Happiness: Service above self

This article inspired me on service above self.Its hares my common theme on the search for happiness through service to those in need. It demonstrates that the real happy people are those serving others. Its about a sense of purpose and living a life with a mission much more than our life’s treasures.The article is by Neal from Star Tribune in Minnesota.

 A driven executive found her next purpose

I need to get flies off the face of that girl

Article by: NEAL  St. Thomas of Star Tribune

Lori Pappas developed a knack for automating offices. In 1976, Olivetti hired Pappas as one of its first female sales reps. By 1980, the now-divorced single mother was supporting her kids selling Sperry Univac mainframes to manufacturers.

She launched her own software company in 1983 — JobBoss Software — serving small manufacturers and machine shops. The company made the Inc. 500 list of fast-growing private companies in 1991.

Pappas was named the Minnesota High Tech Association’s Entrepreneur of the Year among small enterprises in 1998. A year later, Pappas, then 50, sold her 100-plus employee business for $18.4 million in cash and stock to a British company. She netted several million from the transaction.

“The business had defined me,” Pappas, 62, recalled. “I was burned out and wanted to do something else.”

She bought a $1 million house on Seattle’s Puget Sound, took up golf, fancy dinner parties and exotic travel. On the outside, she appeared successful and happy. Inside she was “disconnected and empty.”

She had lost her purpose.

During several trips to Africa, she became fascinated by the indigenous people of Namibia, Angola, Niger and Ethiopia. The tribal people lived in huts and struggled to find food and water amid crop-killing droughts.

“Yet, they experience true joy with each other and their community,” Pappas observed. One day in 2006, a young girl in Niger with flies in her eyes and sores on her face approached Pappas to ask for a water bottle.

Pappas had found her next purpose. “This time it was to help others,” recalled Pappas.

Once again the driven executive, Pappas spent more than $300,000 researching, interviewing experts and studying development aid in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008 she launched nonprofit Global Team for Local Initiatives (www.gtli.us).

“I realized that I could use my business and networking skills to help indigenous people help themselves to a healthier, better life,” Pappas said. “I needed to get the flies off the face of that girl.”

Today, the Puget Sound house is for sale and Pappas has moved to Northfield, Minn., closer to her children and grandchildren. She struck a strategic relationship with retired Navy Adm. William Fallon. He introduced her to influential leaders at development agencies such as CARE and Save the Children.

Her Global Team, which employs 25 Ethiopians, is focused on a tribe of 15,000 pastoralists called the Hamar in the southwest corner of Ethiopia. The tribe is surrounded by political instability, drought, disease and malnutrition. A male-dominated culture shunned female equality and basic hygiene. The encroaching desert and closed borders mean the Hamar can no longer herd livestock as they once did.

Papas, with the eventual, grudging approval of male chiefs whom she cultivated over months, is working through a cadre of emerging female leaders on issues of literacy, human rights for women and girls, clean water, hygiene and sanitation, small-scale agriculture, a jewelry business and a Hamar-based trading system.

She spends about eight months each year in Ethiopia and four months in the United States fundraising and planning.

Living in extreme conditions, eating little and enjoying a rare shower with just a “trickle of water,” Pappas said, are rewarded by small progress, such as seeing women with a growing voice in village councils, earning money and leading education and health classes.

Rewarded with joy

“Joy comes when I apply the skills and confidence I gained during my career to the tangled issues of helping people help themselves in this remote land,” she said.

Pappas, who doesn’t take a salary, also has benefited from several U.S. AID grants. She uses incentives, such as chickens for families who agree to use new pit latrines away from the new wells and crops. Dysentery and related diseases are starting to decline. Women are able to spend more time raising small crops, learning, and less time walking miles to polluted wells for water.

“Before Lori came, we were worse off than the baboons in the jungle,” a Hamar woman told a Global Team publication. “We were sold into marriage, had no rights, no voice and forced to do all the work. Just a commodity to be used.”

Fallon, a big supporter, believes U.S. national security is partly rooted in our ability to help people in developing countries achieve a better life. Other Pappas supporters include a couple of dozen Rotary Clubs and a growing network of individual admirers.

Martha Paas, an economics professor, and Faress Bhuiyan, a developmental economist at Carleton College, have enlisted other faculty to help develop curriculum on the Hamar and grass-roots development. Bhuiyan and Carleton student interns are researching Global Team’s work, including extended site visits next year to study the model and results.

“Lori is a numbers person and quite capable, and she began collecting data early on,” Paas said. “Our students can use the data.”



19 comments on “Happiness: Service above self

  1. Wow. What a statement on having a purpose driven life. Thank you.

  2. willofheart says:

    this post is really inspiring and motivating ….. and truly uplift the heart and soul whoever read this… thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. granbee says:

    Lori Pappas is one of my new heroines and role models, Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this here. I KNOW it made YOU happy, right?

    • gethappy says:

      No doubt Granbee,this story brought me alot of joy to find some one living the happiness dream I address my self to in my blog.This kind of stories enforces the belief in me that I have a worthy and purposeful blog. She is my hero too,I worked for development aid in Africa and admire her grassroot approach to development work.It shows a lot of respect to the culture and ways of the people she is serving.

  4. Judy says:

    What a wonderful story. This is the kind of thing many of us wish we could do. Well written. Thanks for posting.

    • gethappy says:

      Judy, welcome to my blogg. I am glad you have enjoyed this post.I look forward to sharing with you all moving stories and inspirational blog posts that inspires us to take action in the direction of Happiness.Wish you alot of joy and Happiness in the New Year 2012 🙂

  5. My Homepage says:

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  6. I agree that the key to happiness comes through our willingness and ability to care and reach out to others. We need each other, and we help ourselves when we help others. In this, our own compassion can be a instrument of great healing for ourselves. Great article. Blessings, Celeste.
    Thanks for the like and the follow! 🙂

  7. I dugg some of you post as I cerebrated they were very beneficial very beneficial

  8. Levitra says:

    Thank you for blogging. That’s the most awesome article I have found about this.

  9. Great site. A lot of useful info here. I’m sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!

    • gethappy says:

      You have all the freedom to share as much as you like my writings.My goal is to reach out to as many people as possible and bring them in my Happiness Nest. Thanks for the offer and for appreciating my writing.Cheers my new friend 🙂

  10. Some really superb posts on this site, thanks for contribution.

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