Last week I stumbled upon my pictures of my trip to Africa.
Two years ago, Elden and our two teenage children — Melisa and Brice — were given the opportunity to visit Zambia and see firsthand the efforts of World Bicycle Relief. As I scanned over the pictures on the computer I was reminded of their smiles.
The Zambian people have amazing smiles.
The pictures instantly brought a smile to my face. “What an amazing people,” I thought. “These people that have very little worldly possessions have the most authentic smiles I’ve ever seen.”
It’s easy to forget how truly blessed we are to live in a country that provides so much for us. Meanwhile, the people of rural Zambia consider themselves fortunate when they have clean water to drink, a clean hole in the ground for a bathroom, a roof over their heads, and a school to attend (even if its more than a three mile walk each way just to attend it).
The very real and pressing concerns they have to think about don’t even register on our conciousness. In our world, all these necessities are taken care of and taken for granted — so we can worry about more important things like fancy cars, fancy bikes and fancy places to live.
Making a Difference
The “Power of Bicycles” is WBR’s slogan. WBR provides bikes to young Zambian girls and caregivers in rural Zambia. By providing bicycles for these young girls, we are providing them with a future.
Before receiving their bikes, they sign a contract promising to use their bike for transportation to and from school. These will enable them to spend the time it takes to walk to and from school, to spend on their studies.
Having a form of transportation allows them to be more productive in their chores around the village and lessens some of the burden placed upon them in collecting water from the well and making the trek into the market.
I also love the fact that WBR provides bikes to the caregivers of the village. As a nurse I can sympathize with the plight of these good people who are trying to care for the people in the area.
These caregivers could end up walking for hours each day and only be able to see a few people. The bicycle enables them to move between patients much quicker.
Leaving My Comfort Zone
A few months ago, Elden came to me with the idea of becoming an athlete ambassador for World Bicycle Relief. My immediate response was NO WAY! I’m a very shy, introverted person. I don’t like to be the center of attention — I’d rather fade into the background.
But the more I thought about it, the more I remembered the smiles of the people of Zambia, and I started to change my mind.
How could I pass this opportunity by? That would be the selfish thing to do. If I could possibly help bring one of those smiles I love so much to some young person’s face in Zambia, how could I pass up the opportunity? I needed to come out of my comfort zone and help!
So here I am, asking you to help me bring a smile to some young people in Zambia. Lets come out of all of our comfort zones and bring a smile to at least 120 Zambian kids by providing bicycles to them.
Smiles for Them, Smiles for You
I would like to bring a smile to one of your faces, too. Specifically, I want to take you mountain biking and/or hiking in beautiful southern Utah.
And one lucky person who donates at my fundraising page between now and the end of April is going to win an amazing weekend riding (or hiking, or running, or just enjoying the beauty of the place) at Gooseberry Mesa, staying and hanging out with Fatty and me, as we give you the full on Best-Friends-of-Fatty-and-The-Hammer treatment.
Here’s what we’re gonna do.
First of all, we’ll find a weekend (or possibly some weekdays — we’ll find something) that works for all of us. Probably this Autumn or next Spring, when it’s not miserably hot in Southern Utah.
Next, I will fly you out to Utah and we will spend the weekend at and around the Gooseberry Yurt. Last week, Elden and I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in the Gooseberry Yurt. Elden spent a considerable amount of time bragging it up. And I would have to agree with everything he said! What an awesome place to spend a few days.
I have to admit, though, that mountain biking on Gooseberry Mesa is NOT my favorite type of riding. I prefer to keep the skin on my arms and legs intact…not left in small quantities all over the rocks on the mesa.
But I cannot say enough about the beauty of the place. You don’t need to be a biker to enjoy it.
I actually went on a trail run. I loved enjoying the views from the mesa as I ran along the edge.
So if you’re wondering: no…you don’t have to be an absolute technical hardcore virtuoso to enjoy a weekend at the Gooseberry Yurt.
All you have to do is love being outside and going on walks, or hikes, or reading a good book in a beautiful, secluded, private place.
Or If you are more my style of mountain biker and actually enjoy a climb on your bike — followed by a swooping fun descent — the gooseberry yurt is only a mere 20 minute drive to the famous Hurricane Rim Trail/Gem trailhead, Where you can enjoy a beautiful moderately technical mountain bike ride.
And we are less than an hour away from the entrance of Zion National Park, where the hiking and spectacular views cannot be oversold.
The view from Angel’s Landing. A scary hike, but we’ll take you there if you want!
The hike to Observation Point is unimaginably beautiful. Even Fatty couldn’t take a bad picture here.
Or if you’re like Fatty and Kenny and love riding on technical sandstone, they’ll take good care of you. I might even come along and ride too…for a little while.
When you try tricky moves, sometimes it’s helpful to get a spot…just in case.
And we’re going to take care of food for you, too: I’ll get Fatty to boil and grill you his famous bratwurst. I’ll make a kick-butt quiche. We’ll have burgers, done right. Or if you’ve got a more vegetarian bent, we’ll have Heather cook for you.
If you need a bike, we’ll set you up with a very nice one to borrow for the trip — you won’t need to break down and ship your own.
Basically, we’re going to take very, very good care of you and give you an incredibly fun, relaxing weekend at one of the most beautiful places you could ever imagine.
But you can’t win unless you go to my donation page and donate. And for every $5.00 you donate between now and the end of this month (April), you’ll get a chance at this prize.
So, you’re giving a Zambian girl a great opportunity — and lots of smiles — and you’re getting a shot at a weekend I promise you’re going to love.
That should put a big fat grin on your face, right?
One Last Thing
Oh, just in case you need one more reason to donate: My birthday is this week and I would love nothing more than a simple $5 donation to WBR.
That would make me smile!