She has a heart of gold.
As the world's youngest country, South Sudan, marks the third year of a vicious civil war, I am learning the heart-wrenching stories of some of the 200,000 civilians who have sought shelter in UN-protected camps. I'm here to learn about the impact of the conflict, especially on children.
Picture calling your child aside for a private conversation. Look into their eyes, and take a big breath. Now imagine asking your child to leave. Not for a few days, and not to visit Grandma. Ask your son or daughter to walk until they find food or work. Just keep walking, even if it takes days, weeks or months.
I remember the exact day I met my parents. Not many people can say that. It was on my 10th birthday. February 23, 1979, to be precise. Danielle, the Social Worker in charge of my case since I had become an orphan four years earlier, drove me to a restaurant where she introduced me to a nice young couple. Today however, after a long and intense look into my past, the scene that took place some 35 years ago is a comforting memory not only because it coincides with the real beginning of my life, but because it also serves as a reminder of all that had to happen in the years before that meeting.
My recent trip got me thinking about how I could be a better, more responsible traveler. How could I teach my children to enjoy travel, but also do it in an eco and culturally responsible way? I was not surprised to find that I am not alone in trying to find that balance.