Thursday, November 22, 2012

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Giving Back

As we have traveled the globe climbing mountains we have witnessed the challenges some of the local people face, especially disabled individuals.  An opportunity to help fell into our lap when our friend Beth Sanden returned home from a trip to Tanzania after completing the Kilimanjaro Marathon using her CAF grant-supported hand cycle.  She met a group of ten disabled athletes who shared their story. 
All of them have the determination and desire to participate in athletic events, yet the entire group of ten athletes all share ONE race chair among them! Our CAFrica Team is collecting pre-owned race chairs and hand cycles and will transport them with us to Tanzania where we will personally present the chairs to these deserving athletes, giving them the same chance to participate that many disabled athletes in the U.S. receive.   We are working with Alex Ndolo who is the founder of the Kilele foundation which is an NGO helping to support the people living with disabilities. Below are photos and bios of these athletes whose lives we hope to transform by giving them the equipment and confidence to not only compete, …but to feel the wind in their face and to truly live!  Please join us in supporting these worthy athletes and make a donation to CAF today!  Visit:

Student/Prof. Athlete
Wheelchair basketball & racing
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Iteken Timoi Ole Kipelian
Wheel chair racing & tennis.
National team - wheelchair basketball. Finalist
for tennis.
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Operates own business, prof. athlete
Wheelchair basketball captain & traveled with team internationally, won Kenya Open wheelchair tennis
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Rael Akoth
Beauty salon operator, prof. athlete
Wheelchair racing, basketball, won Kenya Open wheelchair tennis
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Mathewa Mugenya Olum
Prof. Athlete/Coach
National team wheelchair basketball, wheelchair marathon, tennis Kenya Open finalist, 800m & 1500m medalist
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Lenah Nyaboke Marita
Office Administration/Computers
Wheelchair basketball, shot put, javelin, full/half marathons (medalist)
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Professional Athlete
Wheelchair racing, basketball, marathons
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Elizabeth Atieno Ogonji
Athlete/Mother of two
Wheelchair racing, placed in every marathon, javelin, shot put, discus medalist
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!
Yohana Assa Mwila
Computer Student
wheelchair racing
Visit my site and make a donation today. Thanks!

Going for Gold

WOW, so many emotionally charged events have taken place here in Africa since our last blog post. Sorry we have not updated you since then but after we said our sad farewells to our team at Kilimanjaro Int'l Airport, they boarded their flight home and we flew to Nairobi to climb Mt. Kenya. We were on the mountain for the past three days and now with Internet connection again we are finally able to share the most exciting and memorable part of the entire adventure (and that means a lot considering how many exciting and memorable experiences we've all had).

On September 12th after our final day on Safari we headed to the bustling city of Arusha for the long-awaited race chair presentation. As we pulled up to the Ilboru Safari Lodge we were pleasantly surprised by this lovely venue where the lush garden area had been transformed in to a proper celebratory setting. The owner graciously hosted food and drinks for all 40 of us. The group consisted of nine athletes, the leader of the Kilele Foundation, our CAFrica team as well as local media representation. Seeing these athletes entering the garden filled us with the same enthused anticipation that a kid feels on Christmas morning.

One by one they filed in and we greeted them with handshakes and hugs. We could see the excitement in their eyes. After introductions we said a blessing and expressed our gratitude for this enormous event to finally come to fruition. Some of us spoke a few words and then it was time to try out these race chairs. The athletes jumped in the chairs and took them for a test drive. Their competitive spirit shone through as they raced each other and their gigantic smiles from ear to ear told the whole story. Many of them have their sites set on the Boston Marathon 2013 and the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio was a hot topic among them. With the help of this equipment it would not surprise us to see some gold medalists come out of this fit and determined bunch.

Our hearts were filled with gratification and a bit of sadness when we had to say goodbye to our new friends. We look forward to seeing what their future brings and we are thrilled to have the honor of giving back to these most-deserving athletes.
We thank Challenged Athletes Foundation for donating this wheelchairs to our Kilele foundation Athletes in Kenya through Beth Sanden and other group of Cafrica. This phots was last Standard Marathon in Kenya 2012.