On this day one year ago, Ride for Korah reached the Pacific Ocean. Eighty-eight days earlier, the three of us were navigating our way through New York City, sand from the Atlantic Ocean still in our tires.
A lot of people have made the same journey by bike. There are a few thousand individuals who ride across America each year. Most do it faster than us, and many have raised more money doing it. So why did ours matter so much?
Our journey mattered because it granted a new hope and a brighter future for more than thirty women living in Korah, Ethiopia. At this very moment, these women are living lives they might not have been able to dream of a year ago.
In fall of 2015, G.O. and I both felt inspired to do a long distance bike tour. Before it was Ride for Korah, there was a conversation of whether or not we would do this ride for charity. It wasn’t much of a conversation, though. With just the mention of I Pour Life’s program in Korah, neither of us felt like we had a choice.
We knew we couldn’t do it on our own and we knew our friend Dakota knew more about bike touring than us (as in, we knew literally nothing and he knew a lot). We couldn’t contain our excitement and immediately pitched the idea to him while he was at work. In typical Dakota fashion, he said, “Yeah, I think I’m probably down” upon the first mention of it, all while preparing a cappuccino. We met with him a week later and talked through our vision for the ride with him. It was a simple “Yes.” No further explanation required.
These were pivotal moments for Ride for Korah. I call them “generous impulses” – moments when your conscience leads you to a fork in the road. You have an idea, usually, one that scares you a bit, but you know it will help others. These are important and I think we all have them.
We felt burdened with a distinct responsibility to use our abilities to advocate for a group of people who we believed were worth every ounce of effort we could exert. If we weren’t going to do it, who was? If Ride for Korah had fallen to the wayside, would these women we met still be waiting for such an opportunity? I’m not sure, but I’m so glad I don’t need to answer that question.
There are a lot of generous impulses I’ve ignored or rationalized my way out of. I’m thankful Ride for Korah wasn’t one of them. I believe every one of the more than 200 friends, family, and strangers who gave to Ride for Korah feel the same way. And there are women in Korah who are thankful, too. I know because I met them and they told me.
I think this is the greatest lesson I gained from Ride for Korah – follow your generous impulses. Does it scare you? Will it cost you something? Will it give more than it takes? If your answers are yes, then you’re headed in the right direction.
Today marks a year from when we completed a journey that transformed dozens of lives, including my own. As you read this, my prayer is that today would mark a day when you chose to follow a generous impulse you have. Then, perhaps a year from today you can look back with a story of your own that inspires you to dream up something even greater for the good of others.
There is still much to be done in the community of Korah. Invest in a family there by giving to I Pour Life’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Program