I am packed.  The technology is charged (and needs its own bag).  My sneakers are ready to go.  And there is only 1 pair of wedges in the suitcase (I couldn’t go cold turkey).  To have been given this opportunity is astounding.  In a few days I will participate in an all-female Liberian kick-ball tournament, meet representatives of other organizations that support Right To Play’s efforts in Liberia and chat with families and children in more than 5 communities in Monrovia.

The mayor of West Vancouver has sent a letter and dozens of pins and my communities are brimming with support and well wishes.  Facebook. Email. Phone calls.  Twitter.  Personal hugs.  I am humbled and overwhelmed.  A few short months ago, I knew so little about the development of communities, including my own.  I’m actually quite a shy person and can be reluctant to share and truly know people.

This campaign to raise awareness for Right To Play made me realize not only the incredible things that come out of play, but how a community can truly come together for a cause.  I have bonded with people who were once strangers by mentioning my involvement with Right To Play.  Eyes light up and all of a sudden I realize that a parent at the school lived in Africa, the passport picture photographer used to volunteer teaching sports to inner-city children and my doctor donates to Right To Play.  Advice is rampant.  Everyone wants to know how they can donate, and for the first time since I last performed in the theatre, I feel part of something much bigger and more impactful than I can even imagine.

Play teaches determination, leadership, how to be a part of a team, how to balance sport and school and discipline.  Gender equality and sportsmanship are enhanced.  Laughter abounds.  And Right To Play has already truly taught me to be part of my own community.  I am bursting to see the programs in action!

My final task is to pick the boys up from school and do a bit of shopping.  Very exciting shopping.  (Not that my heart doesn’t usually skip a beat when I see a store.)  This task, however, will be a selfless one.  It will be an exciting excursion for my kids when I hand them a few bills at the dollar store and ask them to choose whatever they think the children of Liberia would love.  How amazing as a parent to see what my children will think kids in Africa would want!

My heart is so full and my head may explode with the lessons I have already learned.  I can’t even imagine what is waiting for me in West Africa.

Let the games begin!  I am ready to play and can’t wait to share the journey with you all.