Couchsurfing. It means letting, in most everyone’s sense of the word, a stranger into your home. It also means making a new friend. Or two. As is the case with Susan and Philipe, from Australia and Austria, respectively. Ringing the doorbell in the rain and hearing the yelp of my brother’s dog Izzy may not have been the warmest of welcomes, but soon we were sharing stories of travels, friends, and adventures. What country didn’t we talk about? (Thinking for a moment) Latvia. Yeah, Latvia never came up. These guys have been all over! And I can’t wait to go! My aptly named, thought provoking friend Deep showed up for the event, a dinner of sweet potato and butternut squash tagine, oven-baked brown rice, chickpea swiss-chard soup, and oven-baked bread touched by the loving, delicate hands of Susan. Thus, Morocco, Italy, and Switzerland were out of the way, which left us to their travels of motorcycle trips in many countries of South America, work in Japan and Germany, Nepalese base camps (yes, Everest), Australian travel recommendations, Canadian mountains, and even Antarctica, where Philipe sailed as a chef while waiting for parts for his motorcycle to arrive in Chile.
I shared with them my day, which among work at the lab, included applying (loosely) for a position in Kenya as a CUREkids Coordinator. This rare, phenomenal opportunity was made aware to me by an old friend, Brianna DiGiacomo, who is a coordinator in Ethiopia and loving it. I must admit, I’m green with jealousy. CURE is a non-profit organization which started around 1998, when they first opened a hospital in Kenya. Since, they’ve seen a overly-impressive 1.5 MILLION patients. Simply staggering. Better still, they’ve performed 121,000 surgeries and trained 2,400 medical professionals. I was eager and excited to learn as quickly as I could about the organization and how I could work as a CUREkids Coordinator to help children in dire need of inexpensive surgeries that could change their lives. This thought made me realize something I love about life. There is always always always something new to learn. Whether it’s an act, an opportunity, a thought, or a person – learning never ceases. CUREkids, after reading some of their stories, are teachers. Inspirational teachers from which the world can learn. I humbly lower my gaze as an eager student. Children all over the world with minor, curable birth defects remain helpless. They deserve a better life. We can give it to them. A combined, shared, powerful effort can give it to those who are in need. I want my energy to strengthen this effort, heaving it from intensely robust to colossally prodigious. A lofty goal perhaps, but it lends me to answer a lofty question: Can one person make a difference? How? Yes. By combining ideas, strengths, and love. With the help of others! I would love to learn the many lessons I am sure the power above has in store for me and would be excited to find that some of these lessons await me in Kenya. If the stars don’t align for me there in Kijabe, Kenya and God has chosen for me a different path, I will reconcile knowing that I have done all in my power to put myself in a position to help others through my new awareness of CURE. One door will soon open. I’m certain the light beaming through will be brightly burning.
On another note entirely, Deep introduced us to the wonderful, artful dance that is AcroYoga. Such good fun! An incredible friendship-strengthening exercise if there ever was one.
I’ll end with this quote, found serendipitously on the AcroYoga website:
“The glory of friendship is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson