on my way

Athens, Greece - 1/23 In spite of my fears (and a strong desire not to leave my boyfriend and dog) I am embarking on a two week trip to Lesvos, Greece. I will be volunteering with informal aid organizations on the island, trying to assist with the current refugee crisis by using my knowledge of Arabic, and by purchasing shoes and other warm clothing with your donations.

The man I was sitting next to on my flight to Athens today asked me what encouraged me to take this trip. On instinct, I referred to my standard answer: I read an article about what was happening on Lesvos and was inspired to help. It seemed like there was no official organization on the island. No big aid groups had stepped in yet, and the island's residents were left to help pull in dinghys full of cold, wet desperate people as they reached the shore.

And that's true. I was inspired by that article. It helped me realize that I have skills that might actually be useful in this situation. But it took something more for me to actually take the steps to go through with this trip.

Unfortunately, I think it took the death of my mentor* and friend, Bonnie Bucqueroux, who passed last October. It was thinking of what Bonnie would have said- what she would have encouraged me to do- that really gave me the strength and confidence to know I can do this.

I know Bonnie would have been proud of me, and would have encouraged me to make this trip. She always saw potential in me, and she always encouraged me to follow the path I wanted in life. I believe that path includes helping people and exposing injustices, which is something Bonnie dedicated her life to.

I feel confident that Bonnie would have supported my choice in making this trip, and for me, that's enough. So when I'm nervous getting on my flight to Lesvos tomorrow, I will try to keep that in mind.


*Blogger's Note: I want to clarify my feelings about my wording here. I don't really want to say that "it took Bonnie's death" for me to make this trip. That seems cliche and is not quite what I'm trying to say.

What I intended to say was that Bonnie's death served as the impetus for me to start actively and voraciously pursuing my dreams again. Because it allowed me to see that no matter how vibrantly we live, our lives can still be taken from us at a moment's notice, and I don't want to just sit around and wait for it to happen while my future and my dreams slip away from me. (Clearly I'm thinking about more than just this trip here.)

Bonnie lived her life pursuing everything that interested her, and never being afraid of what someone might think of her. She trusted her gut and did what she knew was right. At the very least I can honor her by attempting to do the same.