doTERRA Wellness Advocate, Deanna Gordon, embarked on a life-changing adventure when she met a boy named Peter in 2012. Peter was a small malnourished boy from Monrovia, Liberia who was brought to the United States on an emergency medical Visa. As his body fought against symptoms of Malaria, he struggled to recover in a small hospital in Red Wing, MN.
While Peter was in the U.S., Deanna (Dee) met him through the Special Angels Adoption program. Her family eventually made the decision to adopt Peter. One year after signing intent papers to adopt, Dee and Peter were on their way to Monrovia to finalize the adoption process.
For the next seven weeks, Dee observed the extreme poverty of Liberia while getting to know many of the people in the community near Peter’s birthplace. One important person Dee became acquainted with was a local midwife and nurse, Marcia Stevens. Marcia and Dee often sat under the trees in the community courtyard to talk about the many needs of Liberia.
As a traditionally trained midwife, Dee felt especially motivated to support the cause of orphan care. Through their discussions, Dee and Marcia agreed that the best solution to orphan care is to ensure that families are able to stay healthy and alive to care for their own children. She thought, “It was too late for the thousands of children already in the system, but what if we could change the future for other kids?”
From this thought, The Hawa Project was born. The aim of this project is to offer support, skills, and supplies that will enable rural areas to provide trained support to women and children, in addition to other basic medical support. Dee knew that her two biggest passions, mothering and midwifery, had been born into her heart for a reason. Together, Marcia and Dee made plans to help the people of Liberia and kept in contact even when Dee returned to the states.
When the Ebola breakout hit Liberia, these two women came together again to think of ways to help during this sudden crisis. With assistance from several organizations, Dee helped procure funds to pay for shipping-related fees that would send a 40-foot container of medical relief and supplies to Monrovia. Marcia and her community worked together to empty and organize the thousands of pounds and hundreds of pallets of supplies when the container arrived.
Not only did Dee’s efforts (and the efforts of others) help during the Ebola breakout, but the programs that Dee and Marcia developed will benefit people of Liberia for many years to come. Though her initial goal was solely to adopt Peter, Dee had no way of knowing how her life—and the lives of others—would change forever.