This afternoon, Bryan Papé, Founder and CEO of MiiR Inc. asked me, “What took you to Liberia?”
After emailing him my response, I continued to roll around the question in my mind the way you roll around a Jolly Rancher candy in your mouth. You can’t simply spit out the hard candy and suddenly stop savoring its flavor. Similarly, I couldn’t simply spit out Bryan’s question and suddenly stop thinking about my answer.
Hence, the blog is back. After four months of abandonment, I am not going to pick back up where I left off, but instead, start a new chapter. Lessons of Liberia, Part 2, if you will.
I think it was a combination of factors that took me to Liberia. Not a combination like a Wendy’s #1 value meal, where the quarter pounder, hot salty fries, and ice cold Coca-Cola go perfectly and obviously together- but more like the combination of nucleosynthetic elements scientists predict produced the Big Bang; an unpredictable and unreplicable scenario.
In a nutshell, it was a cross between my endless ache for adventure and my desire to see the world outside Midwest America. And after seeing many of my friends borrow and waste their parents money “studying abroad” in the pubs, clubs and other drunken corners of first world nations in Europe, I knew I wanted to do something different than “see the world” through foreign beer goggles and meaningless humanities credits.
Traveling to a developing nation struck me as a kill-two-birds way to see the world and embark on a guaranteed adventure. However, due to the lack of universities and increased safety risk in third world countries, study-abroad programs in developing nations do not exist.
I started looking into volunteer-abroad programs instead. After some research, I realized due to the same safety concerns, most programs do not travel to many of the poorest nations in the world either.
I decided I didn’t need a program. I wasn’t thrilled about walking in the footsteps of hundreds or thousands of past volunteers anyway. I was going to go road-less-traveled on this adventure, and try to “change the world” in whatever small way I could while doing so.