Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
I have been witness to many great things and for this I am truly thankful. In my opinion the greatest of all of these moments are the ones that involve one human being connecting with another, when the love, compassion, and humanity that is in us all is somehow opened up. Thoughtfulness is a key component in this exchange. The importance of being a thoughtful person is too often overlooked, but I strongly believe that it is essential to the betterment of this world.
Thoughtful- “Having or showing heed for the well-being or happiness of others and a propensity for anticipating their needs or wishes” What could be more important than that?
On this trip, I have been truly inspired by the most thoughtful person that I know—Mr. “Boo” Buchanan. He has spent the last month here in Kenya with us. His interactions with our kiddos and our Kenyan family as a whole have been incredible to witness. He has been an integral part of Restore Humanity for years and now he has finally met the amazing little people that we have been working for.
His thoughtfulness is usually quite subtle, yet very effective, bringing joy or comfort to those around him. However, on one day in particular it was in full force...
New Year’s Eve we decided to take the kids on a simple day trip to Kisumu and go to see a movie, however it turned into quite the adventure. The excitement began about 30 minutes into the journey when one of the tires on the small bus we had rented came off. This resulted in sitting in the hot sun for over 2 hours while it was repaired. The children were well behaved as always and the delay did not seem to faze them one bit.
We got back on the road and almost 2 hours later we arrived at the shopping center with 30 minutes to spare before the movie began. Patrick, Mrs. Opot, Boo, and I set straight to the task of feeding our 16 cuties before Showtime. Normally this would have been simple, however there was a massive church gathering (a “crusade” as they called it) with thousands of people around, next to, and inside of the shopping center. It seemed that they all needed food at the exact same time we did. Despite the madness we accomplished our task and managed to keep up with everyone in the process.
We sat down and the kids got to see their first movie in a theater, Ice-Age 4, and they loved it. After the movie we had some errands to run before leaving town. Boo and I waited with the children as Mrs. Opot and Patrick tended to them. While we were waiting I had a moment to reflect on a few things—first I noticed that Boo was going around the bus talking with all of the children making sure everyone was doing ok; then I realized what a careful eye he had kept on all of them throughout the day. He was quick to notice if someone was wondering off, which children tend to do, and was very aware of where all of them were at all times. This is not an easy feat with 16 of them, I assure you.
We finally headed home after a very long but rewarding day and we saw by far the darkest rainbow that I had ever seen in my life. It was awesome. All was well except for the traffic, which delayed us quite a bit. The darkness fell and then the rain began. It started off sprinkling and quickly changed into torrential downpour. It is never good to be stuck out in a storm, but it is an especially bad situation to be in when you have to drive 45 minutes on muddy roads to reach home. It was raining so hard that we had to roll up all the windows in a vehicle that had no AC. The driver was wiping the fog off the windshield with his bare hand every few minutes to gain what visibility he had. Then the lights on the vehicle went out—all the while we were trying to avoid the endless potholes on the road.
The driver eventually got the lights working and we continued on. I was sitting behind the engine in the Nissan van, so heat was relentlessly blowing on me, which was complicated by the fact that I had both Catherine and Sheryl asleep on me. I was so hot I thought I might pass out. Boo, noticing my discomfort, hung his bandana out the window to soak it with cool rain and then put it on my head. I have never been so grateful...
Finally the rain subsided and we began down the muddy path home. We didn’t make it very far before the van became stuck. The driver tried and tried, but the more he pushed the gas the further we seemed to sink into the mud. Boo got out to help push and he almost singlehandedly moved our small bus and we were back on our way. With the rain having returned this happened again 3 more times. He pushed us out again and again, but once we started up the big hill about a mile away from home I suggested that we all get out and walk the rest of the way so that the van didn’t slide into a ditch. We all piled out of the van and into the cold rain and began our uphill trek home.
Boo offered to carry a heavy bag for Mrs. Opot while already carrying Clinton and ensuring that he was covered by a blanket to protect him from the cold rain—all of this is in the dark with very slippery mud beneath our feet. I was walking slowly with Sammy—afraid that I would slip if I carried him. We all made it home safely, albeit cold, hungry, and tired but oh so happy to be home. Throughout this entire journey Boo never complained once, he just spent all of his energy making sure the rest of us were ok. And to be honest, I do not know what we would have done without him.
Witnessing genuine love, care, and concern for others gives me hope and inspires me to be better in everything that I do. To see the joy someone gets from being in the service of others touches my soul in a way nothing else can. It also reminds me to stay on track with Restore Humanity’s mission, as Boo represented our Mission in his action:
Restore Humanity’s Mission StatementWe restore humanity by taking the opportunity to help whenever, wherever, and however we can – not dictating the terms of our assistance, but responding to the needs of the individuals and communities we are serving.
I am truly inspired and hope this encourages us all to be more thoughtful in all that we do.