She said “You know Lisa, sometimes you just have to have faith…”
I was talking to Maggie Tessier, award winning Realtor and owner of her own Exit Realty brokerage. She had shared with me a photo of a little girl in Africa whose education she was paying for.
My question to her was, “How do you know your money really gets there?”
Maggie is pretty humble about the difference she is making and although the story is not remarkable to her – I found it incredible.
I met Maggie last year at a RAMV (Remote Area Medical Volunteers) fundraiser. I was asked to do a Social Media Keynote at an event they were hosting to raise money for the work they do in Africa. These are heath care professionals who pay $4000 each to go to Africa, sleep in tents and work harder than most of them ever have before to help people in remote communities.
The dentists who went are people like Dr. Chantal Plant (my dentist) and they go with only one goal in mind: to make a difference.
The RAMV group needed an extra person to help out and, without hesitation Maggie volunteered. Then, when they said they could use one more helping hand, so did her husband.
It was nothing short of life changing for them both.
She told me Africa is just like you see on TV. People live in huts, they have nothing, life is really difficult for them.
Maggie said that after going to Africa she really wanted to do something more to help. She thought very hard about the best way to plant seeds that would impact the future and realized that it was through education.
Now, this is where it gets REALLY interesting…
She made friends with people and got to spend time with them when she was there. They continued their friendship and found the ability to communicate via Facebook.
One person in particular Maggie befriended and communicated with regularly was a pastor named John Tinto.
After several months of staying connected with John and a bunch of other people, Maggie made the decision to invest in education for some of the kids she met.
Now, keep in mind that the education system is different in Africa. Kids do not start school at a young age. Usually they start around the age of seven – that is, if their families can afford to send them to school.
The cost to send a child to school in Africa is about $140 a year. Think about that. Less than what some of us spend going out for dinner with friends or a day at the spa has a monumental impact on the life of a child in Africa – and that child has the potential to change the future of Africa.
Then, Maggie told me something astonishing. She said, “Facebook is making me a nicer person.”
Being connected to these people, seeing their day to day lives and experiences, has instilled confidence in her and the difference she is making. She says – “They can’t hide from me. I see what they are doing. I know the community and I know that if they are not going to school and doing what they are supposed to with the money – someone is going to tell me!”
I find this remarkable and inspiring. I also find it interesting that because of what Maggie is doing and has shared – I now want to help a child too.
I recently reached out to Pastor John and became friends with him on Facebook and told him of my interest in the people of Maasai and about this blog that I was writing. You will see if you go to his website, you cannot make donations there.
You have to go About-Face Missions if you want to see some of the kids who are looking for help and decide for yourself if, now that you know of someone who really has a link to these people, you want to make a difference.
You can read about 25 children who are loved and supported right there and, if you decide you want to make a difference, you can take action. You can choose in that very moment to change someone’s life through a few clicks of a mouse. Isn’t technology absolutely awesome?!
If you do decide to take part, please let me know. I know I have always been drawn to the shows on TV, but I have been afraid to send money for fear it didn’t really make a difference. Now I know that no matter what – it does make a difference.
I am choosing to take Maggie’s advice and just have faith. Somewhere, someway, I am helping someone have a better quality of life, and my life is better for having done so.