Samantha Harrington
October 16, 2015

Hannah recently said something that got me thinking:

“Sometimes this work seems pretty selfish. We’re just collecting friends and inspiration down the East Coast. We say this is helping young women understand their lives and potential but really it feels like it’s just us trying to understand why we’re on this earth.”

In Maine there was Sarah who works hard to give new Mainers access to healthcare and who took our phone calls at any hour.

And Claudette, who took a long lunch break to tell us about her journey from top Heinekin sales rep in Burundi to asylum seeker in the U.S.

There was also Iman, a 18-year-old refugee rock star who became class president at her high school only two months after being resettled.

listen to Iman read a piece of her writing:

In New York there was Dimitra who loves the city and the opera but misses the beaches of Albania. She left for her daughters’ security– mother’s intuition.

And then there was Dearta. The woman who invited us to her home and Oktoberfest party within two minutes of meeting us. At 12, alone and with a passport that wasn’t her own, she traveled from Albania to join her family in the U.S. And now at 30 she took the time to talk for hours with us about compassion and life and love.

Photo by Eleni Kroi
Lunch with Dearta and her husband, Justin. Photo by Eleni Kroi.

So yeah. We are collecting friends down the East Coast. And yeah we’re learning a lot and gaining a lot and it does feel all a little selfish.

But although we’ve been slow (we may have bitten off just a little more than is quickly chewable), we are working to share those lessons with you.

And I promise you this: you are going to learn so much. From Iman you’ll learn about courage and tenacity. From Claudette you’ll learn persistence and endless optimism. From Dimitra you’ll learn joy and motherhood. And from Dearta you’ll learn insightfulness, kindness and compassion.

The biggest thing these women have in common is that they refuse to be brought down by the weight of the world’s troubles. They are strong and powerful and optimistic against it all.

As Dearta said, “I feel I am a product of good humanity.”

These women are good humanity. And we are a product of them.