When Jackson Bambo, the Director and Founder of Arrive's newest partner organization, stepped off the plane in Washington D.C. on May 1st, it was his first time on American soil. Having one of my best friends from across the world in my backyard was exciting but I, nor anyone else, knew quite what to expect. Would Jackson be overwhelmed by the big city? Would people understand him? Or would he be lost - both physically and figuratively? Jackson grew up in the rural African countryside; running water and electricity were non-existent. Food and clothing were the main concerns and many times were not available to him. Going to school was a dream. People starved to death, lived in mud huts, and could not afford medicine to save their lives. America presented a major "culture shock" to Jackson - vast differences in society that nobody can be truly prepared for.
Jackson stepped off the plane and made a seamless entrance into the United States of America. His naturally outgoing personality (he exclaimed "Hi I am really enjoying your country!" to each visitor he passed in the Smithsonian's Nation Zoo), gratefulness, and strong work ethic combined to make Jackson feel right at home in the USA. His transition proved to be easier than that of Eddie Murphy in the classic 1988 film "Coming To America," although there were similarities. Wide-eyed while looking at New York City subway (the first subway he'd ever seen), Jackson commented, "You can take the man out of the village but you can't take the village out of the man." Hopping into my car on a "frigid" 65 degree evening, he asked "Is your car like mine...without a heater?" And while the funny moments continued in every place he found himself, nowhere did Jackson leave a greater impression than on the people he met in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Friends, family, supporters, donors, newcomers, neighbors, and everyone in between flocked to Ridgefield to meet Jackson. In the four days he was in Connecticut, we accomplished so much - from television interviews (click here to watch the interview) to fundraisers, meetings to presentations, sight-seeing to grant-writing. I would like to thank, on behalf of Jackson and myself, everyone who created time to meet Jackson while here in the United States. I am sure that it was not only a valuable experience for you, but as well for Jackson. I know he will treasure and miss the time he spent here...until he comes back!
Although Jackson has returned to Kenya, his legacy has remained. I am SO proud to release to you two new Arrive videos. Created with Jackson, these INSPIRATIONAL Arrive movies capture the passion and essence in which we are committed to helping the most vulnerable kids around the world - you DON'T want to miss them. Both short films, James' Story and What Are You Doing This Summer? can be viewd below. Roll the tape!
Loved these movies?! Of course you did! Don't forget to check out all of Arrive's videos by visiting the Videos Page!