Toomer Arrives in Sri Lanka, Warner Returns

Our final day in Indonesia was a restful one. Kurt Warner and his wife, Brenda had a departing flight for the United States late in the morning, while Amani, Yola, myself and the rest of the World Food Program staff who we are traveling with, had most of the afternoon to spend in our hotel before our evening flight for Colombo, Sri Lanka, with a stop along the way in Singapore.

Prior to their departure, I spoke with Kurt and Brenda about their final thoughts on the trip, and what they would take back with them.

"Our trip was awesome," said Kurt. "It is hard to put into words, but it was great to meet the people here. The most amazing thing is their positive spirit and attitude. I was surprised people were so happy to see us. It is somewhat different from our culture, because people here who simply pass you in the street will always smile at you. It is a culture that is full of happiness in general."

"On the other hand, I never could have imagined the damage had I only seen the videos and photographs from home. I still can't fathom the damage after being here for a week. I just hope to be able to come back and organize my thoughts so that I can bring what I have seen home to America. I want to be able to do that so I can continue to benefit the people here, and I just hope that I do it justice."

"It is hard to use words like 'great' or 'exciting' to describe our time here because of the pain we have witnessed, but it is good to be here because of what we have been able to do. It has also been wonderful to meet people who have come here because they know they have a talent that is beneficial to the rebuilding process and they wanted to share it. It is easier to give money than it is to leave your family back home for months at a time to benefit people you do not know. You cannot put a price on sharing yourself with people. It is great to share resources, but the sharing of compassion and human spirit is paramount...It is our greatest resource. I have personally found on this trip that just our time is more important than who we are, our physical ability, and so forth. That is an important lesson that I will take with me as I return home and continue with my life, career and foundation work."

"I will always remember the people and their resiliency," added Brenda. "Their human spirit always amazes me."

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