Kwa Heri from Expedition 15K…

17th December 2015

“Sooner or later,” Robert J Hastings wrote, “we must realize that there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy.” Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity, and it is that word – ‘sustainable’ – that carries the same sense of infinity with it. Over the last ten weeks we have built an Early Childhood Development Centre from scratch, and a girls’ latrine block at Endagikot Primary School. Some of us have completed a 250-300km trek across new and unfamiliar terrain. We can tick the boxes; we can take photos of the impressive end results. But we can’t shake the dust off our shoes and sail into the next chapter of our lives just like that.

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We can’t forget the communities who have welcomed us. For them, the journey doesn’t end here. Far more important than physical infrastructure are the relationships we have formed, the awareness we have spread. New knowledge on hygiene, nutrition, gender equality, clean water and sanitation may change behaviours and lives. In ten, twenty, thirty years we hope that disease will decrease, more girls will attend school, students will be better nourished and more attentive in class. Children will pass their educative knowledge onto their parents and families will also become more resilient to disease. With healthier children, parents will have more time to work. Community resilience and economy will be boosted.

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In the same way, each of us volunteers has learnt a wealth of things. From one another, from the communities we have been working with, from ourselves. Above all, we hope our experiences over the past ten weeks have made us Global Citizens. Able to think outside of ourselves, our own lives, able to see that we are part of a much bigger picture. Perhaps we will volunteer again, closer to home. Perhaps we will always switch the lights off, or take shorter showers. Perhaps we will use biodegradable washing powder and stop pouring hot oil down the kitchen sink. Perhaps we will campaign for the rights of others less fortunate than ourselves. Perhaps we will become leaders in our own rights, in our workplaces or in our communities.

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And so, congratulations – not on crossing the finish line, but on seizing the moment and becoming an agent for change. Keep in touch and keep doing wonderful things. It’s been a pleasure.

 

 


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