Mozambicans are known for their hospitality, humor, and inclusive spirit. When visiting Mozambique, we went to a children center run and created by a local Mozambican. She feeds the local children living in her community who do not have food or a safe place to stay. She lets them come to her house after school. The children in this center were found roaming the trash dumps. When I went to visit, I was greeted with signs, dancing, and lots of singing and laughter.
Pictures from my visit to the Sunshine Nut Company founded in 2011 by Don and Terry Larson. The Sunshine Approach™ aims to change Mozambique from the bottom up—bringing change from the bottom up. Their focus is on paying farmers a fair share, creating employment within Mozambique, and helping orphan and vulnerable children one cashew at a time. 30% of their profits go to supporting agriculture development, 30% go toward new food processing companies, and 30% go to caring for orphans. I love their business model and am excited to see this company grow.
Author of the book Look Me in the Eye, John Elder Robison share’s his experiences growing up as a boy with Asperger’s. So far, the story throughout has powerful messages and themes. Below, I highlighted a section I found particularly eye-opening as Robison shares the difficulties ‘Aspergians’ have with communication everyday. Aspergians don’t necessarily have an external sign of a disability, which can lead outside people to false conclusions or thoughts when interacting with a person with Asperger’s due to misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge about the disability. Robison aims to break this barrier by sharing an analogy about how society treats someone in a wheelchair compared to how someone would treat him with his own difficulties. He asks society to treat him with the same respect and wishes for compassion and grace for all.
“My conversational difficulties highlight a problem Aspergians face every day. A person with an obvious disability-for example, someone in a wheelchair-is treated compassionately because his handicap is obvious. No one turns to a guy in a wheelchair and says, “Quick! Let’s run across the street!” And when he can’t run across the street, no one says, “What’s his problem?” They offer to help him across the street. With me, though, there is no external sign that I am conversationally handicapped. So folks hear some conversational misstep and say, “What an arrogant jerk!” I look forward to the day when my handicap will afford me the same respect accorded to a guy in a wheelchair. And if the respect comes with a preferred parking space, I won’t turn it down.”
Passage taken from: Robison, John Elder. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s. New York: Crown, 2007. Pg 194.
I encourage society to treat all human beings with the same respect, dignity, and grace we all deserve. We must be careful not to jump to conclusions and understand the social difficulties people with Asperger’s face. I believe this will happen when people better understand what Asperger’s is and how social interaction is a struggle. We all struggle with communication and must extend grace to all.
As stated in a previous post, I highly recommend the book: “Look Me in the Eye” by John Elder Robinson to gain a better understanding on people with Aspergers.
“As sweet and funny and sad and true and heartfelt a memoir as one could find.”—from the foreword by Augusten Burroughs
“Look me in the eye” by John Elder Robison is a must read for anyone wishing to have a better understanding of people with Aspergers.
John Elder, a natural storyteller, remarkably shares a personal and detailed narrative of his life and his battles of feeling accepted by family, friends, and teachers who did not understand how his brain worked. He was not diagnosed until the age of 40 and was simply labeled as a “social deviant” growing up.
From overcoming his painful childhood, he persisted to become a successful business man repairing high-end cars. In his humorous, yet at times sad acount, John Elder creativly takes readers into the mind of an Asperger’s boy. This book will open up the minds and eyes of readers who may lack understanding or grace for people with Aspergers. This is a great summer read and is highly recommended.
A note from the author: “When I wrote “Look Me in the Eye”, I wanted to show readers what it was like to grow up feeling like a freak or a misfit. I thought my book would show how people with Asperger’s are different from everyone else. To my great surprise, my book actually shows the opposite: Deep down, people are very much the same”.
I agree with the author and would encourage all to buy and read this book! 🙂