Today was a real turning point for the race. Crowds swelled to tens of thousands and it felt like we were all hitting our stride—everything seemed to click and the intense pressure of managing race logistics faded into the background so that we could all fully enjoy the race and connect with new people. Having that extra mind space helped us all to be better listeners to the crowds and we started to hear some really interesting (and new) things! Before today, no one had really heard of MP and definitely no one could describe what we do, but today people started seeking us out to learn more. “I know you, I saw your commercial!” was a common greeting today and we all started to feel more like part of the family than a guest in someone else’s house. It’s easy to forget how much word of mouth matters in tight communities and we were also finding that word was spreading organically and rapidly about our work. One man even came to quiz us at the hospitality booth, just to verify that we were real, and really doing the good work he’d heard about.
It’s fun for us because with a captive audience and a foot in the door, we’re able to go deeper into our programs with race-goers. We’re recognizing faces and being recognized on the go. It’s especially great for me to watch Jessica Masira, our Team Leader from Sauri Millennium Village, open up to people—man can she work a crowd! Everyone here loves biking and everyone around us is incredibly proud of what’s happening right in their backyard. When they find out that they are also contributing to MP through their favorite sport, smiles just grow that much bigger.