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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
We’re All Drops in the Ocean and Together We Make Changes

Guest speaker Mario Rigby inspires J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate students.

Mario Rigby speaks to J. Clarke Richardson students about his experience walking across Africa.
Mario Rigby speaks to
J. Clarke Richardson
students about his
experience walking
across Africa.

"Helping to change the world in a positive way is a cool thing, and it can be fun and exciting," says Mario Rigby. In 2015 on his 30th birthday, Rigby began his adventure where he travelled 12,000 kilometres across Africa entirely by foot and kayak for two years. He started his journey in Cape Town, South Africa and ended in Cairo, Egypt, travelling through a total of eight countries along the way. He was born in Turks and Caicos, later moving to Hamilton, Ontario with his family and eventually settling in Toronto after attending the University of Western Ontario in London.

On November 8, Rigby was welcomed to J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate in Ajax where he shared his inspiring story with students. Students in the Black Studies course hosted the event, which was open for all students to attend. "The Black Studies course examines origins in Africa, so this aligns with Mario's talk," says Jada Temple, teacher at J. Clarke Richardson.

Rigby asked students "What would you want to do if money, friends, and family had no influence?" He explains that this was the motivating question that allowed him to drop everything and pursue his true desire to explore the world.

Mario Rigby took time after his presentation to take photos with students and teachers at J. Clarke Richardson.
Mario Rigby took time after his presentation to take
photos with students and teachers at J. Clarke Richardson.

Hearing Their Stories

Before his journey, he sold everything he owned and prepared mentally and physically for nine months. "I needed to know what it felt like to walk for 14 hours a day," says Rigby, who prepared by walking from Toronto to Montreal, and learned how to pitch a tent in under 3 minutes, among other things.

While in Africa, Rigby noticed that the media portrayal of the African countries and cultures was vastly different from what he saw. "There are all kinds of people that live there just the way we would live anywhere else. I wanted to normalize that," says Rigby. He adds that he chose to walk across Africa instead of using transportation because it allowed him to meet more people and hear their stories.

After his presentation he held a Q & A with students. One student asked Rigby if he felt like he'd made a change. Rigby responded, "Probably not to the extent that I originally thought I would going into Africa, but we are all drops in the ocean and together we make changes."




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© Durham District School Board, 2013