Caren Ware's Blog

February 28, 2014

INTO AFRICA, not out of…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:28 am

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IMG_4108My son drove me all the way to San Diego to drop me off . That will be a five hour round trip for him to do so. Only a son. I am on my way to a continent I have never been. It will be my seventh continent marathon. I am heading to Africa, not so much to run 26.2 miles, but to meet the Maasai and the Tanzanians. Remember I earned my way to Antarctic by working for a ski shop, covering the coffee and sandwich counter of a bakery and coaching track. To get to this continent, I worked for Teton Mountaineering and I am being sponsored by Kathy Loper Events so I can let you know what her destination packages are like. She says she has found the epic formula for letting others experience the best and real AFRICA. Remember that dreamed theme, to do a marathon on every continent as remotely as I could find ,meeting whatever indigenous people that were there. She says she will take me to that kind of AFRICA. I will be piloting “FINDING FIT”, which will turn into a website and travel series, a kind of Anthony Bourdan style that, instead of food, finds fitness along the way. There are so many interesting people doing interestingly, random fit and fabulously things, everywhere… if you are looking for it. Even the Maasai stay fit through jumping games. For them, being fit feeds them.
For the next three weeks, I am going into Maasai territory by taking on a Safari, a marathon, and a trek to the top of the 19,000 Kilimanjaro. I am going to meet real people with real stories. This is all I know about the Maasai. They are nomadic peoples that build huts of straw, twigs, and mud. They seal these together with cow dung. They follow the game and are highly esteemed because the warriors are highly capable of killing a lion with a spear. They wear bright cover sheets of fabric. A specific fabric I am not sure the signifance of. And they like to sing and jump. Jump straight up. I can get into that…loving the high and long jump! The Maasai are hired to watch over the Safari camps at night, protecting the perimeter as the conservatories have a no gun law. We will be Safari guided by Tanzanians, and I would be running and trekking with Tanzanians and Kenyans and a pod of 9 other Americans that signed on to excursion with Kathy Loper Events.
I haven’t funds left in my fun fund and this getting very real. I will have to make a serious pursuit for income when I return. I told my daughter I was going to Africa as poor as the people I will meet. She reminded me,”I highly doubt that.” Poor in America means you have to par down to doing without the boat or getting your nails done. Tanzania has only a 36 percent employment rate. The majority of its peoples are scrapping up work, trying to sell things, or trying to eat off of cows, goats, and the land. Bananas and coffee are accounting for a small portion of exports. Tourism is it, but seasonal around the rainy and dry seasons. And tourism, the Tanzanians enjoy. They enjoy people. They just seem to enjoy.
I was leaving my college son behind because I feared the consequences of the cost of bringing another person, but I have knots in my heart that this was an adventure meant for him and I. And the value of the time and timing with him should have had a price tag never too high. I didn’t realize that I would have paid any price to have that precious time with him. It was too late and I was already dropped off at the airport. My son leaves me at near midnight with my expedition bags. I hug him with limp arms knowing that I will regret from the very beginning every day I missed sharing this experience with him. I did not want to do this alone. The marathon miles ahead already wearied me. The alone miles in my pursuit to do all these remote places on earth were weighing on me. I had the most memorable of experiences in the OUTBACK of Australia because I had my kids with me.
He drives away. I will find incredible protection and devotion in the animals of Africa to their babies. The phone txts, “I love you, mom.” I feel like the wildebeest that turned her back for that split second and the lioness leaped. I know you do, son. I know you do. I so wish I had rewarded that with the experience to discover hands on. Every day here in Africa I could only wish to have shared this experience with you, my son. It is such an unusual place like no other on earth, it is meant and best to be shared. . I dedicate this journey in Africa to my son, John who has just graduated from college and has worked hard as a computer operator for the business I sold. I know he will make life a solid IMG_4354adventure.

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