Josh Brazier is the executive director of the Kaiizen Foundation which is a non-profit organization that arranges volunteer groups of young people to travel to orphanages around the world where they undertake building, cleaning up, renovation, friendship and relationship projects in South America, Africa and India. I invited Josh onto the show with a suspicion that we would have a great deal to talk about together with respect to multi-cultural competency and interculturalism.
Josh grew up in Southern California, always a good Mormon boy, a Deacon’s quorum president, and a priest quorum assistant he demonstrated strong leadership skills from an early age. But right up until his mission he’d never felt a serious ‘no’ to any church expectation that came his way. Yet he’d also grown up in a household of strong compassionate women and lawerly political debate. This combination of intuition, intellectual strength and empathy would eventually come together while he was serving in the Spain Malaga mission where his outlook on life changed significantly in light of 9/11 and a heart breaking experience while he was serving as the Branch President in Ceuta.
After leaving his mission Josh eventually ended up at BYU where he set up a non-profit that coincided with the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. His fund raising for the Tsunami relief gave rise to a concerted effort to develop the Kaiizen Foundation. Kaiizen has been going for 10 years now and we reflect on what it means to go into the Global South as a white American, shouldering the ‘burden’ of ideological and economic privilege.