The Africa Journey CEO Brian Morgan
Our CEO this past month followed his passion for Travel Philanthropy. Brian was given this unique opportunity and access from Water is Life. This adventure took Brian to Kenya, Africa! I wanted to share with you guys some of his thoughts from the trip from his perspective.
It all started when Brian met Ken at social media day. Ken Surritte was there with his nonprofit Water is Life. This was the beginning of a exciting friendship between Ken and Brian. Water is Life’s goal is end the water crisis. The nonprofit does what it can from deliver filter straws to supplying bottled water to PR. One of the best way to help is to install solar powered water wells to third world countries. It started twelve years ago and has locations all over including, but no limited to, China, India, Mexico, and Flint Michigan. This incredible company brought aid to Puerto Rico after their tragic storm last year bringing along with them their unique straw filters to help their safe water initiative.
The first stop was Narobi. When I asked Brian about his first impression of it, he said it was astounding. The contrast of the vibrant city against the devastating slums was something he had never really witnessed before in one place. How you could have such stark differences in one confined area was startling.
The goal of the trip was to bring a water wells to Kibera which is the largest slum in Africa. Kenya contains some of the largest slum in Africa but is also known for the vibrant city that contains futuristic looking tech buildings and is growing into a more modernized community, flooded with business tycoons. How you could have such wealth and such poverty in such close proximity was mind boggling.
Brian got to have a lot of interaction with the community and kids in Kibera. The kids are in school and they are so happy and in love with learning. They have passion for it and for growing their education. There were around three hundred kids there and they are just all so full of life. They were honestly so interested in us. They shook all of our hands and said hello, it just felt so genuine. All of the children spoke English along with their native tongue, Swahili. In Kibera there were a lot of pop schools some where is a small room. This school has a nice slice of property of the 300 kids. Yet there were unlit tin buildings, the property was on a rock steep incline and next to the river of sewage and trash. , and Water is Life spent the day teaching the school about what they were going to be doing in their community and what they were bringing to their village. While there, they had the children write about their situations. Later reading them was heartbreaking, seeing the depth of their knowledge about their situation, but yet they lead such happy lives, which made the experience all the more inspiring. One of Water is Life’s biggest campaigns was to kill the hastag first world problems. One of the most powerful aspects of this was how we take for granted such little things and find ourselves having terrible attitudes over practically nothing. These children have been dealt a terrible hand, yet they are excited to learn, love to live their lives, and yet all the while are suffering. It really puts into perspective what life should really mean.
The well had many logistical headaches including having to repair a non official roads and various other dilemmas. The well ended up being drilled a week late. Brian helped with a lot of the manual labor while also playing with the children. After three days of being at the school the next part of the journey was outside of the city.
Another remarkable experience that Brian had was seeing the big five in Amboseli National Park in Kenya.The big five being; elephants, lions, cape buffalo, rhinoceros and leopards. One of the most memorable moments of that portion of the trip was witnessing the mass number of elephants in the park, hundreds would just walk by all at once, and one of the most special things was seeing the twin elephants. This is known to be extremely rare and a sign of good luck in the culture, so that made the whole group feel very special.
Another fortunate opportunity that Brian got to have was meeting the Mesai tribe. This tribe is still very indigenous although they are becoming less and less nomadic everyday due to the creation of water wells and becoming healthier. They have less of a need to move from location to location for resources. The results are proven through the fact that a tribe close by has been plagued with sickness. Since implementing the water wells in the Mesai tribe their illnesses have become more infrequent and they have begun to succeed. , Water is Life was has help with that through their water well technology. The chief of the tribe was so inviting and warm. As Brian wrapped up his drone footage and began to say his final goodbyes. Brian went to the chief of the tribe and thanked him for his kindness and opening up to them about their home and village, in the moment it just seemed fitting that he gift something back. Earlier the chief had complimented Brian’s Ranch Bucket hat, so Brian offered it to him in his thanks. At first the chief was hesitant, he was six foot three inches and afraid that it would not fit his head. Brian showed him how to adjust the snapback and made it fit just right. He wore it proudly and Brian snapped a final picture before heading out. This filled Brian with such light and love for everything these people were.
The take away from this incredible journey was that a little bit goes a long way. As individuals from a first world country. Negativity is not an option in our lives, if these people can be dancing smiling and happy in their situations there is no justification for our stress and unhappiness due to the most simple and unnecessary things. Take that little bit and run with it, instead of being consumed by the greed of having more. This was a once in a lifetime journey… and will not be the last!