We, like people all over the world this week, were thinking of Africa when we heard of the death of Nelson Mandela. He was a true visionary, a revolutionary, a humanitarian, a peacemaker. Our world is surely a better place because of him. In his book Long Walk to Freedom he says, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
This quote resonates with us as we think about travel. Through travel, we meet other people. We learn about their cultures. We see a different perspective. We realize that our way is not better, only different. We realize that what people all over the world want is a place to live, food on their table, safety for their family, and to share time with those they care about.
As we shared a meal with farmers in Bacho, Tanzania, and learned traditional methods of cooking and sewing from Barbaig tribespeople; as we worked with schoolchildren in Gendabi, Tanzania, and practiced our Swahili with Maasai warriors; as we played keep-away with mothers in northern Zambia and took their children’s first-ever professional photographs; we saw firsthand that having things is not the most important thing. People are the most important thing, and when we develop a relationship with someone, whether that be our neighbor or someone from another culture, the world becomes a smaller, more connected place. A place with just a tiny bit better chance of living in peace.
We want to do everything we can to ensure that we live in a world at peace, and so we will continue to seek out relationships with those who are near to us and those we meet on our journeys. We hope you will consider travel a means to peace as well. We’re sure Mr. Mandela would approve.
Be at rest, Mr. Mandela, and we will do our part to bring peace to the world in your stead.