December 15, 2010

The Impact of a (Revo)lution

I SAW A BLUE POSTER ON THE BULLETIN BOARD IN MY DORM HALL. REVO. THAT is all it said. I didn’t know what to make of the message, so after staring at it, I returned to my room. Later that day, my friend Rebecca stopped by.
“Hey, Leslie. I wanted to see if you would be willing to participate in REVO.”
Again with that word, I thought. I asked her to explain. She said that REVO is a grassroots movement based on love. REVO stood for revolution, and the event taking place at our school was going to be raising money for the Gakoni Orphanage in Rwanda, an Adventist-operated supporting ministry in Africa, where an alumnus from our school is the director.
“REVO’s purpose is to create positive change in the world. We are planning a fashion show, an art show, and a concert. We are looking for people to participate as models, designers, and artists. You should do it, Leslie. It is going to be amazing,” Rebecca expressed enthusiastically.
2010 1540 page25“It all sounds really good,” I said, “but I don’t think I can do it. Maybe some other time . . . I’m sorry.” I left it at that. REVO became the last thing on my mind for the rest of the quarter.
Occasionally I would hear my friends talking about REVO. I decided I should at least attend the event, anticipating the moment I would see REVO for myself.
I was surprised how many people were in attendance. Normally, our campus becomes a ghost town on the weekend. This time, however, I saw more people than ever before gathering on the Founders’ Green. A concert was taking place, and the rhythmic tunes pulled me toward the stage. I stayed around for a while and then headed to the art show.
As I walked around, I overheard conversations between strangers, students, friends, and family who set aside the time to come to and support the revolution. This was a powerful moment for me because it meant we could put all our differences aside to help others and have fun too.
“How much is that gorgeous photo?” I heard a parent asking a nearby admirer. It was an image of an orchard with vibrant light-green apples.
“It is at $50 . . . for now.” The response was given and the parent smiled as she increased the bid to $60. I witnessed people trying to outbid each other, making substantial bids to get the item while adding more to the REVO. What a sight to see!
At that point of the evening, I felt alive. I saw smiles on everyone’s faces and I even got the chance to chat with Kelli, my friend and one of the coordinators of REVO. The enthusiasm was contagious.
Looking forward to the fashion show, REVO’s biggest event, I was stunned by the creativity of the designers. The crowd roared, cheering for everyone, and it was incredible to watch. In that moment I regretted not being part of REVO.
The feeling of regret hung over me for much of the night. I have always wanted to make a change in the world, but as I would a fly buzzing around me, I brushed REVO aside. I judged the cause blinded by my preconceived notions. I realized that REVO was the kind of charity in which ordinary people could participate—REVO was a cause for our community and also for the orphanage.
I wasn’t used to enjoying charity events this much. Usually I walk out of them feeling shameful and depressed about the situation. With REVO I became inspired. I wanted to paint art, design clothes, and make music to benefit others. That night I rushed back to my room and got paints and some canvas to start an art piece.
I have talents I want to share with the world, and I’ve learned that is possible. I cannot live my life ignoring opportunities to help others. Especially if I can do it with God’s gifts.

At the end, this revolution changed my views. A revolution of love. It was unlike anything I have experienced. REVO had taught me more about myself and what I can do for my community and the world. So next year I will be the first to sign up for the revolution.            
Leslie Mutuku is a student at La Sierra University in Riverside, California. She is working on a global studies degree and is the student editor of Honorgram and Footnotes. This article was published December 16, 2010.