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The "I" Is for International

Beth Ayers
Plano TX USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 6, December 2005-January 2006, p. 140.

Sometimes I begin a Series Group Meeting with the phrase, "All over the world, La Leche League Groups are meeting just like we are." However, by the time I get home, I'm focused on my own little corner of the world. I love the feelings that an LLLI Conference can evoke. How fabulous it is to sit down to lunch with men and women from six continents! Yet this opportunity is rare. When it comes to everyday thinking, I haven't usually focused on the "I" in LLLI -- until recently. Not long ago, when I checked my email, there was a note from an unexpected sender. Valérie Thibert-Marchandeau wrote to me from France. Obviously, we share some common interests as LLL Leaders. These interests go deeper because we both are thrilled to be part of the Leader Accreditation Department. However, Valérie wrote to me because she learned of another shared interest. We both are passionate about writing, especially writing poetry.

Valérie, fortunately, writes quite well in English, so we emailed several times. Then, as a US tragedy began to unfold to the world, Valérie's writer's instinct became a driving force. She began a poem and asked me to add to it. She wrote more, and I wrote more. We worked together until it felt right. There is a wonderful feeling that emerges from a shared effort. Valérie offered her thoughts:

You know, this work we have done together I feel is a beautiful symbol. We are two women of different countries, different continents. I have never seen you, and you don't know me. But we can work together, feeling the same emotions, because we are two LLLI Leaders. That's all, and that's enough, and that's LLL (community)!

What a wonderful reminder this has been that La Leche League is International! Everywhere La Leche League Leaders share a commitment to mothers and babies. We know how to work together. The whole world is our community.


by Valérie Thibert-Marchandeau & Beth Ayers

A poem for the people in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, USA

Nature is angry,
Water is hungry,
Yes, but humanity,
For all eternity,
Stays thirsty and thirsty,
Eager for fraternity!

Nature is powerful,
Water is forceful,
Yes, but humanity,
For all eternity,
Stays optimistic and hopeful,
Eager to be helpful.
O Katrina, great disaster,
You wrote off towns,
We write poems,
You brought the death,
We bring our faith.

Nature is peaceful,
Water is tears-full,
Yes, and humanity,
for all eternity,
Stays hopeful and hopeful,
Proof of fraternity.

Valérie Thibert-Marchandeau was accredited in January 2004 and joined the Leader Accreditation Department less than a year later. She lives in Houdan, France, a little town 60 km west of Paris, where she is mother to Qatsi (14), Colette (12), Tiphane (8), and Yanis (3). Beth Ayers has been a Leader for 20 years and serves as Associate Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (ACLA). She has led in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Colorado, and currently in Plano, Texas, USA. Her four children are 26, 24, 21, and 7 years. Please send your articles and ideas for this column to Nancy Spahr at 174 E. Main St., Peru, Indiana 46970 USA; or send an email to Nspahr at

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