing these three things:

1. Share their pain.

Compassion is something that all of us should have, no matter what our race, nationality, color or religion. We moms usually tend to be more compassionate to the plight of others, and this is a beautiful thing. A compassionate soul is truly a blessing in this world, where unkindness, cruelty, selfishness and cynicism can darken our lives.

Whenever we see or hear of people suffering, let us try to share in their pain, sorrow, and grief. If you consider yourself the “religious” type, offer a prayer for them. Even if you’re not the type of person who prays, sending out positive thoughts and kind words can still make a difference.

2. Do good, starting in your own home and community.

Suffering is a global phenomenon and while most of us can only do “so much” to help others, we need to believe that the little we can do can actually go a long way.

Do you want to help those who suffer from hunger? Those who suffer from poverty? From depression? From national disasters? From the effects of war?

Start where you are. Do good in your own home. If you have kids, teach them to do the same. Reach out to others in your neighborhood and in your community. Visit the sick. Play with kids at an orphanage. Raise funds for the needy.

Simple things like these can really help those who are suffering. Heck, even just sharing posts about helping others who are suffering, like our social good posts on clean birth, can make a difference.

3. Tell others.

A lot of the people who are suffering in the world have no voice — they can’t speak for themselves for some reason or other. This is why communities like World Moms Blog exist — to give people a voice.

Speak for the suffering — share their plea to your networks. Tell your family members and friends about who and what is on your mind and in your heart. Talk about what’s happening in Nigeria, like our very own Aisha for example, or even just about moms who may have kids suffering from serious illnesses like leukemia, who may not be as “vocal” as you are. (If you need a “source” for posts for sharing, you can start here.)

At the end of the day, remember the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s quote that goes something like this:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Know that you can make a difference in the lives of people who are suffering in different forms. It all begins with a decision, a choice to do so. So let’s take that “single step” together, shall we?

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez (Philippines)

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez is a wife and homeschool mom by vocation, a licensed physical therapist by education and currently the managing editor of Mustard, a Catholic children's magazine published by Shepherd's Voice Publications in the Philippines, by profession. She has been writing passionately since her primary school years in Brunei, and contributes regularly to several Philippine and foreign-based online and print publications. She also does sideline editing and scriptwriting jobs, when she has the time. Find out more about Tina through her personal blogs: Truly Rich Mom and Teacher Mama Tina.

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JORDAN: Interview with Jacqueline Jenkins

JORDAN: Interview with Jacqueline Jenkins

jackie headshot jordanWhere in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

Four months ago, we moved to Amman, Jordan.  Originally from Canada, I have been moving around the globe for more than twenty years as my husband works for UNICEF.

What language(s) do you speak?

I speak English and French.  Learning Arabic is a big goal for our time here.

When did you first become a mother?

We were a carefree couple in Uganda, Lesotho, and Bangladesh.  In 2000, while living in Myanmar, Meghan joined our family.  In 2005, while we were posted in India, Charlie arrived.  Since then, we have lived in Mozambique and New York.

Is your work stay-at-home mom, other work at home, or do you work outside the home?

I am an educator and have been incredibly fortunate to have found rewarding jobs in international schools wherever we have been posted.  Most recently, I was the Elementary School Principal at the United Nations International School in Manhattan.

Since arriving in Jordan, I have been a stay-at-home Mum.  I’ve been busy exploring, photographing and learning about the incredible history of the region and the issues facing not only the Jordan population, but the incredible number of Syrian refugees currently residing in the country.

My commitment to raising children who believe in peace and feel responsible for creating a better world is at the core of everything I do.

Why do you blog/write?

I write to record and process this incredible journey we are on as a family.  Time passes so incredibly quickly.  Without recording it, it’s hard to remember the small moments and wonderings from each posting.

How would you say that you are different from other mothers?

Being a mother in this transient lifestyle means being the key cheerleader for our family.  It means setting up and taking down a house with six weeks’ notice.  It means creating close friendships, and then saying goodbye.  All this, while telling myself that giving my children this incredible opportunity makes the goodbyes and new hellos worthwhile.

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

Raising a child in this lifestyle has incredible challenges and rewards.  The challenges include culture shock every single time–even when I think the move will be easy.  It means coaching myself, in my dark moments, to be present and supportive to my children.  I remind myself that they have not chosen to move, but are trusting me to show them the meaningfulness of the lifestyle we have committed to as a UNICEF family.

The upsides to this lifestyle are incredible: our children interact and learn about cultures, languages, food, and religions firsthand; they are developing tolerance and empathy through relationships with many types of different people and the travel; and, before age ten, they have seen more of the world than some people manage in a lifetime!

How did you find World Moms Blog? 

I learned about World Moms Blog when I was searching for women leading similar lives, facing similar issues, and who possessed the same strong desire to create a better world for our children and our children’s children.  I feel blessed to be a part of this incredible community.

[Editor’s Note: A warm welcome, Jackie!  We look forward to reading your posts as you settle in to your new role!]

Photo credit: Jacqueline Jenkins

This is an exclusive, World Moms Blog interview with our new writer and mother of two in Jordan, Jacqueline Jenkins. Welcome!

