One year. One hundred thousand dollars.
It sounds like a dream, or a twisted prank. But this is no joke. Gold Peak Tea is offering $100,000 and a year off to one deserving candidate. It is a chance to relax and rejuvenate, or to pursue some ambition, or realize some goal. This is a once in a lifetime offer, and I have a BIG imagination. So here goes the wildest, most exciting and ambitious $100,000 Year:
The Birth Connection
As a trained birth doula and aspiring midwife, I am passionate about reproductive health and positive birthing. I believe in a woman’s power and innate ability to bear her babies (at least without, though sometimes in spite of, pre-existing conditions); I believe in the sacredness of menstruation and all aspects of fertility; I believe in sex-positive education; I believe in the wisdom of our bodies.
The first two months of my year would focus on creating a comprehensive database and online social network of doulas, midwives, parents, politicians, anthropologists, social workers, yogis, professors, students, artists, media experts, and writers. We would develop a virtual forum and an unprecedented platform on which to discuss sex, birthing, bodies, gender politics, and reproductive rights. The network’s mission would outline clear, actionable goals to foster ongoing, international dialogue on the above topics. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google + would be employed to maximize connectedness.
Stage 1 Costs: $0
The Birth Conference
With a comprehensive network well underway, I would spend the next four months planning an international conference. The conference would focus on maternal and infant mortality and the power of positive birthing. Sierra Leone and Afghanistan have the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios (number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.) Ideally we would host the conference in one of these countries, which would require tireless strategic planning and cooperation on the part of politicians, diplomats, NGOs, anthropologists, and local grassroots organizations.
The three-day conference would feature speakers, panels, and breakout workshops aimed at addressing the global crisis of maternal and infant mortality through education, women’s rights, and medical anthropology. That means: how to train local midwives and doulas in communities that suffer from particularly high MMR rates and restricted medical access, the need to encourage local governments and schools (worldwide!) to support sex-positive and women-positive values, and how to work with doctors, midwives and local healers to envision a new medical model that is as wise as it is effective.
Stage 2 Costs: $10,000 Airfare for our team, $10,000 Food and Paraphernalia, $10,000 Other Stuff I Would Know About If I Regularly Planned Conferences
The Birth Center
After a successful conference, my team of positive birthing strategists would begin work to open a birth center wherever there is the greatest need (in Sierra Leone or Afghanistan). The aim: to create a space in which to train local midwives and doulas, accommodate expecting mothers for their births, and welcome teenagers and young adults for classes on reproductive health, self-care, and parenting. Anthropologists and grassroots organizations would be critical at this stage to ensure our project be executed with utmost respect, intelligence, and efficacy.
The greatest expenses in this stage would be land and building costs for the physical center, labor and travel costs for our contributing doctors and midwives who would help train the first round of birth workers, and medical supplies. We would enlist the support of local organizations and community members to create, decorate, and promote the space. And hopefully, with time, money, love, and cooperation, we would find ourselves six months later with a building, a group of soon-to-be-fully-trained midwives, and the promise of a thriving birth and community center.
Stage 3 Costs: $60,000 Land, Building, Training, Etc. – Yes, I’m an optimist.
Misc. Costs: $10,000 Antonia’s Coffee, Cat Food and Bus Fare
This is my passion and my sketch of a challenging, ambitious, and potentially rewarding year. What’s your passion? What would you do with $100,000 and a year off? Dream big, and ask not what is probable, but what is possible.