"A contagion of hope" is a phrase that has been ringing in my ears for the past month. It's a phrase our Landmine Design team has coined and used to ponder what we see happening in a little village on the edge of Cambodia. They are words that stand in conflict with each other.
The word 'contagion' is most commonly used to describe the spreading of a horrible disease, or a harmful idea or practice. Even the spelling of the word is a bit repulsive to me. I want to steer clear of any kind of contagion (I even saw the movie Contagion once…ew). So, it seems kind of ridiculous to associate it so close to the word hope. And that word "hope"? It's a pretty word, isn't it? Yet it seems severely misplaced sitting in the same space as the loathsome word contagion. It's also strange because it's not just any common hope. The hope we’re describing lies in the middle of a MineField. What?! The word contagion fits into the realm of a minefield, but hope? Not so much. The two words could be an oxymoron, or a misunderstanding of meanings, or a typo at the very least.
At LandMine Design, we are seeing a different definition for contagion take place. It is a contagion, or a spreading, of hope. We believe contagions don’t have to always spread evil disease; they can spread something beautiful.
This month, we’re telling the stories about working to prevent human slavery in one of the most trafficked places on the globe. The reality is, sharing these stories is important to build awareness. But, they are also important for us to propel action. You see, working actively to prevent human slavery is difficult. I don’t say that to garner sympathy or manipulate support. I say it because our stories don’t always have a pretty bow on top with a happy, shallow ending. Sometimes our stories end in really hard places. Sometimes the contagion overpowers hope and reverts back to spreading evil instead of hope. I usually don’t want to share those stories. I want for you, our customers and supporters, to hear of the amazing things happening, of ways we are winning the battles against slavery, of success stories that prove the work is impacting and creating sustainable results for women/children/families in dire need. I want for you to only hear of the stories that represent the Contagion of Hope we see happening. Those are the stories that are easy to tell. But, sometimes the stories don’t end that way. Sometimes the results are not tied neatly. Sometimes our work is plain messy. And many times we fail, or at the very least, make impacting mistakes.