My journey began when my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, asked if I wanted to go backpacking overseas for three months. The idea of traveling abroad was enticing, but simply backpacking did not sell me, nor did being away for five to six months. I recommended we travel for twelve weeks, but somehow we agreed upon six-weeks. Still, there was something else missing about the idea to travel abroad and I suggested we make it a volunteer trip instead of a normal vacation. I believed through volunteering abroad we could gain new perspectives from people on the other side of the world. She agreed and we decided to travel to Africa.
One of the reasons I was motivated to go to Africa was a conversation I had a few months prior with a lady from work who was a native of Africa. We talked about Africa and she asked if I had ever been. When I told her no, she said to me, “You should go to Africa because that’s where you will find your source of power!” These sorts of conversations are not everyday occurrences and it made a huge impression on me. From that day on, the seed to travel to Africa had been planted, and when my girlfriend brought forth the idea to travel abroad, I felt my dream of traveling to Africa had come to fruition.
We planned for a six-week volunteer trip in Cape Town, South Africa with Cross Cultural Solutions. I was very excited and curious about the possibilities because I knew I was going to gain some fresh and new perspectives about people of a different culture and learn some things about myself. I believe when we gain more perspectives from others, the more empathetic we become and we see how similar we are as human beings, regardless of our geographical locations and cultural differences.
As I embarked on the journey to learn about other people’s walks of life, I would soon learn more about my own. Heading into my third week of volunteering, while also enduring fatigue and insomnia, I was rushed to the hospital and soon thereafter, diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I couldn’t have imagined such a turn of events to happen in my life, especially during a time where my sole purpose was to help others and learn from them too. But not all was lost, for during my first two weeks in Cape Town, I learned a great deal about perseverance, kindness and love from the people of South Africa. Most importantly, I found the source of power the lady from work said I would and that was faith. The faith that no matter the situations or circumstances, if we can find a little faith, even a smear of hope, then all will be fine. I channeled the strength of the South African people and used it in my battle with cancer.
Unfortunately, I was unable to fulfill my duties of volunteering. My hope is to someday complete this task of my life that was unexpectedly cut short. I believe A Fresh Chapter is the organization that will allow me to fulfill my duty toward a cause dear to my heart, which is to help others with different perspectives on life than those of my own. Perhaps, in Costa Rica, I will be able to finish the chapter I began five years ago and begin a new one.
A Fresh Chapter (Alliance Foundation) is a Project in affiliation with Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) a non profit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations will be used to cover program related costs and all US Donations of $100+ are eligible for a tax receipt. Thank you for your support!