Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Motivation

Seeing true poverty for the first time leaves you questioning how you can go on day to day without acknowledging that much of the world lives without their most basic needs being met. An uncomfortable guilt settles upon you when confronted with people living without food, without shelter, without clean water, or without basic medical care. Once transformed by this experience, it is impossible to return to your previous state of counsciousness. Observing those struggling to survive on a daily basis challenges your basic thinking about life. It is enlightening to view happiness that thrives in the absence of financial wealth, fostered by a strong sense of community and family, simplicity and humility. The give and take of anger and enlightenment is a major struggle encountered upon traveling out of your comfort zone. This struggle forces you to reconsider your prior way of life, motivates you to learn about new and different ways of life, and drives you to find ways to combat the injustices of hunger, disease, and poverty.

The picture above was taken during our trip to the Philipines in 2001. The child in the picture is running through the Payatas community, an urban slum built upon a landfill, where the major source of income is the sale of scavenged scrap from the rubbage. This picture embodies the struggle between the anger felt seeing children living in this impoverished setting, and the enlightenment seen in the happiness of the child flying a kite made of a trash bag, that perseveres despite these conditions.

Our goal during this upcoming year is to observe, learn, and experience this struggle on a daily basis and to find a way to encorporate work with these communities into our future medical careers.

We hope to utilize this website to post travel updates, photos, and our thoughts as we travel throughout the year. We will update it as often as we have internet access, so check back soon. Please feel free to post comments, but remember that family, friends, and faculty will be viewing this site.


Anonymous said...

Kevin and John
Best of luck as you begin this very special journey. May God be with you . Love, Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you guys, and I'm looking forward to updates. Like I told John, you both need to take care of yourselves as well as you care for the people around you - we want you back safe and sound to hear all the stories that I'm sure are already being written. schulte

Anonymous said...

Sorry we missed your call but so glad to hear that you made it and are on your way. Keep us updated/Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...

I had a slow day at work, so I spent an hour voting for an all Tigers All Star team.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you made it there and things are going well. We are going to miss seeing you over the 4th. We will drink many beers in your honor. Have a great time and be safe. Eric, Micah and Lilly

Anonymous said...

I am getting together a package of tooth brushes and toothpaste to send over for you to distribute. I will send it to the address listed so look for it in the coming weeks - Eric

Anonymous said...

Hope all is well over there. We will be thinking about you when we are partying it up over the fourth. Stay well and I will have a couple for you next weekend.

Peter said...

Got my Granderson jersey, pretty sweet, thanks a lot
Hope everything is going well and we're thinking of you.


Anonymous said...

thaanks forthe updatae. we will callyou the 4th of,omom

Anonymous said...

Hey Kev,

Just got up north and all is good. could of used you the other day when I thought I was haveing a heart attack, but all checked out ok. Me, Kate, and the kids are missing you, it will be diff up here w/out you. I am going to designate a day to kevin in africa up here- bucket on head races (insted of horse shoes), drinking filtered lake water (insted of 500 beers and booze), kayaking (insted of skiing, tubing, and pontoon booze cruises)

any other ideas? let me know.

Later- your bro Ryan and family

Anonymous said...

It was good to hear your voice, and we can sense the passion for the people you're serving. God bless.
Love, Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...

Hi Kev-We're all thinking about you guys and your commitment. It's the 4th and big doins' are planned on Pickerel Lake. Boil your water and take care.

Uncle Bruce, Aunt Diane and the whole "fan-damily"!

Anonymous said...

Way to go guys, appears Stephanie is with a great group. We are very proud of all of you.
Lots of Love to y'all,
Pia and Page Barden

Anonymous said...


Thinking of you and hoping you and John are doing well. What an eye opening experience.

We missed you at the cottage over the fourth. You were in our thoughts.

I'm off to Europe with Scott for Soccer. I'll touch base when I get back.

Happy early birthday!

Love, Reen

Anonymous said...

It was so good to hear from you on the 4th! We missed you but are so happy all is going well. All our love, Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...

Take care of yourselves.
Love you and miss you.

Anonymous said...


Hope all is well, we really enjoyed hearing from you this past Sunday. I could pick up in your voice much excitemeny and enthusiasm, seems like every day is a new experiance for you and you group which is the way it should be.
Ryan and I killed them today 12 perch. 1 big pike and two bass, we saved some for you when you get back. Love ya, dad and mom

Anonymous said...

Becca and OCA group,
We continue to be amazed by your committment and in wonder at all the things you've seen and done. Safe traveling, do good works, and keep in touch. PS: Adam loves your apartment. Love, Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...


The "blog" is working out great, it is really nice to still have some connection to you even though you are so far away. I remain amazed at the perseverence and spirit of the African people you have been describing. I can't help but appreciate what we have and thang God for what he has given us. It was nice to hear that you weekend included some indulgence into decent food and drink. I was curious if the group as a whole is gaining or losing weight on this new diet? There might be a diet cook book in this some where! Say hello to everyone, keep healty and get me the address where I can send any medical supplies.
Love Ya, Mom and Dad

Charles Rooney said...

It was deeply moving to read your account of a real world we know so little about. Thanks for opening some doors for us to experience a bit of what you have seen.
~ Charles (your gramma Gerry's cousin)

Anonymous said...

Dear Kevin-

So proud of you!! Missing you so much. Once I get back to the country you leave. I am really again so proud of you. Can't wait to read more updates!

Love you cousin-

Anonymous said...

Kevin and John ~

Jody gave me the website to your blog and I read all of your entries today ~ what an incredible thing you are both doing ~ I wish you both the best of luck and hope to see you soon!

Brenna Mansfield

Anonymous said...

John and Kevin,
I read the article about you two in the GP News and was just amazed learning about what you guys have been doing over there. You guys are truly inspiring and should be very proud of yourself. Reading your experiences really puts my day to day "struggles" into perspective. Good luck to you and safe travels.....Kelly Smythe

Anonymous said...

Kevin and John
You guys are local celebs here, now that the GP News has gotten wind of your accomplishments! Reading all of your entries is amazing. It really makes you realize how many day to day activities we all take for granted. What you are doing is really wonderful. I am proud to say that I know you both! Wishing you the safest of travels until you return home.
--Dorrie Ray

Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin and John--
I received the link to your blog and i can't stop reading. What you are doing is amazing! I saw someone else leave a comment about sending a care package so let me know the things that you guys need over there and i will put together some care packages. I will be praying for your safety and for those that you are helping.

Thanks for sharing this experience with all of us.

Jenny Mansfield

Jack Liang said...

John, Wishing you and Kevin good luck on your summit attempt scheduled for tomorrow. I remember the Outward Bound Hut and trying to heat up hot chocolate before heading up in the middle of the night for Gillman's Point. Hope you have good weather and some spectacular views. Looking forward to hearing about your trip in Dec. upon your return. Sincerely,Jack Liang