Hi. I’m an entrepreneur.
Welcome to my blog.
It’s called Love and Landmines because I’ve found that as a founder, almost everything interesting that I stare down is either an act of love, or a response to a landmine. Often both.
The distinction hit me one day 10 years ago, when I and at least two dozen other humans, male and female alike, crouched in the middle of a open road to piss and shit on the potholed asphalt.
The only thing we had to shelter us was the janky old schoolbus we’d been riding on as we crossed the border from Zambia to Angola.
All around us, the hilly brambled savannah of Angola stretched as far as we could see. There were hundreds of bushes to give us shelter, dozens of trees to crouch behind.
So why didn’t we do the civilized thing and hide our bare butts behind those bushes?
There were so many uncleared landmines in Angola, you couldn’t even step off the road itself.
And so we crouched, in all our humanity. On any other day, it would have been humiliating. But THAT day wasn’t any other day. That day was a special day. It was in fact the most significant day of each of those people’s lives.
It was the day that people who were born as refugees were finally going home. Home to a country that most had never stepped foot in. Home to a country riddled with landmines and plagued by war. Home to a country that was amongst the poorest in the world.
They barely registered their own embarrassment because it was dwarfed by their pride and anticipation.
It was not a uniquely positive victory. The refugees had no idea what they’d find when they got home. They had no idea if their villages were still in tact or their relatives were still alive. Some had no memories of their homeland, and barely spoke their own language.
None of these former refugees were forced to return home. All of them raised their hands and asked to be taken across the border from Zambia, where they had lived for decades in peace and security, with food and shelter, and a higher standard of living than most could expect in returning to Angola.
Not a soul wasn’t scared of what lay ahead.
Despite the fear, there was an ecstasy in the air that I’d never before felt. As these erstwhile refugees soothed their souls by signing songs from a homeland that had long been a home, I felt an intensity of human experience that has shaped me ever since.
I learned that day that sometimes we choose the road with the landmines, even when we have the option of an easier path.
Sometimes there’s a higher power at play.
Sometimes, love trumps landmines.
When I look back at my life, I see a clear pattern of choosing the path with the landmines over the easier way. It’s not the landmines that drive me though.
It’s the love.
Often in life, uncovering the love requires wading through our pain. Diving through our fears, doubts, and setbacks. Swimming through seas of illusion to arrive at the universe of real options.
I’m starting this blog because I’ve held too many stories too close to my chest over the years. I’ve been afraid of the landmines that speaking up – as an entrepreneur, as a woman, as a deeply flawed human being – can come with.
But this is a journey about choosing love. If any of my stories, musings, or learnings can help another entrepreneur, another woman, or another flawed human – they are worth sharing.