I KNEW that even in the midst of the chaos in the village, God was present and all-powerful.
I HAD JUST ARRIVED IN GUÉRIN-KOUKA to meet up with a few other Peace Corps volunteers. We had been working together in Togo to organize an annual four-day event called "Take Our Daughters to Work Week." For the event, each of us chose motivated elementary-school and middle-school girls from our villages to bring to the larger towns to meet with successful women. We wanted to encourage the girls to stay in school and show them the practical benefits of education. Most of them had never had the opportunity to travel outside their villages. Many of them weren't even aware that women could run their own businesses or work as bankers or school directors.
After college, my love of other cultures and my desire to make a difference in the world led me to join the Peace Corps. I was a bit of an idealist with an appetite for adventure. So I accepted a two-year assignment in Togo, West Africa, working for a girls' education and empowerment program. While the area I was assigned to had a reputation for being on the brink of violent conflict between two tribes, all I had experienced was harmony and openness from the people I met and worked with.