By Trevor Black
One person who gives me hope in South Africa is John McInroy.
There is a lot of noise in the world. The more you care, the harder it is to filter things out and focus on things that are important in your immediate circle of concern. It is hard to filter these things out because if you are an empathetic person, you know that you focussing just removes that pain from your awareness, not from the world. One person who gives me hope in South Africa is John McInroy. John will always emphasize that he likes the story of the work being done to be the focus. John’s story is not about John. John’s story may focus on South Africa, but it is not even about South Africa. It is about the fact that we exist beyond our circles of focus. Even when we have to focus on other things because we have limits, we can remember what is going on elsewhere. We can take steps to help. We can allow people to help us. We can help ourselves.
The story of Red Sock Friday began with two South African friends living in Ireland with one due to move home. John and buddy Ian Symons had heard the story of war veteran Sidney Feinson who got captured in the Battle of Tobruk during World War 2. He and two friends made a pact that should any of them make it back alive, they would wear reads socks to always be together no matter what. John and Ian decided to wear red socks every Friday to do the same. John has been spreading this idea through http://www.shooops.com/ and trying to ‘connect the world’ with passion and positive energy.
His journey also led him to start the Unogwaja challenge (http://www.unogwajachallenge.com/). Participants in this event cycle from Cape Town to the start of the Comrades Marathon, which they then run. But the story isn’t about a joy ride and a plod. It is about changing the world and connecting people through passion and the pushing of boundaries. It is about having fun. Bringing people together. Thriving. Inspiring others. Positive Energy. Participants raise money for charities focussing on helping people help themselves.
I do think there are individuals who are able to act as sparks, but they release the passion that is already there. It just needs a push. I meet lots of South Africans and lots of people from around the rest of the world who are bursting with energy to move forward. You can’t solve problems if you don’t hear about them and communicate about them. We shouldn’t be upset by some of the noise. It means we know about it and are doing things about it. Tribes united individuals. Religions united tribes. Countries united religions. We can go further than that. We can share stories and recognise bits of ourselves in others. If hope is a belief that people will learn, and overcome difficulties then I haven’t met many people you don’t give me hope. John is providing the red socks to help them remember each other while they get on with it.
[For more from Trevor Black, who wrote this piece, go and take a look at his blog over here: www.swartdonkey.blogspot.com]
Also who is someone that YOU think is doing something positive in South Africa that gives you hope. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how you can get their story up here…