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Think We – Day 1:

September 23, 2010

In the week leading up to Free the Children‘s We Day, I will be posting one reason each day why I “think WE.” This is day one.

Two and a half years ago, I spent the afternoon volunteering at an after-school program for children who work in the streets in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. There was a little girl participating in the program that day whom I will never forget. The fact that she was in the program meant that she was one of the city’s poorest children. She was small – maybe six or seven years old – and we couldn’t speak the same language, apart from a few words.

At the end of the half day we spent together, she waited outside the centre to give all 25 volunteers a hug goodbye. In a few short hours, she had managed to make a connection with each and every one of us. (I can’t help thinking of a deceptively simple line from Howard’s End: only connect.) This little girl is a big reason why I reach out, why I volunteer, why I feel restless and uneasy when I’m not doing something to help. She was my first encounter with extreme poverty, and I remember marveling that, despite everything, she was so full of joy and compassion. And she had taken the time to share a bit of it with each one of us.

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