25 July 2009

Sierra Leone

This is sort of a different post as I was inspired to write not from a travel experience, but from a film I watched recently. I attended several films at the Waterfront Film Festival this year and was deeply touched by one particular film born from tourist footage of a man's travels to Sierra Leone.

Through my travels and meeting people from all over the world I'm always reminded that while we may have different views, we are still very much the same. We love, we give, we laugh, we pray, we reach out.

My trip to Cambodia was first organized by someone else who is making a concerted effort to improve the lives of those he meets. It takes a lot of work to start something. It takes a lot of collaboration to start something that lasts.

Let's go back to Sierra Leone. Two siblings pieced together a dramatic documentary introducing us to the people of Sierra Leone, how they were impacted by their country's civil war, and how they are trying to overcome today. The film was also able to illustrate that while strangers have good intentions, they often don't follow through.

If you were to visit a third or second world country and witness their life, you would surely feel called to action. Once home however, your routine would swallow you and while your mind will drift back to the faces and daily struggles you witnessed, they will seem smaller, your guilt for haggling 50 cents for a handbag that meant $10 in their currency stinging.

Another good friend of mine took a leave of absence so to travel to Nepal and found his mission there: to help farmers unite and commercialize their much sought after herbs for teas and homeopathic medicine.

I'm so privelidged to know these people and so inspired. I encourage you to seek out the film, Pride of Lions and to check out the farmer's coalition website. Below, you can also find a few posts about my visit to the Wat Opot Orphanage. While you're at it, perhaps consider a cash donation directly to a charity that tugs at your heart. Small amounts go so far when everybody gives.