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Call the fire department!!

So, the fire department will come if your cat is in a tree (or at least that is how the story goes) but what about your kite?

I wish I could give you an answer, and perhaps I will have to test it in the years to come. Why am I thinking about this? Well, this holiday weekend, Paul and I made our debut as the newest members of the Marine Search and Rescue Department of the local Fire Department. Granted, this may take away from some of our precious kite flying time, but, in the grand scheme of things it is worth it.

Working to save people on the water

We are proud to give back to our local community, and we are looking forward to the task at hand. That isn't to say that we want more people in jeopardy in the waters around our home (or anywhere really) we are just thankful to be given the chance to help those that do find themselves in trouble.

The whole idea of giving back and helping others has me thinking about how I can do that through kites. Kites are something that transcend all cultural lines, all generations. I truly believe that it is one of those few things that speaks to a shared thought across humanity. Sharing a meal, the love of a mother to a child, success through struggle, kite flying. But how... how to do this. Perhaps I can take a cue from Fayes Khamal, a 10 year old refugee in Bangladesh.

There's no Xbox or PlayStation for most of the kids in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. But there are kites.
In the late afternoon, a steady wind blows over the hills of the Hakimpara refugee camp. Young boys race to a ridge at the top of the settlement to fly homemade kites. Some of the "kites" are little more than a plastic bag flapping on a string. But some are more sophisticated with long tails and frilly tassels. "This is a new kite and I'm very happy with it," says 7-year-old Mohammed Arfat as he reels out string to a silvery kite 30 or 40 feet above himArfat adds that any day he's not able to fly a kite, he feels upset.
I ask Arfat where he got his fancy new kite. He tells me that there's "this guy" who makes them and gives them away.
The "guy" turns out to be a 10-year-old named Fayes Khamal.

Surely I should be able to figure out a way to provide the tools or the teaching to places like this. You don't need the best materials in the world to make a kite, you just need the ones you have around you. The joy will come when you build it and fly it.

So, with all of this rambling, I am going to end with this proclamation. For myself if anything to hold myself to it. Today marks the day that I will start my paperwork to establish a non-profit focused on spreading the joy of kites in cases like this. (with the goal of having everything completed by the end of the year) A non-profit that serves the purpose of adding color and happiness to people. I don't want it to be about competitions, or contests to show who is better than who. I want it to be something that others feel good about standing behind and supporting. That people either directly feel inspired by kites, or they can see how it is fostering happiness and love in others. All centered around that motto of Connect, Discover, Explore. Just thinking about it, I imagine it having so many aspects. But, let me leave you with this imagery. On a table sits scraps of paper, bits of bamboo, string, and some things to color with. On one side of the world it is in a high end art gallery with bottles of wine and light jazz playing in the background as adults piece together bits and shapes with splashes of color. On the other side of the world, we sit on the ground tying our sticks together with the sounds of the refugee camp around us. Small hands draw birds and write words of encouragement. Both come from the minds of artists. Both can't wait to fly. All are smiling. Everyone should experience this moment.... and.... that is what will be at the heart of how I give back to the greater community. Give back to the world as a thank you for all it has given me.


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