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Make A Way written by: Stephanie Collins

The shock hit him quickly. Almost as quickly as the blood hitting the dirt. Steady drops rushing through and out of his system. Then,...that familiar wave of fear. That one that seemed to crest with every cut or wound-big or small. Would this be the one? Would this be the injury that stopped his ability to work and earn for good?

Street kids like him knew what injuries like this meant. Loss of work and food at best and a death sentence at worst. He'd somehow already survived multiple untreated infections and living in non-stop pain was certainly not new to him. He let his eyes take in the now-still plow, his brain take in his thumb, his lungs take in a breath and his heart let out the prayer for the miracle he'd undoubtedly need to survive.*

Francis Avoyi's thumb is without its full use as he and his wife, Benedict, hand the food out to the local orphans and street children-checking on them as they go. Decades have passed since the plow accident, and they remain steadfast in their resolve to eliminate similar or worse fates for children like him.

This family and company-wide dream shows itself evident in many ways, but none so close to home as their daughter, Grace, going to school for Pharmacology. Generous donations from you have allowed for her to attend the nearest school, in Senegal, with a year's tuition of 6k (USD) fully covered. Her end goal is to return to Togo and open a pharmacy that will provide consistent, accessible and life-giving medicine. Francis and Benedict have correlating dreams of opening the very first dialysis clinic in all of Togo, and a free emergency clinic for orphans and street children that currently have no available help or care.

As the majority of us are not going to be called to physically open or work in a pharmacy in Togo (just ask my kids about my homemade Elderberry syrup to confirm my lack of call), this perhaps will leave you with the internal quandary of "So what can I do?" One of my favorite stories from Hollywood recalls Ella Fitzgerald not getting booked by any clubs or television due to being Black. Marilyn Monroe, upon learning this, offered to come to a nightclub every night, sitting down in the front row-if-Ella were the one up on stage singing. I think it's important that we note, Marilyn didn't get up on stage and sing Ella's songs for her. Rather, she used what was at her disposal: her power, influence and name, to allow for Ella to blaze a trail. She made a way, for Ella to make a way. We can make a way, for the people of Togo to make a way.

We might not be the pharmacist like Grace, we might not work as a Doctor in that someday emergency clinic, we might not ever even step foot on the soil of Togo. But-we can use what is at our disposal, to help make a way.

· With a population of 8.6 million and 380 doctors in the entirety of Togo, they don't have the luxury we often utilize to get a second opinion. But we can make a way for them to get a first opinion.

· With under the age of five deaths being 16,919 annually, they don't have the luxury to google or compare notes-taking time to shop for a pediatrician. But we can make a way for them to see a pediatrician before it's too late.

· With the annual income averaging 990 USD a year, they don't have the luxury of picking and choosing through healthcare plans. But we can make a way for them to have the security of healthcare.

If you'd like to help make a way in Togo, we'd be honored if you would consider becoming an annual or monthly partner.

*Fictionalized version of real events

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