The story of one refugee who has dedicated himself to a life of service.

Peter Ter doesn't know how old he is. That is the first surprising thing he'll share about his remarkable life, and it's only the beginning.

Peter was born into a family of cattle farmers in Sudan. He grew up during a decades-long conflict that is one of the longest civil war​s on record. When he was young, he was separated from his parents and sent to live in a refugee camp in Kenya.

When representatives from the United States government met Peter in the refugee camp in 2001, they measured his height and stature to guess his age and year of birth. The year they selected was 1980, making him 36 years old. Even then, it’s only a guess.


Peter Ter, center, teaching Azerbaijani students how to throw an American football. All images from Peter Ter, used with permission.

As a child, to keep up his spirits, Peter focused on a singular goal: learning to read and write in English.

“I was born in a place where there were no pens or pencils,” he says. “I wanted to be somebody and I knew learning English would help me get there. I didn’t want the past to hold me back.”

Peter’s refugee camp was massive, and the school supplies that could help him practice English were next to impossible to come by. So, he improvised.

Day after day, he would practice writing the alphabet — and later, words and phrases — by writing them over and over in the sand.

“One day, one of the elders in the camp came by and watched me writing in the sand. He said ‘The sun is very hot, and you are working hard. One day the world will be like a soccer ball in your hands,’” recalls Peter. The old man then gave him a blue pen — his first. Using pieces of old cardboard he found in waste bins at the nearby UN compound, Peter practiced writing with the pen until it ran out of ink. When it did, he burned sticks to create charcoal so he could keep writing and learning.

In 2001, Peter immigrated to the United States.

He immediately began to pursue his education, earning a degree in political science from the University of Florida. After graduation, he considered joining the U.S. Marines, until a mentor recommended a different path: the Peace Corps.

Since 2009, Peter's spent nearly five years volunteering with the Peace Corps in three very different parts of the world: Azerbaijan, China, and the country of Georgia.

Peter learns to play mah–jongg from some seventh-grade students he tutored in Chonqqing, China.

“In all three countries I volunteered, I felt loved, valued, and appreciated,” recalls Peter. “I learned that if a person can overcome his or her fears and become resilient and tenacious, then they can do a lot to represent America abroad.”

Peter receives an honorary diploma with a painted picture of himself from his students and colleagues in Georgia.

Peter doesn't seem like someone whose early life was filled with sadness, anxiety, and war-time trauma.

His energy is ebullient; his laughter, infectious. He credits his favorite U.S. presidents — Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy — for inspiring his positive worldview.

“Through studying American history, I developed a great admiration for President Lincoln. I appreciate his views on forgiveness,” says Peter. “He has this quote that stuck with me: ‘better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right; not even killing the dog will cure the bite.’ When I was younger, I was very angry about being separated from my parents. But focusing on that didn’t help me. Lincoln knew that; now, I know it too.”

President Kennedy inspires him for a different reason: service. “President Kennedy was born into a wealthy family, but he served his country fearlessly, and when he became president, he founded the Peace Corps. I know he would appreciate my service, just like I respect his.”

Peter finished his last round of service with the Peace Corps in September.

Peter and a community mullah drink tea and discuss equal education for girls and boys beyond secondary school in Gardabani, Georgia.

He's planning to go back to school for a second master's degree, this time studying foreign policy and national security at American University. After that, the world really is — as that elder told him so many years ago — his soccer ball. It might involve public service work, potentially in government or at a think tank promoting sustainable development. It may even be working with the military on his passion: a national security policy based on promoting mutual understanding and friendship. All of those careers are open to him — partly because of his focus and dedication to learning and partly because of his experience in the Peace Corps.

Peter and two of his students in Gardabani, Georgia.

“America restored my dignity and gave me a valuable education. I want to do everything I can to say thank you,” says Peter proudly. “As Kennedy says, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.' Service is my answer, wherever that takes me.”

Learn more about how to start your own Peace Corps journey.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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