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It is difficult to come home after an experience of a lifetime. How does one integrate back into society. We saw so much in Africa. From visiting the remote Sudan and witnessing the amazing Victoria Falls, to seeing Robben Island the infamous detention centre where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and riding through Ethiopia. Even though the children threw stones at us, it was still incredible to be in a place that has always been etched in my mind from the 80's famine images.
To be able to tell everyone at home that the Sudanese people that we met were some of the most giving and friendly people in Africa is a blessing. While others watch the news and have their opinions on Africa, we can actually say that we have been there and can form different opinions by seeing how the people lived first hand.
Africa broke my heart, that is a fact. The people there struggle every day. We have it so easy here in Canada, with our running water, air conditioning, soft beds and sattelite TV. There, children work herding their cattle, women carry heavy loads on their heads, people fetch water and carry it for miles and they live in small huts without yards. I am sure that they are happy. They have their families and friends and they do have their land, but life is more of a struggle for them than us.
Of course we didn't see the wars and civil unrest that are going on, but we did see poverty. People in several countries were very grateful to have our empty water bottles. They will make use anything that is left behind by rich westerners. We take so much for granted. And that is what I have taken away from my time in Africa. You can't take anything for granted.
I have enjoyed visiting my family and friends and I have enjoyed sleeping on a bed. I love my ice cold water and I am thrilled to be able to walk barefoot on lush green grass.
Unlike other travels that I have taken, I am not suffering from reverse culture shock or depression. I am so happy to be home and we are full of new goals and ideas. Everyone in our life has been very supportive and generous, that I sometimes wonder why Dave and I always run away for months on end leaving behind these great people. But then again, it makes coming home that much better.
And so, our next chapter begins. This summer is all about getting out there to try new things. On sunday, we are competing in our first duathlon, Thanks to my friend Kelly. She sent a text saying she was taking part in the Lakeside Duathlon, so we said to each other, why not? I have normally not been a fan of running in the past, but since returning from the TDA, I have found that I am stronger and more patient with myself. Dave is as strong as ever and running confidently and quickly as usual. I am really looking forward to taking it farther and competing in an ultra marathon and making it to the Marathon de Sables. I have found that our strenghs lie in long distance. Both of us have a stubborness in us that won't let us give up. We focus mentally on the long term goal and just keep chugging along.
Being at my parents this past week has been great. Mom has been cooking healthy foods and dad has been inspiring us to get out of bed each morning to go for a run. I am proud of their dedication to being vegetarians and making healthy choices and I am double proud of my dad's accomplishments in the Senior Olympic Games. They displayed my trophy and Daves medal proudly beside dad's overall mens trophy for the 2007 mens 50+ 5km Race Walk. My dad beat 50 year olds and he is 67! The senior games are no small matter. Former Olymians and professional athletes take plart in this huge event every two years. It is amazing.
With people like this in our life, who inspire us day after day, we feel hopeful that maybe we can inspire others day after day. Go Janice, Lorri and Jody! All of who changed their lives while we were out of the country. Your motivation helps to keep us motivated. And to all of our awesome friends who are so active, dedicated and a success. You all keep us striving for more!