My word for the year is LEARN.
Some days I feel like I am still a ditzy college girl stuck in a 33 year-old entrepreneur's body. Don't get me wrong, I will seek fun, move, and live lightheartedly until the day I die. But, I had came to the big realization, that in order to better myself in all the facets of my life: business, fitness, spirituality, serving on the board with the Kilgoris Project, I need a lot more knowledge. Growth isn't possible if I continue on the way I'd been living. I want to make more informed decisions, and have deep, intellectual, inspiring conversations that enrich my life.
Reading more is one way to get there. However, true learning is in the doing.
My first experience in Kenya, in 2014, was extraordinary. However, there was such an overwhelming amount of things to absorb, that I knew I had barely scratched the surface.
Prior to the first trip I began serving on the Board of Directors with the Kilgoris Project. Honestly, I have sucked as a board member. Especially in the beginning, I was incredibly intimidated by the super intellectuals, and felt like my lack of experience in the culture inhibited my ability to make informed decisions, when it came time to vote on things. There are many many layers to it all, numerous: schools, staff members, sustainability projects, etc. that I can hardly keep up.
I wanted to give up, and even tried quitting. But, I stuck it out. I joined a committee, where I could work with a small group, digging in deeper to the education portion of it. It's definitely helped, but I knew what I really needed, was to go on trip #2.
In the time leading up to my departure, I started doubting my decision. Why am I going again? I have a business to run, and a family to look after. Ain't nobody got time for that!
But, I realized I wasn't failing my members, or family, by going. The experiences I would have would make me a better wife, mom, and business owner. By living each moment while I was away, with a purpose, whether it was impacting a child, mother, or myself, it was well worth EVERY sacrifice.
Having specific projects that our team was researching, meant that I could finally feel like I was contributing value as a board member.
Most of all, was the BIG PICTURE is this:
I don't want to get to the end of this life only having read in a book, or seen on TV, the beauty that this world has to offer. We can look at pictures, or read about culture, but you can't smell the air, or dance with tribe. To hug someone you've never met, who doesn't speak your language, or have the same skin color, with a big smile on their face, enriches the soul like no other. To recognize that we all laugh, cry, and find pleasure in the same things, whether we have $2 to our name, or $2 million, is something you know exists, but to see it in person, transforms your soul. There are innumerable things the text books and websites don't tell us. Like that children in Kenya, or other developing nations, aren't all sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. Most often, they have more joy than any kid we know! Sure, they have basic needs that aren't being met, that will rip your heart to shreds as you witness it. The reality of that, and sadness of it is true. Offering a hand in educating them in a sustainable way, is something we can do. And, on top of it, the growth found in ourselves, just by living and breathing the culture, connecting with them, and loving each other in the process, is something you can't begin to understand without going and experiencing for yourself. Period.
And, let's face it, we are all spoiled rotten. There was A LOT of sacrifice in being comfortable. The mattress was less than par, we got stuck in the mud several times, there were some crappy meals, the flight was LONG, and for an entire week we didn't see a white face, other than those on our team. But, a huge amount of personal growth is through discomfort, and learning from it. Learning about patience, or shifting the perspective and recognizing that we have it far better than most, totally helps us appreciate the simple things. Let's face it, we ALL need a reality check in that. That is where our culture's poverty lies.
I am revising my bucket list. At the end of this life, I want to have experienced the world first hand. I want to connect with people in a completely vulnerable way. I want to see, feel, smell, do, and get uncomfortable. I want to fail time and again, in order to succeed at this life. Because, the only way I would really fail, would be to never try at all.
The most rewarding part of the trip, for me, was to see the school building (a place to "learn"), that kādi funded, with my own eyes. I was able to hear the gracious words from the parents who's children now have a promising future. And, most importantly, to spend time with extended family, on the other side of the world, and know that it's fully cherished on both ends. I have a really embarrassing ugly-cry picture to show how emotional it was. If you ask me nicely, I just might share it with you. But, it would have been better for you to see it in person. ;)
Keep the Passion,
(Amazing Photo Cred: Allison Keel)