Working Nomad

Rocky Dawuni – Clean Cooking Ambassador

rockyLet me introduce you to Rocky Duwani. He is Ghana’s Bob Marley. He is also the official UN Foundation Ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Unlike many other celebrity “Ambassadors” that I have encountered, his passion and commitment  for clean cooking is evident and makes him a true ambassador.

We were surprised last night with an incredible performance by Rocky at the Clean Cooking Forum 2015. He has been attending the Forum and has been very accessible and down to earth. I’ve certainly never been to a conference that had the entire crowd dancing to reggae. It was a treat. Clark was a trouper and fell asleep as we danced.

One of Rocky’s songs is Extraordinary Woman. When the song came on, my partner Adam responded, “What does Extraordinary Woman have to do with cookstoves?” Of course, my passionate response was “EVERYTHING!” Though much to my surprise, Adam has taken over most of the cooking in our house, women are predominately the cooks around the world, and in Africa almost exclusively so.

Women suffer disproportionately from the health consequences of indoor air pollution that is caused by traditional methods of three-stone/open-fire cooking, which is used by one out of three people on earth. With 4.3 million people dying each year from the health related impacts of indoor air pollution, not to mention the time spent by women and girls collecting fire wood, we need to do more to protect our extraordinary women.

I am proud to be representing InStove at the Forum and am incredibly inspired by the potential for creating real positive change in this world.

Thanks Rocky! Keep up the great work and I hope to meet you again soon. You are welcome in Portland, Oregon!

Miel
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Clean Cooking Form 2015

Ghana-Social-Media_Kofi_AnnanGoing back to Ghana feels like the stars have aligned to have me meet so many incredible Africans at once. Not only will I be going back to Ghana, but I will also be doing so in both professional and personal capacities. I will be attending the Clean Cooking Forum 2015 next week. I will be meeting many individuals who I have encountered remotely but have never met. I will share with you as I meet them, hopefully. I’ve never been as excited for an actual conference and who the attendees would be.

When the Black Stars played in the South Africa World Cup in 2010, I remember thinking that Ghana was a small enough place, that I was likely to meet Stephen Appiah. Low and behold, he will be attending the Forum.

We will also be meeting with Wanjira Mathai, Wangari Maathai’s daughter, and head of the Wangari Maathai Foundation. Wangari won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for the founding of the Greenbelt Movement and I heard her speak that year in DC. Wangari also wrote The Challenge for Africa, which I found to be one of my very favorites in a long line of African literature. Clark loves the children’s book written about her work as well. I’m glad to have the opportunity to have Clark meet such people.

The gathering will feature more than 400 leaders from 28 countries who are working to build a global market for clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is hosting the global Clean Cooking Forum 2015 in Accra, Ghana – the first time it has been held in West Africa. We will come together to share strategies for accelerating growth of the clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels markets around the world.

I look forward to representing InStove, as the cleanest, safest, most efficient stove on earth. I am enjoying thinking of the potential opportunities there might be for an InStove in my village. It would also be cool to get an InStove to be a part of a Peace Corps project in Ghana. We’ll keep you posted on progress. If you know of any opportunities for us to collaborate with anyone while we are in Ghana, please let us know.

Regards,

Miel (& Adam)
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End of An Era

Today marks the end of an era. After nearly six year, I’ve completed my work with International Medical Corps. It’s been really a tremendous experience. I’ve been very fortunate to have enjoyed a career where I both truly enjoy what I do while helping to make a difference in people’s lives.

 

During my time with IMC I’ve grown a great deal and look back at many incredible times. I’ve worked with incredible people from more countries than I could possibly list out. Thanks go out to all of my outstanding colleagues.

I’ve also traveled to DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Turkey, and the Philippines. As people who know me well already know, some of my times in DRC were my fondest with IMC.

Below is a pic from two years ago while I was on a business trip to Turkey. I was sent it recently reminding me of a new era presenting itself. I’m looking forward to this next phase as much as I have enjoyed the last.

miel turkey 2012Be well,

Miel

 

Grounded

keep-calm-because-you-re-grounded

I hit a new threshold yesterday. I was in a meeting discussing new business opportunities in Asia. The conversation brought up the need for someone to go out to Myanmar to work on a couple of proposals for a month. I sat there, contemplating. I first did the math, knowing that my twin sis will be here for a visit in 22 days. Nope, couldn’t do a month. Then the anti went down, perhaps they could manage with someone just for two weeks. Hmmm, could almost fit within that window of time.

Then I snapped out of it. I considered what else I would miss during that time, birthing classes, getting the nursery together, working on our blogs, selling one of our investment places, spring time. No, I should definitely not open my mouth.

The conversation continued. No one raised the specific possibility of my going, but it was clear that everyone in the room considered at some point. Only to remember that I’m pregnant, having finally popped in the last couple of weeks as I move into month 7.

Technically I had put my travel cut off as a vague sometime in March. Deep down I know that my not saying something was more a matter of my sister coming to visit than any concern for my pregnancy, but it serves as a convenient excuse. I would never say that I couldn’t go because of something personal like a family visit, but being pregnant gives me the free pass. The only other time I’ve had a free pass was when I was dealing with melanoma several years ago. I knew it was a sad reality when I realized the only reason I wasn’t traveling the the famine in the Horn of Africa was because I had cancer, no other reason would have kept me stateside.

Despite the fact that Myanmar would be a place I would love to visit, I feel nothing but happy for staying here. I’ll be in Washington for a full six months at one stint, nearly the longest I can say that has happened. I think I made it 9 months here, back when I first moved to Washington a decade ago, but sticking in one place hasn’t been my forte. Looking forward to the next four months to settle and enjoy being grounded!

Cheers,

Miel