My experiences with running in Africa are quite different than those that I have every day here in Minneapolis. First, the temperature was hot – but there was no air-conditioned room to retreat to post run. Not a lot of people were running for recreation in the areas of Ghana and South Africa were I was at, especially Americans!! Running in an area always provides a little different perspective than driving around in a car.
Since I was part of a team there were a couple of us who went out on several occasions for short jogs. Here we were fed fairly nutrious meals and were shielded for the most part from some of the nastier aspects of water borne illnesses, etc. It was also not oppressively hot during the days. The recollections I have of running there are few, but I know we ran in a group and not for very long or far. I only recall running during the last week of our stay when we were at a compound that was down the street from another compound of the same ministry. So we ran between the two sites and took a dip in the swimming pool afterwards.
This was a much different all-around experience as I was the only American and was living more at a similar level as the regular villager up the street. Our meals were mostly carbs (a lot of empty carbs) and I often left the table hungry for more. Water was also an issue as it was harder to get pure “nsu” in large quantities. I had brought some power bars with me for the trip and ate them on occasion. It was quite hot during the day and the only reprieve was sleeping under the fan at night. I think I ran 2x’s during my 8 week visit. It was hard to time the nutrition, weather, and quality of sleep for optimum running. The times that I did run were on the dirt roads away from the village and I got some weird looks as I waved at the “neighbors.”
Needless to say running is a sport that everyone takes part in around the world with the same fervor. I felt while I was running that it was crazy to be “wasting” so many calories when some of the people I was running by were calorie deficient. Little children are able to run around because for the most part they are little bundles of energy – but what happens after not eating for a week? or two? Not to mention hydration. I mentioned pure drinking water – it is available most everywhere but costs a little extra then ground water. I sipped a little ground water once and was quite blessed not to get full-blown diarrhea. I did get some intestinal discomfort because of my mistake. It was my first week there and I was sweating and exhausted. We were meeting with the headmaster of a school and he offered water. So I took it. Ooops!
Water that causes diarrhea and calorie deficiency causes thousands of people to die each day.
3,800 children die every day from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Source: UN World Water Development Report 2, 2006
There is an easy solution to that. World Vision and many other organizations are providing the resources for villages to get safe drinking water. World Vision is digging wells, educating the community about maintaining the well and the water quality, and providing safe storage containers. Digging a traditional well costs World Vision $5,390 which gets safe drinking water from 60ft underground. In some parts of the world, wells must be dug much deeper or through bad ground conditions. These deep-water wells can cost $18,000 to dig. Either of those figures may sound daunting, but your gift to Team World Vision will be joined with other gifts to help tackle problems like safe drinking water.
Please take a second to support my efforts in my first marathon by making a tax-deductible and secure donation to Team World Vision.
Team World Vision
Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.
On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.
[tags] World Vision, Team World Vision, Africa [/tags]