Jacqueline Jenkins (Jordan)

We are a few months into our new 'home of our heart' location in Amman, Jordan. Originally from Canada, I have been moving around the globe for more than twenty years as my husband works for UNICEF. While we were a carefree couple in Uganda, Lesotho and Bangladesh, Meghan joined our family in 2000, while we were living in Myanmar. She was joined in 2005, while we were posted in India by Charlie, her energetic younger brother! Since then we have lived in Mozambique and New York. I am an educator and have been incredibly fortunate to have found rewarding jobs in international schools wherever we have been posted. Most recently I was the Elementary School Principal at the United Nations International School in Manhattan. Since arriving in Jordan, I have been a stay at home Mum, exploring, photographing and learning about the incredible history of the region and the issues facing not only the Jordan population but the incredible number of Syrian refugees currently residing in the country. While I speak English and French, I have not yet started to learn Arabic; a big goal for our time here. I write to record and process this incredible journey we are on as a family. Time passes so incredibly quickly and without a recording of events, it's hard to remember the small moments and wonderings from each posting. Being a mother in this transient lifestyle means being the key cheerleader for our family, it means setting up and taking down a house with six weeks notice, it means creating close friendships and then saying goodbye. All this, while telling yourself that the opportunities your children have make the goodbyes and new hellos worthwhile. Raising a child in this lifestyle has incredible challenges and rewards. The challenges include culture shock every single time, even when you feel the move will be an easy one. It means coaching yourself, in your dark moments to be present and supportive to your children, who have not chosen to move but are trusting you to show them the world and the meaningfulness of the lifestyle we have committed to as a UNICEF family. The upsides to this lifestyle are incredible; the ability to have our children interact and learn about cultures, languages, food, and religions firsthand, the development of tolerance and empathy through relationships with many types of different people and the travel, they have been to more places before the age of ten than some people do in a lifetime! My commitment to raising children who believe in peace and feel responsible for making a difference in creating a better world is at the core of everything I do.

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WORLD VOICE: Landmark Day for Global Health – Over $7 Billion Pledged to @GAVI #VaccinesWork

WORLD VOICE: Landmark Day for Global Health – Over $7 Billion Pledged to @GAVI #VaccinesWork

Today was a landmark day for funding for the GAVI Alliance, which provides life-saving vaccinations for children around the globe. Over $7 billion US Dollars was pledged to GAVI, with the UK and the US leading the way. A group of our contributors have been working with Shot@Life, the ONE Campaign and RESULTS to put pressure on the U.S. government to fund GAVI. World Mom, Cindy Levin, also on the Board of RESULTS, is celebrating the lives that will be saved with this funding with her daughters in Missouri, USA. Read her reaction, as well as that of her daughters’, on her blog, The Anti Poverty Mom.

And World Mom, Michelle Pannell, writes from the UK about the momentous funding to save lives. It was a spiritual reminder for her on why she continues to write. Read her post at Mummy From the Heart.

In Missouri, USA, World Mom and activist, Cindy Levin, celebrate the importance of pledged funding to the GAVI Alliance for global vaccination programs for children.

In Missouri, USA, World Mom and activist, Cindy Levin, and her daughters celebrate the importance of pledged funding to the GAVI Alliance for global vaccination programs for children.

 

Michelle Pannell in Ethiopia advocating for world poverty with the ONE Campaign in 2012.

Michelle Pannell in Ethiopia advocating for world poverty with the ONE Campaign in 2012.

 

Thank you for your hard work, Cindy, Michelle and fellow World Moms!!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog. 

Photo credit to Cindy Levin. 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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SOCIAL GOOD: #WorldMoms Make Birth Safe In Laos #CleanBirth

SOCIAL GOOD: #WorldMoms Make Birth Safe In Laos #CleanBirth

As many of you know, less than 3 years ago, I started an organization, CleanBirth.org, to make birth safer in Laos.  We have had great success in 2014 with 2,000 Clean Birth Kits (hygienic birthing supplies that prevent infection) delivered and 88 Lao nurses and staff trained.

Zero mothers who used the kits reported an infection in themselves or their babies!

$5 Clean Birth Kit

$5 Clean Birth Kit

In my mind, CleanBirth.org’s success and World Moms Blog are inextricably linked.

When CleanBirth.org was in its infancy, I was approached by fellow World Mom, Nicole Melancon of Thirdeyemom, to join this amazing group of writers and moms from around the world.

When I asked founder, Jennifer Burden, for World Mom Blog’s support for our first crowd funding campaign in January 2013, she gave an unhesitating “Yes.”  I felt such gratitude as fellow bloggers profile pictures changed to CleanBirth.org’s logo. Having the support of all of YOU: accomplished professionals, writers, and world changers gave me such confidence.

Dee, Kristyn and the US Ambassador to Laos

Dee, Kristyn and the US Ambassador to Laos

Together we met that funding goal and then again in 2014 goal.  With your support, I am confident that we will raise what we need for our upcoming training trip.  This March, we will return to Laos, to train local nurses on Clean Birth Kits and the WHO’s Essentials of Newborn Care, through an alliance with Yale University School of Nursing.  The Yale Midwives, whose travel is funded by the School of Nursing, are the perfect partners for educating nurses on safe birthing practices.

Yale & CleanBirth Training of Laos Nurses

Yale & CleanBirth Training of Laos Nurses

Please consider contributing to our crowd funding campaign this year. A donation of just $5 provides a mother with a birth kit and education by the nurses we train.  Join your voice with ours on social media.

Because no mom should lose her baby to a preventable cause.  And no baby should lose their mom.

$5 Saves 2 Lives

$5 Saves 2 Lives

Here are some ways to get involved:

  1. Donate http://startsomegood.com/cleanbirthlaosScreen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.48.18 PM
  2. Join our WMB hosted Twitter Party Jan 29 1-2 EST #CleanBirth
  3. Take a picture with a handwritten sign $5 Saves 2 Lives #CleanBirth and post on FB or Twitter.
  4. Blog & share posts from CleanBirth.org’s FB page.

Thank you for helping us help mothers who lack adequate access to maternal health services!

This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Kristyn Zalota founder of CleanBirth.org.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.54.10 PM

Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to CleanBirth.org. She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of CleanBirth.org. She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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