This morning was a foggy morning here in Cincinnati, much like the one above. I didn’t take this picture, it’s from here. I also didn’t see this exact image as this shot was taken from Kentucky, but I did drive along the river to a board meeting this morning, so I got to see the fog floating along the grand Ohio River. It was a beautiful morning, and a good one for some quiet thought.
I am getting ready to experience some big changes in my life. I am due to have a baby in about three weeks. It is our first child, so we are wondering what it will be like, experiencing some anxiety, but overall very excited about it. It is a grand new adventure that we have been thinking about for some years, so we are overjoyed that the moment will finally arrive. We will be parents!
While I have been pregnant, I have been thinking hard about my position at Nuru and my future here. I have made the very tough decision to move on to something different career-wise after the baby comes. This brings me back to this foggy morning: I have accepted a job at a startup that is based here in Ohio so that I can travel a bit less and spend a bit more time here in my home. I love the work that Nuru does, but my personal situation for the last couple of years has made travel to Kenya an impossibility, and that has been very difficult. I have been away from the front lines of what Jake calls our fight against extreme poverty, and that makes my job harder than it should be. I can only imagine that having a little squealing infant will make travel to Kenya even less frequent than it is now.
I had the opportunity to talk to a young man who is interested in potentially starting a career in international development yesterday. It was great to talk to him about Nuru’s approach to the problem of extreme poverty, and to describe the lessons we have learned over the last four years. It has been an amazing experience to work in an environment like Nuru’s. We innovate and are “nimble”, but we have structure and we prioritize good management and leadership of our people. As I explore the world of for-profit start-ups, I have learned that it is quite amazing to have both of these aspects of an organizational make-up present in one place! That is what we get for being founded by an entrepreneurial Marine: an organization that chases cool dreams in an organized and structured way. Pretty great.
I will miss many things about Nuru. I know from past experiences of making big life changes that I can’t even define what all I will miss – there will be things I nostalgically think about in the weeks and months to come that I might not now think of fondly. I know for a fact now that I will miss the people, their intelligence and tenacity and fun-ness, I will miss the innovation, and I will miss the exciting global mission.
Nuru truly gave me a totally different view of life on earth for humans that will never go away from my consciousness. To go into the home of someone who lives on another end of a spectrum of access to resources and consumption of them, put his or her baby in your lap, share a pot of chai with them, and discuss life and what they experience on a daily and yearly basis is an amazing lesson in surface-differences, and much more importantly and profoundly, absolute and deep similarities.
These similarities might be what my old meditation teacher would call the capital-T Truth: that there is just one thing on earth.
To learn what that one thing is, one must search far and wide, both within and without.
Nuru gave me an opportunity to conduct that search, and thus changed me forever.
Thank you, Nuru.