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Mountain Climbers and Missionaries

June 13, 2013

By act

When I travel to another country I love to people-watch*. Seeing people interact is fascinating to me. Watching people interact in a new or different culture is absolutely fascinating.

I spent the majority of my day yesterday in airports. I also find airports to be fascinating places, but that is a topic for a whole other blog post!

I have travelled from Toronto to New York to Amsterdam to Dar es Salaam. There have been many planes, many hours, and many people to watch. The closer I came to my destination, the more interesting the people (well, in my opinion anyway”¦).

While waiting at the gate in Amsterdam I wondered who else would be on my flight to Dar. At that moment a group of about 20 teenagers arrived. They were all wearing t-shirts with the logo “Rustic Pathways” on it. From watching them, I quickly figured out that they were going on a volunteer experience. In observing them I was reminded of my first overseas experience when I was 18 years old. I went to Haiti to “change the world”! Upon my return, I quickly realized that the world hadn’t been changed by my few weeks in Haiti, but I realized that I was. That experience while not doing anything to shift the system causing the poverty in Haiti, it certainly shifted something in me. I know that the choices that I have made to work for peace and justice in our world stemmed from that experience.

I wondered who out of that group gathered would experience that kind of change from the experience that awaited them”¦

Meanwhile, another group of t-shirt wearers came to the gate. This time it was “Charity Challenge”. Clearly another volunteer group.

Then there was a group wearing t-shirts with “Maggie’s Mountain Challenge”. I wondered what Maggie’s was. Yet another t-shirt gave me the answer. They were a mountain-climbing group that would be raising money for cancer research.

I was finding this people-watching adventure to be absolutely fascinating.**

Then suddenly I realized that I was also surrounded by many mountain-climbing-types. Fancy back packs, high tech clothing, good sturdy water bottles”¦

Our flight to Dar es Salaam was stopping in Kilimanjaro. Now all the mountain climbers and conversations focused on eating three dinners the night before made a bit more sense.

I looked around at all of my companions on this journey and realized that we are all going to take in a new and different piece of this world that surrounds us. I’m travelling in hopes of creating an international internship program for PWRDF so that young people can have a life-changing experience and our partners can benefit from their work. Others want to challenge their bodies and spirits to climb a mountain”¦ and others want to help in some way to make a difference.

I realize that we are all travelers on a journey. I hope that all we are able to experience can lead to a greater appreciation of this world and the people that inhabit it. I hope that all of us as travelers on this journey we call life can and will be transformed by our experiences to continually work for change in our world.

*I should probably state that I have just finished a post-graduate diploma in Relational Psychotherapy, so how people interact with each other is of high interest to me!

**I should also probably state that I have just completed a 200+km bike ride in support of cancer research”¦

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