Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspired Youth Inspired Me

It's been almost a week since We Day and it's taken that long to reflect on what we witnessed, absorbed and felt. It was awe-inspiring spectacular - and a privilege to be there.

Twenty thousand youth - social activists each and every one  (cause you have to be to get to We Day) - filled the stadium. They don't sell tickets; you have to earn your seat by working for a local and global cause. Twenty thousand youth hopped up on optimism, passion, and belief that the change starts with them. The place pulsed with high octane excitement and the energy was palpable.

Kidlet and Megz and I sat glued to our front row balcony seats, soaking everything in like thirsty wanderers would take to an oasis. It was sensory overload and to tell you the truth, I needed the recharge.

I could go on and on about the dazzling entertainment; the lineup of speakers that are nothing short of heroes and legends; and how I had to fight to hold on to the last bit of mascara on my eyes ... but I think a few select quotes will give you the picture:

"While acting is what I do for a living, activism is what I do to stay alive" -Martin Sheen 
"You are part of a new generation that I call the generation without borders" -Romeo Dallaire
"We have everything we need. We have the technology, the tools... the only thing we don't have is the will to act… The will to act is a renewable resource. It lives in your heart. Wake it up!" –Al Gore
"We need to give ourselves permission to ask for help." Spencer West
Justice Murray Sinclair encouraged the new generation to right the wrongs of Canadian aboriginal residential schools. “Tell your schools you want to know the true story of the Aboriginal people.” 
You can get a taste of We Day for yourself; they are posted online. The event was kicked off by a diminutive little girl who spoke boldly about "lighting our sparks and turning them into a flame" : Watch her.

After We Day was a reception of reunions for Kidlet and I. We already had Megz with us and the icing on the cake was seeing our Maasai friends Wilson and Jackson again. We had time to chat with them and reconnect. They are now published authors and seemed surprised at the little children lining up to have them sign their book. So humble. And then, if that wasn't enough for one day, our friends Denise and Laura - both whom we met in Kenya met us for dinner. 

Who would have thought that two years ago as we sat under the stars of the Mara, warmed by the fire in a clay pot reflecting on all that we were seeing and learning - that we would once again meet - this time under the Canadian skies - to renew friendships and once again reflect on how lucky we all are. 

So as you might have guessed, my heart is full to overflowing and I thank my lucky stars for taking the leap and making the trip to Kenya. It was a gift I gave to myself, and one that has kept on giving and giving. And even more - it changed my life forever.

Now it is my turn to give, and I picked up a few good ideas!

Me and Megz
K'Naan - Is anybody out there?

Romeo Dallaire - a Canadian treasure and my hero
This is what 20,000 young change makers looks like

Wilson and Jackson back in town - centre stage

Nelly Furtado and First Nations dance troupe
Spencer West redefined possible by climbing Kilimanjaro on his hands

Spencer gives good hugs

Trading in traditional rubber sandals for warmer footwear

Kidlet gets Jackson to sign her copy of The Last Maasai Warrior
Our little group that started in Kenya - reunited (missing Lisa)
Thanks Kidlet for sharing the day - the gifts of our journey keep on giving ,,,

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