Women's Health

Flex Your Bravery Muscle

I’M THE ANTITHESIS OF A RISK-TAKER: a lifelong type A goody two-shoes who always ate her veggies and obeyed her parents. My one rebellious phase, in my early twenties, involved trance music and glow sticks, but the guilt I felt over the debauchery landed me in therapy.

So two years ago, when I received an invitation to travel to West Africa as the sole journalist on a Congressional trip, I was dubious. On the one hand, it was an extraordinary opportunity: I’d be meeting with women in two countries, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, who had suffered unspeakable hardships—war, child marriage, female genital mutilation—and writing about them, so their voices could be heard. On the other hand, the Ivory Coast had experienced a terrorist attack one week prior to my invite, and Sierra Leone had been decimated by the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

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