“The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
It is such an eternal battle when it comes to making decisions of what should be the next move in what I thought was the ultimate plan. The challenge started with visas and the plan to cycle to America through summer fell short almost two months and prevented me from reaching Anchorage, Alaska before the weather changed. Again the visa to Russia, which will allow continuation from Anchorage still remains a great puzzle.
Since the beginning, I couldn’t set off as wanderlust even if I could continue without attachment and responsibility. I would never find eternal peace, satisfaction, or happiness. I found the courage and worthwhileness of this challenge when I set out to learn about the relationship between people and their environment. The greatest threats to humans and the environment in Africa has forced individuals to sacrifice so much. Through education and conservation, we will be able to help alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable growth and protection of our natural resources.
Compromise…my second important move
I think the word ‘adventure’ may have carried different weight when Livingstone set off to find out what lay within Africa. Maybe it would have different meaning for Pururambo of Papua New Guinea if would have never set off from the forest. For those with the internet and all the modern things and latest technology, traveling to the next city might be an adventure. For adventurers, the experience can be compared to an athlete who is determined to win a marathon–he would first spend a lot of time training and preparing to endure all that comes with the feat. Adventurers dream and sometimes their commitment leads to an obsession. It is at this point that compromise has little room. I went through this and it has been very difficult. Thankfully I have friends who argue that ‘plans are made for change’. Those friends have made me realize that it is time to take a six month break to continue to develop my conservation efforts and work, to arrange visas, reassess the route, etc.
In this difficult time I still remain intact because I wasn’t only searching for an adventure, but for personal betterment. During the time I take a break, I will be able to start school for my Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management at College of African Wildlife Management (MWEKA), in Moshi, Tanzania.
Asking for help and support…
Perhaps one of other challenges I am confronted with is to ask for support and help, especially financial support. I have not gone hungry this entire expedition, which means there is still enough for all of us. There is a lot of wealth in developed countries, but all humans, no matter which part of the world, have never been short of their own challenges. You can either search for these challenges to enlighten yourself or you can sit down and make lot of money to protect yourself and avoid inconvenience. There are many charities helping individuals, but sometimes it is difficult to choose who you find most in need of your support. At the last fundraiser event I held in Issaquah, Washington (outside of Seattle), I met several people who had different stories to share concerning the shortcomings of some charities and nonprofits. The stories they shared all have some truth and made me feel very ashamed of organizations disguising themselves with good intentions. Some told me of nonprofits they heard about growing into huge institution that end up spending 50-70% of their donations just on operating costs and frivolous expenses. I have seen this in Africa so I couldn’t even contribute, but instead, try to explain my future path in life. Giving without a plan may lead to bad tendencies, but I have also seen how important empowerment is to make miracles happen for those who are truly in need.
After deciding to take a break, two of my successful entrepreneur friends suggested that they volunteer to be part of organizing trips to Africa where other adventurous people can experience different cultures and learn about conservation and the environment. The twist is that they will experience it all on a bicycle tour from Congo to East Africa and then down to Southern Africa. The profits from this tour will benefit Chile to Kili and my education, environmental conservation, and sustainable development. The tentative date for the trip has been set for November 2013.
Thanksgiving is here…
I would like to thank everyone for their great support for the Chile to Kili initiative. I wish I could count individuals and their contributions, but both amazingly and unfortunately you are too many. Because of this act of giving and sharing your stories, I am both happy and feeling loved. I have also opened my eyes to the beautiful world which we only see occasionally even though it exists within. The only thing I can promise for now is to carry on this act of helping and supporting.
We have almost received the funds for the first student and hopefully I will be awarded this scholarship as I am carrying on the mission to assist my fellow students. We are so grateful for your consideration last Thanksgiving and we hope that you will think of us this coming Thanksgiving.