Ashley Judd’s “All that is Bitter and Sweet”

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

Another amazing book that opened my eyes to an issue that for the most part does not affect Canadians or other westernized countries to the point it does in Third World Countries.

Ashley Judd becomes a spokes person for PSI or Personal Services International founded in 1970, which focuses on the health of people in the developing world by focusing on serious challenges like a lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. What a worthy humanitarian cause.

Ashley Judd travels to Cambodia, Thailand and South Africa in the book, for the part I have read so far. She joins as other celebrity/famous humanitarians encourage her to join, like Bono from U2.

PSI is in more countries than I can count. Take a look at the link I provided above.

Imagine visiting a developing country and learning that more than 20-25% of the population is infected with HIV, lacks clean water, women become prostitutes because the money they earn puts food on the table. Where safe sex is frowned upon or unaccepted by men due to tradition, customs and folklore.

How many of us would choose one of the world’s oldest professions? How many of us are put into that situation where it is one of the very few options available to us?

This book certainly opened my eyes and makes me appreciate every day the fact that I live in the western world. I have choices as do most women in the U.S. and Canada and other western or democratic countries.

Not all of us are able to volunteer and travel as an ambassador for a humanitarian organization, but we can give to local charities, whether it is money, clothing, non-perishable food items, school supplies, a bike or new winter coat for a child that does not have. We can also give our time by volunteering in a nursing home, school or other organization.

The idea of ‘Pay it Forward’ can be small or large and is appreciated no matter what. Compassion, empathy and the thought is what matters to the giver and receiver.


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