Have you ever wondered where that first Reality Tour visited? Reality Tours associate Kathleen Reynolds had the opportunity to ask Global Exchange Co-founder Kevin Danaher to find out:
Kathleen: Where was the very first Reality Tour?
Kevin: Actually it was to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. I had scored some funding for Africa educational work. With a friend of mine from Chicago, Prexy Nesbitt, we took a group of about 12 to 15 people.
There was a shooting war going on in Mozambique at the time involving guerilla army Ranamo (Mozambican National Resistance), a total terrorist organization. We didn’t really know what we were doing but we got everyone through.
There was one time in particular when we left Zimbabwe. Our bus was not able to leave because I didn’t have the right export papers. We got a ride from a nun with a pickup truck who did two shuttles to take us all into Mozambique.
The next day we had to arrange for a dump truck, different vehicles to carry everyone. At one point we were going to a refugee camp. On the way everybody was all excited and there was all this chatter going on. After being there, seeing little babies dying right in front of their eyes I remember very distinctly the ride back was absolutely silent.
You could see everybody was deep inside themselves, either crying or trying to wrap their hearts and brains around what they had experienced.
I think that that is what real education is about. It’s not just frontal lobes it’s about what’s in your chest and how you feel empathy for other people even if they are on the other side of the planet.
Decades later we know the transformational power of travel continues. We have grown from those first few annual Reality Tours to over one hundred planned departures next year.
While our planning and logistics have been refined (a lot!) over the years, our passion and spirit of truly connecting “people to people” has remained the same. If you’re looking to expand your heart and mind, consider joining us on a Reality Tour.