Congratulations Japan and a Re-Post

Hey Everyone,

Mike’s bike ride finished about a week ago and we have both started moving on to other projects.  But, I keep finding myself thinking about Cali Cares!  Today I wanted to say congratulations to the Japanese women’s soccer team for becoming World Cup champions!

It was very difficult for me to choose a side the entire game but I was glad to see Japan win.  And it was such a historic victory… They had never been to the semi-finals let alone the final, never beaten the US, they fell behind twice, and had to face the world no.1 goalie in a penalty shootout.  It reads just like a Hollywood underdog story, except it’s their reality, and a living example of their optimism and perseverance.

Now, for the re-post.  These are my thoughts on the Cali Cares journey, from start to finish, written on July 9th.

The Cali Cares campaign has nearly reached its end.  Thank you for following Mike’s ride, and if you read his last post you know that there will be one or two more turns left in this journey.

I have been thinking a lot about Cali Cares over the past week.  Today I would like to share my thoughts on what I consider to be a successful and enlightening project.

A sketch by Mike for a Cali Cares brochure. Circa April 2011.

In my eyes, Cali Cares has become more than just raising support and awareness for survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.  It is a story of one man’s dedication, and a testament, that all of us are capable of doing more.

To my knowledge, before Cali Cares the farthest Mike would ride was 2 miles down to the beach and he certainly wasn’t worried about where he would stay the night.  That’s not to say he didn’t train, he did, but there were a lot more questions than answers when this voyage began.  Now he can ride 60 or more miles a day, he met some amazing people, was privileged tobreathtaking scenery, and he helped raise money for a good cause.

I have to include myself in here as well.  Before Cali Cares I had little knowledge about Japan, experience with blogs, charities, etc.. but I have come away from this project feeling educated.  Both Mike and I have found that by helping others we have ultimately helped ourselves.

For these reasons alone I feel like this project has been a success.  However, I have learned a few other things, and I feel it would be a shame not to share them with you.

A few months ago Mike came to me with this question:

“How can I show these people halfway across the world that I sincerely care about them?”

With all of the footage on the news it certainly made us feel like we live in a glass box.  But, an empowering thing happened as we explored Mike’s question… We found that while technology may have helped to construct a glass box, it also has the potential to break this box, and provide a level of support which is more human than we first realized.

To some extent technology has caused a rift in what we can do; we can observe but when we reach out our hand we hit a glass wall.  This is concerning for me because I believe we need to look out for our global neighbors. With regards to Japan, we share the Pacific Ocean, we share the same heart, we share the same faults, and we can be there for each other as our fates become “our fate.”

It’s only a matter of time before future disasters in other parts of the world affect us economically, environmentally, emotionally, etc…  But what we learned over the course of this project is that we can use websitesblogssocial media devices, and other neat things (double impact and free rice) to provide support for people outside of our physical range.  And the type of support is becoming more immediate, personalized, and sincere.

I think that Cali Cares has become an example of this.  I don’t know how many survivors have seen this blog, perhaps zero, but it is now documented that we care about you and your struggle, we love you, and we want you to love the ocean and the earth again.

Knowing that we are leaving this legacy has given us a certain satisfaction… We have answered Mike’s question.

And the future is bright with opportunity.

A little girl in Ofunato receiving a pair of socks. Courtesy of Socks for Japan.

Thanks for your support, and may you always be close to someone who cares.

-Zane

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