Originally posted on TED Blog:

Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Leymah Gbowee is a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Today, she speaks around the world, and people ask about her drive, challenges, moments, and regrets.

In 1998 she was a single mother of 4. Three months after her fourth child’s birth, she went to do work as a research assistant in a small village in northern Liberia. She got lodging with a single mother who was the laughingstock of the village. The mother was told by the village, “You and your daughter will die poor.” The mother asked Leymah, “Take my daughter with you.” Leymah said no, for she too was “dirt poor, no money, living with my parents.”

Two months later, she went to live with a village chief in another village. In the village there was a little girl who walked around dirty; when Leymah asked her name, the villagers told her, her name is “Pig.”…

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