One Year Ago

September 26, 2013 | Janie

It’s hard to believe, but just one year ago this week (why does it feel like it was at least two years ago?) World’s Vision’s Step into Africa was in full swing at the Isanti County Fairgrounds.

Step into Africa truck

Several hundred volunteers were required to pull the whole thing off. World Vision staff directed the initial set-up of this portable exhibit and everything went like clockwork.

Gathering for Set-up of Step into Africa Volunteers set up Step into Africa Two volunteers for SIA

The guys get ready at Step into Africa

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by city and state dignitaries…

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Step into Africa

Cutting the ribbon at step into africa

…including Princess Zulu of Zambia!

Princess Zulu of Zambia

Guests at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Several thousand people—including hundreds of youth—were made aware of what life is like for those who live in extreme poverty. For those who walked through “the Experience,” it was an eye-opening, often heart-wrenching education.

With the aid of headsets visitors were guided through a series of interior rooms, like the one pictured below. They followed the story of an African child, learning how poverty had impacted his or her young life.

Step into Africa home

But all too soon, this artful and wonderfully creative exhibit needed to be dismantled.

Dismantllng the Exhibit

Volunteers once again faithfully stepped forward for the “tear-down.”

Helper on the day of tear down

Packing the truck at Step into Africa

It was time to say good-bye to our friends from World Vision and wish them well as they drove the exhibit south to a new location.

Thank you, Kelli McDonald (second from the right) for your enthusiasm and leadership. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers who made this major undertaking so successful, forever altering the worldview of those who attended. We especially want to thank those visitors who made a commitment to sponsor children—Kivurugan and others—or who gave financially in some other way. Never doubt that you have brought hope into the lives of these kids, their families, and their communities.

IMG_3477

Steve Fredlund summarized things this way: “Our goal, which we thought to be quite lofty, was for at least 3,000 people to walk through the Experience. After the numbers had been totaled, we ended up with over 4,000 visitors and 204 children sponsored! These numbers are still quite staggering to comprehend. The World Vision team was so thrilled with how our community rallied, including nearly 30 organizations that joined forces to make this happen.”

East Central Minnesota, as Steve might say, rocks!

  • Steve Fredlund

    When I first heard we were at the one-year anniversary, I thought that was just wrong. I agree it felt like 2-3 years ago; it was such an impactful event for so many. We continue to hear the stories of how people grew in compassion and awareness. Thanks for the reminder and rad pics Janie.