Live Below The Line: My Journey To Africa

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This week we have decided to donate 10% of all sales to support Live Below The Line, a fundraising campaign shedding light on those living in extreme poverty around the world. Our founder, Danielle Sobel, shares her story below on why this issue means so much to her.   2 years ago I embarked on a month long journey to Ghana, a small bustling country in West Africa. As a teenager, while many of my friends were dreaming of visiting the Bahamas, I was daydreaming of visiting a continent I knew someway, somehow would change my life. It wasn't until I graduated college that I had the opportunity to volunteer at an orphanage in a small town called Oduong Ofaakor. During my short time there that I was able to experience first hand the poverty that effects billions of people around the world. I had glimpses of similar poverty stricken areas in Brazil and Haiti but was never given the opportunity to live amongst villagers and immerse myself into their daily lives. I thought I was going to go there to make a difference, to change a child's life. Little did I know, they would be the ones changing mine.

After a long flight from NYC, my friend Samantha and I finally arrived in Accra, Ghana. Once settling in to a volunteer home we were to be sent out the next day to our designated orphanages for the remainder of the trip. We took a long, bumpy journey through town after town until we arrived at Good Shepard Orphanage located in a small town outside of Kasoa. As we unloaded our belongings the children rushed towards us, yelling and jumping with enthusiasm for the two newest additions to their community. Before we were even given a chance to unpack or walk around, there were dozens of children in our room, dancing on our beds, asking us to read them books, asking to take their photos, to put on our sunglasses, to hug them, to pick them up, to just spend some time, any time. It was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. I was thrilled to get to share my knowledge and love and compassion with children who needed it most.

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As the month went by Samantha and I did everything from cook, to clean, to help the children with homework. Some would leave school in the middle of the day just to come to our room and have us read to them or show us what they've been working on for the day. One day, a few of the children wanted to show us their rooms and were very excited to do so. We walked through the grounds to arrive at the children's quarters on the opposite side of the kitchen area. As we entered the room, one child named Romeo pointed to a bottom bunk consisting of a single, pee-soaked mattress free from sheets, a pillow or any other item that typically constitutes the term "bed" and claimed, excitedly "Thats mine!" I played along with his enthusiasm but inside was feeling shocked and heart broken. This incident was one of many that became constant reminders during my trip, and my life, of the struggles and circumstances billions of people live with each day.

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Villagers homes in Cape Coast 

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 5.50.04 PM The kitchen at the orphanage. Many times we witnessed children fight over scraps of leftover food while countries like the US throw away millions of pounds of food each year.

Living amongst these children humbles you in a way you didn't think was possible. Through their adversity they remain compassionate to one another, loving, intelligent and hold a deep understanding of what it means to enjoy the many things we tend to take for granted. Relationships, friends, food on the table, a place to sleep at night, an education. Billions of people around the world live in these, and worse, conditions. As a society that has so much power to do so much good, I feel it is our obligation to stand up for those who do not have the power to fight for themselves.

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As a company, my hope is to continue using Juice Society as a positive platform to support causes we truly believe in. Poverty is one of them. Join us this week as we donate 10% of all sales to support Live Below the Line and Rainforest Partnership. Thank you for helping us change the world, one bottle at a time.

Danielle Sobel | Owner, Juice Society | Danielle@juice-society.com