My good friend Kenneth Maginnity touched down in India in May. Months earlier, he’d purchased a 1965 Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle there, sight unseen, and had it rebuilt by the capable hands of Lalli Singh, a man he’d never met in person, but whose reputation in the motorcycle community of India speaks for itself.
As Kenneth planned his route and worked out his budget, he realized that what he would spend was enough to support dozens of families in India for a year. While India is a country of great diversity and beauty, it is also a nation where over three hundred million live on less than a dollar a day – often much less. Kenneth partnered with EndPoverty.org, a microfinancing NGO who works with local partners to distribute loans to poor entrepreneurs, who are given either cash loans or loans in the form of assets like sewing machines or income producing animals like cows, goats, and chickens. These entrepreneurs, who would otherwise never have access to loans from traditional financial institutions are able to start their own businesses and learn about how to manage the money, building community leadership. In addition to entirely self-funding his India journey, Kenneth helped to raise funds for EndPoverty.
I remember meeting up for coffee with Kenneth for the last time before he headed to India…about half a dozen times. Plagued with visa issues, he finally made the long flight around the world where he got to see his Enfield for the very first time. Midway through October after nearly five months and more than 16,000 kilometers of riding some of the most incredible roads in the world, he’s still there, but planning to return stateside soon.
From the peaceful beaches of Goa to the high-altitude Rohtang Pass through the Himilayas, Kenneth and his Royal Enfield Bullet have gotten what may be the warmest welcome I’ve ever seen. As I’ve followed his progress, it’s been astounding to see the overwhelming support he’s gotten from local community members. Hundreds of fellow motorcycle riders have turned up to meet him and support his cause – a sight nearly as inspiring as the landscape of India itself!
When Kenneth arrived at the CSS orphanage in Kolkata in early September, he got a warm welcome from dozens of shouting, excited children.
I have arrived in Kolkata, the ride in was beautiful. I must say though, you have not been welcomed until you have been welcomed by 20 to 30 kids screaming, clapping and jumping. I love the kids and I am looking forward to my time here.”
When he told me that the kids were working on something special for us at LetsBeWild.com, I was as excited too…but nothing could prepare me for the ridiculously large smile plastered across my face when I saw Kenneth’s photos of what the kids had been working on. Thanks Kenneth & all the kids! We love it!