Without Borders...

Abby and Sara have been best friends since they met in the dorms at Colorado State University in 2002. Each year since then, they have been on at least one trip together, with the last few years consisting of backpacking travels through Europe.

In 2010, they decided to put their desire to see the world towards a more constructive cause. Instead of taking an adventurous vacation, they chose to visit Tanzania and volunteer with Light in Africa for five weeks.

This winter, they are going back to Light in Africa to volunteer for another five weeks, and can't wait to see how much "their" kids have grown!

Friday, August 13, 2010

"It's not okay with me" & "Just six weeks"

It's not okay with me....Is the name of a book I recently read at the recommendation of a friend. The book, more of a blog on printed on paper and available from used book sellers at Amazon, is written by Janine Maxwell, a former exec of a successful company, who dedicates her life to various causes in Africa after being emotionally uprooted due to the 9/11 attacks. At first, I wasn't completely thrilled with the story. God (in either all caps or normal) appeared in nearly every paragraph and the writing didn't seem like writing, rather someone lecturing me on Africa - and I had had my share of lectures. Not that I didn't want to read about her spiritual journey, but I also didn't want to read her version of the new testament.

Getting more into the book - I was able to connect with Maxwell on a level right at the surface. She helped me realize a good point. When thinking of the continent, we (society) too often tend towards, in her words, "It's too much. It's too big. It's impossible." Of course, Maxwell credits her favorite 3-letter word for helping solve lots of these problems, but she really highlights the stigma most individual face "What difference can one normal person really make?"
Not all of us are Oprah or Nelson Mandela or Bill Clinton - so how can we as individuals help? I found myself falling into this mentality when speaking of our trip - saying yeah, I'm going to volunteer "just for six weeks." Really downplaying something - that shouldn't be. These mere six weeks CAN change something and CAN create resonance - no matter how small the frequency. Just think what can happen in six weeks - entire ecosystems can be destroyed from millions of gallons of oil or on a lighter note, and with the right commitment, entire villages can be brought back to life.

So, I will be keeping that in mind - no more "just for six weeks," because who knows what "just for six weeks" can bring. I am confident to find that one person can make a difference, even if it's becoming fully convinced of Maxwell's message: "It's not okay with me."

Conicdently, on the occacion of this blog post, I found an interesting story about one guy started with helping out just a little - his "just six weeks" - and ended up dedicating a lifetime to helping causes that were too big, too much. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/08/12/cnnheroes.marysmeals/index.html?hpt=C1