On June 11, 2011, Adam, an intelligent, handsome, energetic young man, left this universe near Herbert Glacier in Alaska in a tragic hiking accident. He was a special friend, a generous person, a great dancer, a good listener, and someone who made you laugh and smile. And he was determined to live his life fully, which is exactly what he did (see my July 5 blog “Adam: A Lived Life“).
Before his death, Adam had been accepted as a volunteer for the Peace Corps to work in Togo, on the Ivory Coast of West Africa. There he planned to dedicate two years of his life educating people in high risk areas to prevent them from falling into a lifetime of slavery in the hands of human traffickers.
To honor Adam and to raise money to help people in need, Adam’s brother Matt and his girlfriend Darcie decided to cross the United States on bicycles. In their website “Bike America for Adam” (www.bikeamericaforadam.com) they wrote about why they were doing this. I feel it’s important to share what they wrote with you – something we all need to know about and be concerned about:
“Yes, we are trying to honor Adam’s memory in the grandest way we know how but we are also doing something else that’s very important. We are fighting to stop the practice of human trafficking that, according to the United Nations, is a dire problem that is practiced, either through the abducting of, transporting of, or selling of slaves in 161 nations. Here are some of the harrowing statistics on human trafficking:
- There are an estimated 2.5 million people at any time being forced into labor.
- An estimated 1.2 million of these people are children sometimes as young as 10 years old.
- 95% of those trafficked are either physically or sexually abused.
- A little under half are sexually exploited, and they are almost all women and children.
- Those that are exploiting these people are getting an estimated profit of $31.6 billion annually.
- In 2006, there were only 3,160 convictions which means for every 800 people trafficked only one person has been convicted.
“The traffickers get their victims from poorer nations where poverty is rampant. Victims are often coerced with promises of a ‘better life’ and an education in exchange for labor. People from these nations, especially parents who want a future for their children, jump on the chance for a different life. However, once they are taken away from their families and their community, this ‘better life’ they were promised changes into a world of abuse and despair.”
At Christmas, Matt and Darcie asked people to take time to give of themselves to good causes. On their website, they wrote: “There are a lot of people in the world that do not have the resources necessary not only to celebrate the holidays, but to get by on a daily basis. So please give of your time and resources to those who truly need it this year.” Talk about thoughtful people!!
On June 11, 2012, Matt and Darcie, this very generous and compassionate young couple, joined Adam’s parents Elaine and Jerry and me outside Juneau, Alaska at the trailhead to the Herbert Glacier where we talked about Adam and remembered his amazing life. We closed with Dawna Markova’s inspiring words: “I will not die an unlived life. . . . I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible.”
Beloved Giver of Life, thank you for Adam, Matt, and Darcie. May we learn to be more like Adam with our spirits alive, awake and enthusiastic. May we also be more like Matt and Darcie and approach our days with generous hearts and serve others with courage and love. May we too live life fully and not die an unlived life. Amen.