East Africa is still filled with the wildlife Hemingway saw 80 years ago. The land is still vast, largely uncultivated, and sometimes approaches barren. Lions roam, wildebeests migrate, monkeys swing from branch to branch, and hippos swim. We are Stiv Twigg and Cameron Mehl and we live here. We are video/photojournalists with an addiction to adventure. Our journey will take us from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia through desolate Northern Kenya and into Uganda. We'll pass Lake Victoria and enter Tanzania near Mt. Kilimanjaro. Traveling the entire length of Tanzania and Malawi, we'll turn west in Blantyre through Mozambique to finish in Lusaka, Zambia.
Along the way, we'll visit each CURE International hospital in the cities mentioned, which provide surgeries for children unable to walk. This journey is longer than the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails. The journey will gain and lose elevation two and a quarter times the height of Everest. It will take who knows how long (even though we hope not more than 4 months). It is at least 3,300 miles. It's more than dangerous. It borders on insane. Cameron will run the entire distance and Stiv will ride along on mountain bike, the best way to carry gear and complete the journey fully foot-powered. We'll document the entire trip and hopefully live to share it with everyone. We'll have all kinds updates along the way, including videos and photos.
We have the heart and motivation, we have the technical and physical prowess, we have the level of weirdness almost required to dream up such a trek. We hope to break the boundaries of what is possible in the world of ultra running and simultaneously increase awareness of a non-profit organization that helps to provide life changing surgeries to children who literally go from wheelchair to soccer field.
ALL WE NEED IS YOUR HELP!
Supporters will literally fund surgeries for children who are currently unable to walk.
In other words, donors will literally help change the life of a disabled child forever and for good. As CUREkids Coordinators, we see the difference these surgeries make in the lives of the children here. They go from ridiculed and bullied to confident and sociable.
What We Need & What You Get
There is plenty of planning to do and we're more than capable of solving visa issues, route obstacles, and wild animals.
As recent finalists of the $10,000 Outside Adventure Grant, we estimated the journey and gear needed would cost approximately $10,000. We already have some gear we need such as camping equipment and most clothing, but as we would love to produce a film from the journey, we need solar equipment, some camera equipment (steadi-cam, GoPro batteries), bike-carrying equipment (trailer and bike bags), and of course, running shoes. We are likely to need armed guards to go through a national park or two and some money would go toward funding that assistance.
If unable to reach the entire funding goal, we will buy less equipment and give as much as possible to CURE. Either way, fully funded or not, we'll spend minimally for the run/bike so we can maximize donations to CURE.
Each week in Kenya, anywhere from 10-35 children receive surgeries that change their lives for the better. That's well over 1,000 lives changes per year in Kenya alone. With each hospital having roughly the same number of patients, that's about 5,000 disabled children treated in a single year. These surgeries are almost always orthopedic in nature, and usually result in the child being able to walk for the first time in their life. Right now, CURE is funded by both private and public donations. Running is the means we're using to relay the message to the public. It's something almost everyone can do. It's something we feel everyone should have a chance to do in their lives. CURE helps provide that possibility to children currently unable.
Here's the deal:
Most surgeries need $1,000 to be raised before they can happen. Some need just $500! Compare that to a surgery in the US.
With our current goal we'll be able to fully fund surgery for at least 35 children.
The impact we can make in the lives of the children here is HUGE.
While we're doing this trip, we'll be traveling through remote places that are likely unaware of CURE in their own country. These are places were witch doctors tell mothers that their child is cursed by God. We will tell them the truth - that they can be helped - that they can be cured and they're not cursed by anyone. They are loved by God and we will help them see that.
Other Ways You Can Help
Please help in any way you know how. Send us an email! Let your friends know about the trip. We're welcome to any and all advice, support, and help. Even going to our facebook page and saying what you think about the trip would be great.
Our FACEBOOK page is here: www.facebook.com/RMRRunAcrossAfrica