I haven’t known my friend Joel for long, but I have recently learned that when he sets his mind to something, he is seemingly unstoppable.
Everybody knows that life sometimes throws us curve balls. It’s when we can pick that ball up, recognize a cause, create a solution, put together a plan, prepare for an across-the-world trip and raise some funds all to put a smile on someone’s face that we have succeeded! Life is full of surprises. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention; doors close, others open.
This June, Joel will be biking through Malawi, Central Africa, to raise funds for the Taulo Project. He has created the BYOB(ike) initiative “in order to establish locally run bicycle tours out of the Taulo Region as a sustainable Income Generating Activity. The bike he is bringing for this pilot tour will be left there for local use. Subsequently, each person to participate in a BYOBike tour will bring their own bike and leave it for use on-site.”
If you meet Joel, you will immediately sense a genuine kindness, interest and compassion. He is the kind of person who it feels good to be around. His giant smile has been the focus of my lens many times (you can see him in the latest issue of EAT magazine – page 19 – where he and some local pork buns modeled for me). He has a constant underlying twinkle, is always up for an adventure (naked bungy jumping anyone?), has a ridiculous sense of humor to go along with his contagious laugh and is clearly a sensitive, caring soul. He is an eager student of photography with a creative eye, and I look forward to seeing what he shares with us all from his African adventures. He deserves all wonderful things for what he brings to the world and the space that he inhabits in it.
I will miss my friend while he is gone, but I am so proud to have watched this adventure unfold for him. He impresses me with his obvious care for others, his constant efforts at a better place for himself in this life and his ambitious, generous endeavors. Good luck Joel! I will be watching you! :)
[If you would like to contribute to this cause, Joel is currently holding an online auction that you can find details about here.]