(As a start, here’s a link to a fundraising campaign for an orphanage in Kenya that could use our help.) The day of Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals, a legendary contest between defending champion Boston Celtics and upstart Detroit Pistons, my elementary school held a fundraising fair. It was nothing special, but because this was our family’s first event of the sort after we had moved out of the city of Chicago and into a safer suburb, my parents dove into the thing with aplomb. My mother took off of work ahead of business hours to take an early Metra train out of the city, and my father was one of the volunteer dads that actually sat on the plank over the dad-stained water in the money-raising dunk tank.
For Nick Collison, taking a trip to Africa changed the world he lives in. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward was only in Kenya for three days, but it felt like three weeks. He witnessed people who walked 30 miles just to get two drops of polio vaccine, then turned around and walked home. He mingled among 100,000 people seeking refuge from wars and famine. He’ll come back to the United States a changed person. “To see things like that, it makes it real because you always hear about what’s going on in different places of the world. To see it firsthand, for me, made it real,” Collison said by phone Thursday from South Africa, where he’s participating in the NBA’s 10th Basketball Without Borders clinic. “It’s just an incredible trip.”