If you have been reading this blog, you already realize my Grandma was extremely frugal, but seeing true poverty is a completely different story. International travel is one of the best forms of education. I am not talking about going to a different country and staying in a fancy resort. I am talking about seeing and experiencing the everyday life of people who actually live there.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I traveled to Nigeria with a colleague who had spent his lifetime living abroad as one of the world’s leading rice entomologists, Dr. E.A. “Short” Heinrichs. We traveled as consultants for Land O’ Lakes Farmer-to-Farmer Program.
The truth of the matter was Land O’ Lakes really wanted Dr. Heinrichs because of his expertise and international reputation. I was still working on mine! Both Dr. Heinrichs and Dr. Foster (my lifelong mentor and supervisor at the time)knew I wanted to go to Africa (it was a lifelong dream of mine). Dr. Heinrichs agreed to go only if we could travel together and work on the assignments as a team. It was a great example of the “Who You Know” factor. He was willing to travel to Nigeria so I could build my expertise, credibility and fulfill a lifelong dream. His generosity literally astounds me to this day! To top it all off, we stayed with some of his friends in England for a few days before returning to the United States. They let us stay in their home, fed us, entertained us and were simply wonderful people.
I learned about England and Nigeria in one trip due largely of the generosity of people. Never underestimate the kindness of the human spirit. It does exist!