Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

Friday, June 1, 2012

Reflections from the Queen Mother: An Evening at Hogan Lovells with King Peggy

By Eleanor Herman, Author of King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and How She Changed an African Village

Born into a land of prosperity with a strong social safety net, most of us Americans have no idea that half the world lives with no running water, poor or no education, no healthcare, and sometimes no food. Having spent several months in the village of Otuam in Ghana – one of Africa’s most prosperous nations – I can only imagine how impoverished the others are.

Since I returned home to my comfortable life in McLean, Va., I haven’t been able to look at anything the same. When I turn on the shower, when I open the refrigerator packed with food, when I start my car, when I look at the phone and know I can dial up an ambulance within minutes, even when I flush the toilet, I am thankful for these blessings and horrified that billions of people don’t have them. It came as a shocking revelation to me that so many people suffer and die needlessly in a world of abundance, while we thoughtlessly waste money on things we don’t really need.

What can one person (who is not named Bill Gates) do to help those who didn’t win the birth lottery? My first step was to donate an electric fresh water well, filtered against ground-borne contaminants, on Main Street, so the children of Otuam did not have to walk so far for water before school. But I do not have the funds to help the village in all the many ways it needs help. And while others have come forward to dig new wells, the lack of an ambulance truly disturbed me. My young Otuam interpreter’s sister died in the back of a taxi on the way to the hospital to give birth. She was 24 and left behind two children.

Fortunately, as a writer, I can get the word out, and my book King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and How She Changed an African Village is doing that.

Secondly, I can join with generous and compassionate people willing to help, such as those of Hogan Lovells.

Left to Right: Mahvesh Qureshi, Emily Yinger, Cristina Arumi, Eleanor Herman and Randy Segal with King Peggy

Last night, Hogan Lovells hosted an event in Washington, D.C., that has enabled Otuam to fund a life-saving ambulance, more fresh water, and much needed hospital supplies. They were helped by the generous corporate sponsors at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Elexis Inc., Fieldstone Partners, Iridium Communications Inc., Krauthamer & Associates, Inc., L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., NEXA Capital Partners LLC, and Xylem Inc., and a room filled with 100 individuals.

There is still so much left to do, and so many more children to help and villages to lift. Thank you to Hogan Lovells for what you have done.

Perhaps my sentiments are most aptly expressed in the timeless words of a budding literary genius whose own life was cut short by the world’s injustice:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” -- Anne Frank

No comments:

Post a Comment