PAY DAY Thursdays: Paying it Forward, featuring Michele D’Acosta

So here we are again with another Pay Day Thursday.

I have been so enjoying doing these Thursdays and having the opportunity to work with so many fabulous artists.
This week I would like to introduce you to Michele.  http://micheledacosta.wordpress.com/ She is a beautiful person with a fantastic heart and spirit.  Her photography and poetry is mystical and engaging.
We came together to collaborate on a cause and a poem.

Please take a moment to get to know Michele.

Image

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Michele D’Acosta and I was born in England. I have mixed heritage – Caribbean and Jewish.

What is your blog primarily about and why did you decide to start blogging?

My blog is a celebration of creativity, the desire to connect with kindred spirits; and, hopefully, a contribution to building a community of poets on WordPress. http://micheledacosta.wordpress.com/

What is your day job?

I wear a few different hats. I’m a BBC-trained professional filmmaker, an executive for a charity called The Peace Project and co-owner of an animation and computer games company.

What accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

In 2012, going out with my colleagues onto the streets of Sierra Leone and putting crutches into the hands of disabled people who, up until that moment, had been supporting themselves with dilapidated crutches made of wood or, even worse, these disabled people had been crawling on the ground to get from point A to point B.

If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you what did you achieve?

To have succeeded in giving micro loans to thousands of disabled people in Sierra Leone to start their own micro-businesses producing and selling crutch tips to extend the life of crutches that over one million war victims in Africa rely on for their personal mobility.

What do you believe happens to us after we die?

Interesting question. I’ve had a couple of near-death experiences. I believe that after we die we have choices about what to do next… in the same way that we choose what to do with our waking life.

What is it that you absolutely couldn’t live without?

I couldn’t live without hope.

How would you describe yourself as a child?

As a child I couldn’t wait to grow up and be free!

What makes your heart sing?

I sponsor the medical expenses and education of a 21-year-old Sierra Leonean called Musa Mansaray. During the 10-year civil war in his country, Musa was shot and left for dead in the African bush. When he writes to me his letters start out with the words, “Hi mum….”

What do you do to relax after a long, busy day?

Close my eyes and dream. Based on those dreams, I wake up the next morning and take another step or two…or three.

Michele is passionate about a cause that I would like to share with you. I asked her to prepare a write up to lead us into the back ground on the photo that we selected to write our poem on.  Michele wrote the first half of the poem and I did the second half.

Scattered across Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, stand dilapidated two-story wooden houses. The board houses are a reconstruction of the cabins built in the 18th century on the American eastern seaboard, a reminder of the country’s past as a colony that was established for freed slaves.

This West African nation is rich in some of the world’s most valuable resources like gold and diamonds. During the 1990s, a group called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) began brutally attacking villages to gain control of diamond mines. Rebel forces had a horrific name for their mission: “Operation Destroy Every Living Thing.” The rebels were notorious for murdering, raping, and chopping off limbs of tens of thousands of civilians. Not even children were spared. More than 50,000 lives were lost, and Sierra Leone became the poorest nation on earth.

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Photo taken by Michele D’Acosta

HOUSE OF BLUES

written by Michele D’Acosta and Jennifer David

In the sweet
and sour house

Silence grows
plentiful in
the cracks of
the blue
landmark

fallen into
neglect.

Where are
the owners?

Are the dreaming?

Are the shutters
closed

to shut out
the light?

This is Freetown,
Sierra Leone,
where freed slaves
were shipped in from
Jamaica, Canada
and Great Britain.

At various times,
the battles came.

Rebel wars and
civil wars.

New
scars on the
landscape.

In Sierra Leone
everything is
broken.

In pieces
strew apart.

 ∞

Mostly in the hearts

Of it’s people

A beautiful image to some

The harsh reality of existence for many

What is art?

Rejected, neglected with the value of art

Creativity stifled worlds apart

From us

Yet close to us

Real to us,

Because of us

Freed but not to freedom

Freed to the sweet and sour

In the blue tinted house

That was abandoned

Even when it was inhabited

©Michele D’Acosta and Jennifer David 2013

I want to thank Michele for all of her fabulous work and for taking the time to share her passion and cause with us.  I would also like to thank her for shedding some light onto this on going tragedy that is still occurring in Sierra Leone.  If you would like to help in the cause please contact Michele through her blog http://micheledacosta.wordpress.com/or send me an email and I can direct you to her.

Please think about what you’ve read here today, your resources and what you can do to help.  Make a difference how and where you can.

For another poem on the diamond mines written by myself please click here Wetted Diamond

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41 comments

  1. NOAEfame

    I think you have the kind of heart that can renew my own spirit. This is what poetry is all about. For the beautiful at hearts. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Carpenter's Quill

    Both of you are so inspiring. Your rhythm with words are absolutely beautiful! Michele, my heart yearns as yours does for that of the oppressed and helpless. Much respect to you and your efforts! I enjoyed this you two! Well done!

  3. Michele D'Acosta

    Jennifer, thank you with all my heart. I’m so moved by the depth of your generosity. It was a wonderful experience to collaborate with you and feel how much you are touched by this cause. Wishing you every possible success for your great work. Peace and much love. Michele

  4. tonekinchloe

    this blog made my day and is the perfect ending to my work week. Not only was inspiring but equally as beautiful to read about a person so involved with helping others! Thanks for sharing this and will be following Michele’s blog.. pEaCe

    • Beauty Along the Road

      Michele – I am so touched by your commitment to make a significant difference in traumatized people’s lives. I believe that micro loans make a great difference in poor people’s lives. Too bad, the World Bank and other aid organization still believe (or pretend to believe) in the trickle-down effect that actually only benefits the multi-national companies and a few top officials in the country being targeted. It is the actions of each individual that can truly spread magical ripple effects into the world. I have collected and shipped barrels of books to various places in the world where there were no books and have made a very small difference that way. I try to educate, inform and widen people’s views thru my blogs and other writings… but it still seems like something larger is waiting for me to jump into. I just don’t know yet what. Blessings, Annette.
      BTW, the uncle of my first husband (now, ex-) who is from the Caribbean, returned to Sierra Leone decades ago and was never heard from again. I almost went on a volunteer trip to Sierra Leone in l980 through Operation Crossroads, but at the last moment that got changed because of beginning political unrest. I ended up spending a summer in Ghana which changed my world view!

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      It is indeed. The poem was co written by both myself and Michele. She wrote the first half and I wrote the second.
      We we’re happy to share the issue with our readers.
      When there is light, hopefully people can begin to see.
      Jennifer

  5. peacewisdomprosperity

    Thank you so much Jennifer & Michele for sharing this beautiful, enlightening and inspiring post and poem with us. It is so heartwarming to see there are truly GOOD people out there, it gives me hope 🙂

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      As Michele so wisely said ‘The one thing she couldn’t live without is hope.’
      I am very glad to hear that you enjoyed this post. This is the reason that I began my Pay Day Thursdays.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      Jennifer

  6. Baldy

    Dear Jennifer, the pair of you are inspiring individuals, I truly feel blessed to have met you both and fully appreciate you and Michelle as talented writers and creative artists. I think your pay it forward is a magnificent enterprise and no matter how long I am absent from commenting, please know that I admire your poetry and spirit. Sincere best wishes and kind regards from Baldy 🙂

  7. Pingback: PAY DAY Thursdays: Paying it Forward, featuring Michele D’Acosta #Poetry #SierraLeone #Africa | johndwmacdonald

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