Lupe Fiasco shares the dream of SOTSK from the snow-covered peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro…
The Collective Will of The SOTSK 45
Something special happened between January 7th, when 45 of us, mostly strangers, took our first steps on the trail and January 12th, when we set out on that same trail, in the middle of the night, to climb to the summit…
In those days between, the 45 of us became one. Unspoken, but felt by everyone…a desire for all of us to make it to the top. No one wanted to be the one who didn’t make it…but even more important, everyone wanted everyone else to make it.
We were climbing for all those without access to clean water, we were climbing for Kenna, we were climbing for ourselves, our friends and family, and we were climbing for all of you who followed us this week…
For some it was relatively easy, for others it was the most grueling physical experience of their lives. We plodded through cold, wind and snow and 7 hours after we set out for the summit, all 45 of us were united at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, 19,340 feet above Africa.
Kenna’s What If — a Summit on the Summit — became reality.
Had we been climbing as individuals, several of us might not have made it this time. Our guides were shocked, telling us they’d never seen a group as large as ours pull off 100% summit success on the route we climbed.
And as we stood on the summit sharing hugs and tears, we bore witness to the power of our collective will, having driven each other not just to a higher physical location but to a heightened state of mind.
We all have mountains to climb in our lives. You don’t have to climb yours alone. So rally your own team and see what happens when your climb’s fueled by the collective will of a group.
- Jay Lavender
The SOTSK 45
Dr. Greg Allgood
Eddie O’ Connor
A QUESTION FROM JAY LAVENDER
I have a WHAT IF for YOU
What if some guy named KENNA, inspired by an unsuccessful attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, his Ethiopian heritage and his father, decided to return to climb Kili to raise awareness for the global water crisis?
And what if he got a few friends to climb with him and then a few of their friends to run the project with him and then they all got a bunch of friends and strangers, many with no climbing experience, to agree to go with them?
And what if the group bonded effortlessly through a common purpose, stories, laughter and striving physically side-by-side?
And what if people all over the world, intrigued by something that wasn’t cynical, selfish or political in these difficult times, followed these people, strangers 7 days ago and now friends for life, as they trekked together up an African mountain with a film crew, photographers and a writer watching and capturing every step…not because these people wanted the attention but because it was the only way they could figure out how to cut through all the chatter and get YOUR ATTENTION?
And what if people started paying attention and learning more and talking about the global water crisis with their friends, family, coworkers and even strangers?
And what if all those people realized they could make a difference?
And what if they decided not to wait for someone else to do it but instead decided to donate their valuable time, energy and hard earned money to solving the problem?
And what if one day, we were all able to look back and say when that moment was when we said, “I had no idea that 1 billion people don’t have access to clean water or that 7 billion gallons of water a day leaks out of America’s decrepit infrastructure?”
And what if those same people, tired of our politicians playing shell games with our tax dollars to get reelected, pressured our elected leaders to do something about it since it affects each one of us every day?
And what if people were put to work, not some hypothetical time in the future, but this year, fixing and designing and engineering and rebuilding the pipes and system that brings water to our taps every day?
And what if people were inspired by SOTSK to build on PUR’s innovations and come up with even more ways to purify drinking water?
And what if our main stream media decided to quit broadcasting nonsense and started reporting on the positive things in the world?
And what if one day we could celebrate that we had collectively come together, as Lupe had invited us—danced together?
And what if all of that happened just because one guy named KENNA DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING and his friends joined him and then strangers became friends and then it became so much bigger than a group of people climbing a mountain because there were so many people who cared as much as Kenna that the collective positivity became an unstoppable force determined to help our fellow men, women, children?
And what if in doing that, we changed the world for the better and turned the global water crisis into the global water nuisance?
And what if one day you could smile to yourself as you were drifting off to sleep, knowing that YOU PLAYED YOUR PART to help turn these what ifs into reality?
- Jay Lavender, 3:45am, Jan 11, in a tent on the side of Kili
From: Brooke Gardner
Date: April 17, 2008 12:44:11 PM PDT
To: Jay Lavender
There is someone I want you to meet…his name is Kenna. I am working with him on an amazing project he has created. You should meet…you around for the next few days?
Brooke and I met back in 1998 when we were both assistants at Creative Artists Agency. We kept in touch over the years as we pursued careers in entertainment, linked by a common desire to give back to the world through our jobs and our lives. Brooke’s always been one of my favorite people and has inspired me with the various projects she‘s worked on…Live 8, Live Earth and Andre Agassi’s Foundation. So when I read that email, I knew “amazing project” was an understatement. I wrote her back immediately and said I’d love to meet Kenna. The three of us met a few days later at Urth Café in Beverly Hills where Kenna enthusiastically explained his vision to rally a great group of people to go climb Kilimanjaro and raise awareness for water issues. He asked if I’d come on board as an advisor to help tell the story and I told him I’d do whatever I could to help. Two years later, Brooke Gardner is now Mrs. Brooke Fedro and we’re heading to Kilimanjaro!
- Jay Lavender