a passion, Tamara Banks and Africa

4 Nov

a light that so shines
I crisply remember the first time I saw Tamara Banks in person. One morning, my daughter and I decided to enjoy breakfast at a local eatery, Hotcakes.  Of course I recognized Ms. Banks, she is a well-known television personality in the Denver area.  I’m certain she didn’t know who I was, but that didn’t stop her from extending a gentle smile and warm hello.

As time went on, I would see Tamara at various restaurants, the local grocery store and around and about the community we both live in. She is genuinely and consistently a warm, kind person. With each encounter, I grew to admire and respect her greatly.

it was no surprise
A couple of summers ago, I received an invitation from a mutual friend to view a documentary, which was to be presented by Tamara of her travels to Darfar in the west of Sudan in Africa. I made a point of attending for multiple reasons, but mostly I wanted to be supportive.  As I listened to Tamara speak, I understood two things at the very least. One, it was no surprise that her compassion shines through so brightly, and two; I needed to hear what she needed to share.

After viewing the documentary, and as time went on, Tamara and I continued to exchange greetings, but now, I wondered about her journey. I was curious about the work she was doing and I wanted to share her passion with others. I decided to request an interview and she graciously agreed. So we met at a local coffee shop, sipped, shared and I had an opportunity to learn a little more about this woman’s passion.

purpose and passion trumps everything
As a little girl, Africa captured Bank’s heart – no doubt, a passion planted by God deep inside of her. In 1999, Tamara made her first journey to Kenya. She said, “I felt as though I had come home.” Since then, she has visited Africa 10 times. Tamara’s love for reporting and traveling has also taken her to Peru, Panama, and she even played polo in Argentina.

Tarantulas, scorpions, and camping in unpredictable regions of the world would be enough to bring many of us home prematurely. Banks explains, “When you focus on people, you overcome your fears.” When traveling in many parts of the world, Tamara meets people who are very sick with diseases; but she doesn’t like to wear surgical gloves when greeting them. She wants to feel their hands and feel their heartbeats – she wants them to feel her heart.

When asked, “What are your hopes?” Tamara responded with clarity.  She knows who she is, and she understands her purpose.  Through her gift of journalism, she hopes to shine a bright light of truth and justice on the darkness of injustice. Banks is committed to telling the stories that no one else will tell. She lends her voice to women being raped, others being enslaved, and still another being decapitated to discourage others from running away…to name only a few. She wants us to know that the victims become the perpetrators and often times we are pitted against one another.

Ms. Banks believes that though we may not agree with each other, we should try to learn more about one another.  The more we understand, the less we’ll refer to others as “those people” or “they” or even worse, using names that dehumanize. “Everyone wants the same things – food, water, shelter …What keeps us human is knowing that we are all human.” She adds.

a pearl of wisdom – pursue your passion
Tamara has experienced many accomplishments, and guided by her passion will continue to impact the world we live in. I asked her for a single piece of advice for those who are ready to step out on faith.  She responded, “Sit down, write down your thoughts, for example, I really want to ____________. What does that look like?  Why do I want to do it?” She explained that knowing why you want to do something is very important. After writing it down and being clear about your motives, she suggests you share your thoughts with someone you trust and find a mentor in that area.

to whom much is given, much is required
There are stories that are “popular” or “politically correct” to tell. There are also stories about horrific things that are happening in this world, to people who in the most basic of ways are just like you and me. It is essential that their stories be told. It is critical that they be heard. I asked Tamara, what could we, those who read and share this story, do to support her work?  She replied without hesitation, “Pray for me, specifically for wisdom, guidance and strength.”

I am asking that in addition to your prayers you do several things. Share this article, pray for people all over the world, and ask God, is there anything I can do?  If Tamara’s purpose is to expose injustices in the world, it may be another person’s responsibility to pass the message along, and still another person’s purpose to do something tangible like fund-raising. Collectively, we can impact this world in major ways.  It only takes about $50.00 to free an enslaved person in Darfar.

Donations can be made to Colorado Public TV12


Links | Tamara Banks

peace, blessings and love…
cynthia martin


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