Kigali Half Marathon

Someone (a Rwandan woman) recently told me that I was the most beautiful American she’d ever seen. She said she didn’t believe Americans could be beautiful until she met me. I tell you this not to brag, but to provide context for the day I tell you that I’m never leaving this country.

BB ran the half-marathon on Sunday. Freddy and I had fun watching him. It was a really tough run (according to BB, which is saying a lot as he’s a bit of a masochist when it comes to running). It was hot, sunny, no water (he purchased some along the route), and extremely hilly. He finished only slightly slower than his best times in Chicago so it was a great accomplishment.

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More than that, we enjoyed the cultural experience. The race was actually really well-run, and it was fun to see all the Rwandans running. Freddy and I watched him come by our neighborhood near the start of the race.

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Then we went to hang out at the finish. When I got to the stadium the security guard thought I was asking to run the race instead of just watch. He was skeptical that I could run 13 miles with a baby on my back.

We watched them setting up and enjoyed listening to strangely dubbed American rap music (i.e. leaving in some explicit swear words and dubbing out words like “lick”).

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Here’s a photo of the winner being interviewed. Rwandans have a different idea of personal space than I do.

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I got distracted at the end so I didn’t get a good photo of the finish, but here’s BB leaving his running mate just a few yards from the finish.

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Way to go BB! A good memory for all of us.

Water

Last week I was sick.  Some sort of stomach bug completely took me out of commission for about four days.  As I tried as hard as I could to replenish the fluids that I was losing, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I take access to clean water for granted.  I live at a time and in a place where I can use as much water as I want, whenever I want.  It never crosses my mind how much of a luxury that is.

Meanwhile, in the real world, men, women and children walk for miles to access a small amount of clean water in the places where it’s even available.  850,000,000 people do not have any access at all. 4,000 children under the age of 5 will die today from disease that could have been prevented by having access to clean water. 

What happens to a person without clean water?  A nursing mother can’t nurse her baby.  A sick father cannot wash himself before caring for his child, and thus passes the disease on to the young.  An ill grandmother cannot flush the toxins from her weakened body.  A dehydrated child cannot recover after vomiting.

It’s enough to make me sick again.

The amazing thing about this problem, though, is that there is something we can do to change it.  There is water available, but wells must be drilled and access must be gained.  Lucky for this generation, there are organizations doing this work and making a serious impact.

If you want to use your resources to provide access to clean water for children in the developing world, you can.  My two daring (or crazy) friends, Wendy and Anthony, are putting their life on pause for a year while they seek to raise awareness and lots and lots of cash to fund clean water projects with World Vision.  They have committed to running 54 miles (yes, in one day) in South Africa this June and raising $1000 per mile.

The work of World Vision is proven to make a difference in the lives of children.  We can decrease those deaths and increase access in our generation.  Won’t you join us?

For more information and to donate now:

http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR/TeamWorldVision/TeamWorldVision?px=1103546&pg=personal&fr_id=2120

http://support.worldvision.org/goto/anthonyhalpin

http://justonedaychallenge.org/#/home/

http://www.worldvision.org/our-work/clean-water/