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Asia to Africa: Connecting the dots

January 8, 2015
Alison Osborne

With China behind me, my excitement is really building for Kenya in 12 days! Before I get too carried away, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of what I’ve just seen and experienced. I’m most interested in the lessons that are transferrable to the work I’ll be doing on the ground in Kisumu…

1. Kids are universally awesome.
I knew this, but it’s helpful to have this fact reinforced.
Why is this important to remember? Not only will I be working primarily with kids, I’m really working for them. In order to be able to best serve the students at Akili Preparatory School, I need to embrace my own childlike nature. I am grateful for the universal curiosity, hope, and playfulness I see in children. Wherever I travel, I find kids are the first to return a smile. 

2. Commitment is inspiring.
I’m inspired by people who are committed to something, whatever that may be. I’m especially inspired by David and Erick’s (Akili founders) commitment to building a safe space for girls to access a quality education. I’m working on demonstrating commitment in my own life, and appreciate examples where I witness true follow through. I recently learned a thing or two about commitment from Ren Changmin and Gramma Ye during a magical moment in the courtyard on a hometown visit with my Chinese buddy. The orange in Ren’s hand articulated for me the patience they’ve cultivated as farmers and as a couple. Nurturing deep roots grows a tender bond to its sweet fruition. 

3. Transformation begins with the individual.
And that’s where you come in…
I believe that through individual transformation, we expand our bandwidth to create, understand, develop, build, fathom something much bigger than ourselves. When we pursue something that inspires us, we also inspire others. Many of you have told me, “wow, what you’re doing is amazing” or, “thank you for doing this incredible work.” Yes, I’m grateful and excited to be on this journey, but I wish you knew just what a huge stake YOU are in this process! When I say I couldn’t do it without you, I really mean it! I’m glad if what I’m doing ignites something deep inside you that causes you to dream, to wonder, to imagine something great. But don’t forget that each of you inspires me. You are enabling this dream to take flight.
I hope you’ll visit my project page, and share it with someone you know will love it. Thanks for being part of the community of support!

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Alison is currently a student in the MA in Intercultural and International Communication program.