In honor of our latest Handmade Soap workshop, I wanted to share a story about soap that I recently heard from one of the most inspiring speakers. Kelly and I attended Camp Mighty this year, where we heard an impressive and inspiring roster of creative rockstars. Even though we had a great time striking poses in the SmileBooth, spacing out at the NASA-themed dance party, and making new friends, there was one speaker whose story has stayed with me. When Derreck Kayongo took the stage, his energy was electric. He told us he would be telling us a story, his story, and then we would all sing an African song together. Needless to say, I have that song playing over and over in my head. And I’m not complaining.
Derreck and his family fled the tyranny of Idi Amin in 1979 to become refugees in Kenya. Derreck was given the opportunity to come to the United States to study, and upon arriving at his hotel, he came to learn that all hotel soap, even if only used once, was tossed out. Having been a refugee and knowing that today, there are millions of internally displaced persons throughout Central and Eastern Africa, struggling to survive with limited or no access to clean water and soap, he started the Global Soap Project. The GSP recycles and distributes soap to refugee camps and other vulnerable populations around the world. You can learn more about it here.
In the swirl of creativity and inspiration at Camp Mighty, Derreck created a precious pocket of awe and stillness with his story and his work. To be in the presence of someone like that is a rare gift, especially this time of year.