As they flew across the Atlantic each was picturing a slideshow of images in their mind: lions, elephants, cheetahs, tribal children, the snows of Kilimanjaro, and the classrooms they were to build. Farmer Don had been to Kenya 30 years prior in the Peace Corps, had always wanted to return and was excited to see progress.
Matt, the protagonist of this adventure, was eager to see where his roots came from and hopefully meet his biological father. Steve, Matt’s dad and a financial advisor, proud of his son who had already aided a town decimated by a tornado and tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka, was eager to see a new world and meet his beloved
son’s biological father. Joanne, a teacher in the same school as Matt, jumped on the trip late looking for an adventure and place to help with her heart for people. Shelly, Joanne’s teacher’s aide, also joined late looking for an escape from the realities of her life. Phill, a teacher and Matt’s college roommate had never thought of
leaving the country before their Sri Lanka adventure and was quickly realizing that travel was his drug. They each had a different reason, skill set, and expectations.
The Millennium Development Goals are a product of the largest gathering of world leaders in history committing their nations to a new global partnership. Over the past ten years of the project, many countries have done a stand-up job addressing the MDGs. One area of improvement would be to stop focusing on the
governments of the countries and start focusing on the individuals of the world community.
You see, Don, Steve, Matt, Joanne, Shelly, and Phill understand what a community is; after all, they live in the Midwest. Don attends farm auctions and fundraising dinners. Steve is a Rotarian and always volunteers for the community Corn Roast and Brat Fry. Matt has played community sports his entire life and remembers his
neighbor, Olive, reading about him in the paper and congratulating him. Joanne hosts an annual Veterans Day picnic in her classroom for the local Vets. Shelly is a soccer mom that likes to drink coffee at early Saturday soccer games. Phill’s parents have been foster parents for 15 years, so he knows that it takes a community to
raise a child.
As they flew home they realized their trip had gone from being about pictures to being about people. Yes, they saw lions, elephants, and even the snow topped Kili, but once in Kenya it became about the people, their relationships and how brothers and sisters from different fathers and mothers could love each other and unite for
a cause. On the plane things were a bit uncomfortable, not because of the seating but because of the bonds they had just made. It was hard to leave and they needed to help more, but how?
Just then one of them was overheard saying, “I don’t have any more money to help, but I’m pretty sure my friend would want to come.”