Dear Diary (Can I call you Put Foot?),
Mom, you better not be reading this. So began many a boyhood journal entry. I fretted as a little bloke in my schooldays over many a thing, the least of which being my grades. Pages filled with friendships blossoming and running into peril. Unrequited love, as much as I could understand it at the time. The many ways I failed to fit in, and the foolish ways I tried. So many days listed as the worst day of my life. All the desire to be an adult and free from rules and lessons.
Here I am on the other side, still writing a journal. Still fretting and gushing and getting in trouble. Still rabble-rousing and making a fool of myself on a regular basis. The clown without the class. Admittedly in many ways I have aged, but not yet grown up. If I were to look back at those things that seemed so important, I could see that I had so many things I never had to worry about at all.
What if your childhood journal entry consisted of things like:
I have to walk 90 minutes to school pre-dawn through a forest filled with criminals.
I have no shoes and may have to drop out in winter.
I think my education is important.
That is the reality for many children in Africa. So, here I am planning my next adventure with friends; looking forward to summer vacation. We put our foot in our mouth with our flying plans. Now we are looking to join the ranks of the Put Foot Rally. “Put foot” is a common term in South Africa for “hurry up.” It is also a foundation providing many children their first new pair of shoes to wear to school, so they can worry about the more important things, like girls and being picked first for dodgeball.
The Adventourists are prepping to shoulder the shame once again to provide a little pride to the children of Africa. Come along on our adventure. The route crosses through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. All this is to come as we prepare to strap ourselves into yet another unreliable vehicle, strap on a ridiculous hat and drive straight into trouble and attempt to sleep among starving desert lions and not mistake a hippo for our cuddle buddy on a cold night. We will traverse 9000 miles across Africa, reveling in parties, making mistakes, breaking down and ultimately providing shoes to children across the land. We’ll tell you all about what to bring, where the roads fall apart, how and where to fix a clunker, how to manage border crossings and wild beasts. We’ll explore what you should see and who you should meet.
We are trying to acknowledge important issues without somehow turning the whole thing into a privileged philanthropy. It’s a thin line to toe. We hope to make all boyhood dreams come true. We hope to learn a bit more about the lives of others in another realm and a foreign reality. There is so much land out there and so many people living in it in such different ways than ourselves. Thank you for the privilege of knowing a bit more; experiencing more. This is our education. Instead of filling my journal with angst and complaining about how the world doesn’t understand me, I’ve transitioned to doing my best to understand the world.