Touring across America. A different world in many ways from the Jamaica I just left. And in some ways, not different at all. In spite of all the challenges I experienced in Jamaica, I loved helping and supporting the homeless shelter (http://www.greathuts.com/shelter.htm), and I miss the friends I made in Jamaica and the beautiful nature, especially that magical cove of Boston Bay.
I started this tour in Indiana, supporting What’s Your Tree? (WYT) and the Center for Community Empowerment in Bloomington and Jasper. There are some absolutely wonderful folks participating in both of them. I was hosted the first night in the home of two absolutely lovely and caring people, one of whom is a WYT group leader. They made a fantastic vegan Indian dinner and friends of theirs brought decadently delicious fruit salad with candied ginger and vegan chocolate cake. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! From there, I went to Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana. Again, I met some truly wonderful people who care very much about wanting to make a difference in the world.
Next up was Minnesota and College of Saint Benedict and partner college of St. John. The shared campuses of these two colleges are quite beautiful. St. John’s campus is huge and includes gorgeous lakes, prairies, forests, and an arboretum. I met some incredible people there and wished I had a couple extra days to spend visiting both the land and some of the people I met there. If only when I went to college, I had gone to a college like this one! I want to go back and take classes from these combined campuses!
Sioux City, Iowa was next on the journey. Kristin, the young woman who was tasked by the Sustainability Committee with bringing a speaker to the campus, and discovered my story while searching online, blew me away with her commitment and follow-through. Morningside College Campus is a long way from sustainability—at least they recycle, but that is about it. So people like Kristin and Tom, the director of the Sustainability Committee (who is also a Joyous Vegan! : ) really are courageous leaders!
And, of course, as most everyone knows about me, I LOVE food—well that is good food. : ) I was treated to a really delicious dinner at Morningside. The college catering made the dinner, and I was actually blown away by the quality and diversity of options for the dinner—especially considering I was in Iowa and considering the level of sustainability awareness on campus! There were roasted potatoes and squash with sautéed shitake mushrooms; Asian rice noodles with avocado; summer rolls with tofu, basil, and mixed greens; salad with a fruit vinaigrette; ginger vegetable broth consume, and fruit skewers for dessert! On tour, I have gotten used to “making do”, so a few days thus far with really delicious vegan fare has been a fabulous treat!
The event, although attended by a small number of people, the QUALITY of people there blew me away! It was SUCH an honor and a joy to spend time with such incredible people! It is one thing to be aware and active in places like California and New York. It is another thing altogether to be aware and active in places like Sioux City, Iowa! I am so humbled and touched by my experience with these special people!
I am now off to go to a gathering with people from my early childhood days. They are people who were members of the church my Dad started when I was about 3 years old, and whom I have not seen since I was about 12 years old. A total blast to my past!
I am continuously humbled and blessed by the people I get to meet in doing this work and the incredible places I get to see and work to protect.
Here is to you and the courageous leaders everywhere they may be!
Love in Action,