My husband Tom and I have always been the adventurous types. Our 11 year old daughter, Capri, loves to sing and our 9 year old son, Bowen, adores computers. We know that life is short and we wanted to come up with something extraordinary to do as a family.
I had a flash of inspiration one evening: Tom wanted Capri to sing the national anthem at a hockey game. What if Capri sang anthems with children around the world? Why not find local children to sing with her while raising money for a good cause? Suddenly, “Around the World in 80 Anthems” was born!
Capri and Bowen researched the organization and determined that they really wanted to help orphaned and abandoned children. Bowen invented “Bowen’s Blog” where he would blog about each country and Capri would sing each country’s national anthem.
Everything fell into place and, after many months of hard work, we found ourselves at the airport ready to board our first flight. We had managed to secure several sponsors such as Flight Centre, Eurail and a few others, but we would cover the rest of the costs ourselves. All money raised would go to SOS Children’s Villages.
We have now been traveling for 7 months and have been to 65 countries. We have had incredible moments, met hundreds of amazing people, seen both fabulous and frightening places all while having the most unbelievable experiences of our lives. We have had the chance to stay at over 30 of the SOS Children’s Villages throughout the world during our travels. Because of this, our experience has been richer and truer to life than the average traveller due to the fact that we have eaten with the families, shared many hours with them and had the chance to become part of their local lives for a few days. Seeing and hearing stories about the abandoned or abused children, we can now more easily comprehend the pain of those affected most by the “adult problems” most prevalent in each region. Whether it was HIV or AIDS in South Africa, drug problems or sex-trafficking issues in South America or lack of education, alcohol and abuse in Eastern Europe, we saw first hand the effect that these problems had on the kids.
Our children have learned that, despite differences due to religion, skin color, social status and economic conditions, children everywhere have the same hopes and dreams, play the same games and all want to be loved and cared for. In singing together with the local children in their language, Capri forms a special bond.
Bowen has interviewed many young boys and has asked them, “If they had one wish, what would it be?” With answers as surprising to him as “a bicycle” (doesn’t everyone already have one??), “world peace” (a different perspective from a boy in Vietnam than one from Canada) or “good luck for my whole life” (a common wish in China).
With 15 more countries to go, we continue to soak up each and every morsel of this enriching experience. Although we are nearing the end of our journey, we know that we want to continue to work to inspire other families and children to use their talents to move outside of their comfort zone by seeing life from a different perspective and by doing what they can to help those who need it most.
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