THE STORY OF JADE O'HEARN

PACHIRAS' FIRST SEED

I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the generosity of others.

The year 1976, I was 3. Chinese New Year is in a few days. Mom took us all shopping for our New Year’s outfits. I remember mine: traditional Chinese qipao red dress, silver jacket and my first little red strappy sandals with tiny heels, the tiniest heels. That made me feel so grown up - at age 3. I couldn’t wait to wear the outfit, especially my shoes. Perhaps, this explains my somewhat unhealthy obsession with shoes now. But that’s another story for another time.

We lived in a small village in Laos. I vaguely remember that night. It was a usually calm night. Mom was packaging our suitcases. Just mine, dad’s and hers. My sisters were fast asleep. Years later I understood why theirs were not packed.

I asked, "Mom where are we going?”

All I have now are flashes and fragments of memories. I remember us standing in the middle of the night. It was so dark (the moon was hiding too), no flashlights, just a chain of hands to keep us together.

We were running through a forest. I still remember trees reaching out, ripping at our clothes and bare skin. I was in my mom’s arm. My brother clung to her other arm, he was 7. My oldest brother carrying my dad on his back. Dad was blind and really frail. In toll, there were 12 of us. 4 girls and 4 boys. Our parents. And two guides. “I'm cold mom,” I remember saying. We should have brought my silver jacket.

“Shhhh, we must be really quiet. Be brave.”

In the distance, we hear shouting. Gun shots. We stopped in our tracks.

“I'm scared”, Mom covered my mouth.

We got in two canoes. Paddling through the mangroves. Fast but silently. More gunshots rang through the frigid air.

We landed on the shores of Thailand where we were held at a refugee camp, all eleven of us sharing a 10x10’ room, food rationed daily. But how so fortunate we’re here together.

1978, we received news that a church in Canada had sponsored us.

April 16, 1979. We landed in Montreal. O’ Canada!

I believe we live in a sharing world. I believe we are all generous. I believe we all want to do good in the world. I have to. That’s why my family and I are alive.

Through the good grace and generosity of complete strangers. Strangers who felt an innate desire to do good... did good and saved a family, and planted the first Pachira seed.

Be Kind, Be Generous to each other…you have impact.

JADE O'HEARN

CEO & Founder