Playfulness and Poverty

Before we enter the “risk of lions” area, we come across several villages on a Saturday. We are an unusual event and an opportunity for a new experience, food, medicine and fun.

In case you can’t download the video it is very brief and shows two lovely moments that day. One when 3 adults came over to find out what we were doing when cooking lunch and then showed their support for Emma by chanting “Go, Emma, Go!” The other was when two young people, barefoot, rushed to join Emma jogging on the road. They were there for a while.

However, there are also many people begging in this area. This group of children were polite and good-natured whilst asking if we had anything we could give them. They were pleased with tins of tomatoes and delighted with the pack of cards. What inspired the young woman to place the cards just there in the photo? There are no mirrors to check out her styling or magazines in shops to stimulate her imagination? More importantly, what are her opportunities for her creativity?

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 I would have liked to have got to know these children better, understood the roots of their poverty and most importantly to have found real solutions. On the return journey, I looked for them but travelling ten times faster we missed them in the blur of African landscape.  Travelling more slowly gave greater rewards.

A lady comes over to ask for medicine for a friend, the nearest clinic is a day’s walk away. We have a friendly chat and I give her a few paracetemol and rehydration sachets. This isn’t the answer. I am no doctor. I hope it did no harm.

Resourcefulness
Resourcefulness

Other moments are not so positive. A blind adult approaches with his hand on the head of a 4 yr old. It’s an uncomfortable sight and I consider whether the child is being exploited, as a passerby it is impossible to know. In some communities, disabled people find it particularly difficult to make a living. Money isn’t the answer. Not in terms of a fulfilling life, only for survival. But who am I to judge in this moment?

In the afternoon,  a crowd has collected around a bar beside the road and a drunk teenager moves towards Emma with his arms out. He doesn’t touch her, he’s simply being playful, pretending to grab the back of the car as we pass, until he gets yelled at by an adult. Frequently, dogs start barking, heading towards Emma. As long as there are adults present they keep control but these are two of the reasons Mike keeps close to Emma at all times.

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Tim the Nomad in his blog explains a good response to poverty:

” … giving money does not change anything. Instead, people most often use it to buy temporary things, which too often is alcohol or drugs. Better than giving money, she said, is identifying goals. When a villager sets a goal, he or she can assess what is needed to achieve it. One goal at a time, the village discovers that they are not excluded from financial opportunity. Then, in knowing that financial opportunity is something accessible, they find something to strive for. This changes a destructive cycle of dropping out into a productive one of self-reliance. In this way, they can find independence. Instead of depending on federal or foreign aid, they can depend on themselves while maintaining the traditional foods, products, and practices that they identify with. With this financial independence comes sustainability and peace of mind.”

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If you want to help make sustainable improvements in people’s lives please consider donating to the SEED Project or our fundraising page, which was the reason for doing this run and writing this blog (I hope you are enjoying it).

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No of days: 28

Total distance run by Emma: 1193 km, 741 miles

Daily average distance run by Emma (including rest days): 42.6 km, 26.5 miles

Distance run today: 54.7 kms, 34 miles

ShAFF

A blog post by all 3 of us! We’re experimenting.

Aysha: So it turns out meeting a top director in the business of adventure media isn’t as hard as you would think. I sent Paul Diffley an email, he replied and after several months of not much contact I asked him if he was serious about working with us. He said maybe, offered us a camera to use and suggested we met at ShAFF. Which was why we went. I’d never heard of ShAFF (Sheffield Adventure Film Festival) before.

Over the hills to Sheffield

Mike: Its my first ride in the 4×4. Well done Aysha, for finding that beast. Big, spacious, comfortable. And, its great to have the team on a road trip. It was hard work getting into Sheffield because most of the roads into the center were closed for the (cancelled) half marathon.

Morning!
Morning!

Aysha: It’s the first time I’ve really spent time with Mike. I’m normally shy round people but we’re going to spend 5 months together which makes being shy a waste of time. We arrived in Sheffield almost an hour early and were stumped to discover all roads to our destination were blocked off. With Mike’s great navigation, we found a car park, after 45 minutes! Emma bounced out the car to help me park and then remembered she needed to pee and went into a weird cross-legged position, which still makes me giggle when I think about it, I wish I had a photo for you to see.

Emma: Yes, I did take on a Tina Turner like posture for some time due to pee-need.  We all have these problems! I loved seeing our team come together for the first time and I think we all really compliment each other.  Our truck ‘Cleo’ is the coolest thing ever, I love her dearly.

Paul Diffley’s talk on making films

Mike: I learnt lots of really good stuff from his lecture, like the rule of thirds and the 5 shot rule – take 5 different shots: establishing wide/mid shot; close up of hands; close up of face; point of view/over the shoulder shot; and a creative shot. How to set up interviews and where to stand when interviewing people.

Photo accidentally taken with a flash in a room full of media experts. Doh!
Photo accidentally taken with a flash in a room full of media experts. Doh!

Aysha: The biggest message, for me, was the importance of sound.

Emma: I felt completely out of my depth with all the technical talk.  I’m very glad I have the excuse of running for not doing too much filming!

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Aysha: I walked up to Paul, to introduce us all, expecting him to brush us off. Instead, he gave a friendly smile and said, “I’ve got a camera for you”. Which was a huge relief and delightful. Not everyone takes you seriously when you say you’re organizing a trip across Africa and you want to film it.

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Can you tell me again – how do I turn the camera on?

Mike: It was amazing to meet the Hot Ache’s guy and ace that he has lent us a camera for the training run on the Cotswold way. Just need to get some good footage now. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with filming.

Emma: Very scared of having a camera pointed in my face!

The running films

Mike: It was really cool to see the running movies, especially the one about the South African guy running in Namibia (The Penguin Runner). Seeing some of the terrain we will be going through and getting to speak to the guy who filmed it.

Aysha: The running films made me realise that we need to stick to one story: either its all about Emma, or our adventures as a team, or the people we meet along the way. But I don’t think it can be all three in one film.

Emma: I loved all of the films but ‘The Runners’ has inspired me to try and get people to chat to me (and a camera) when I go out for runs.

Favourite Films: The Runners a surprisingly intimate meeting with individuals who run; The Penguin Runner one very entertaining man running across Namibia unassisted; In the High Country a beautiful cinematic film.

Accelerate UK

Colin Papworth, Accelerate UK checking Emma's feet
Colin Papworth, Accelerate UK checking Emma’s feet

Aysha: There weren’t a lot of stalls to browse but this one was flippin’ brilliant. Emma’s been needing new shoes since January but not buying any, as she couldn’t afford them. We agreed to go halves on a pair, which then caused her agonizing pain in her foot after 5 miles. This hugely alarmed me (I still can’t run, I really don’t want to take her place). And we can’t afford to buy shoe after shoe until we find a pair that don’t hurt her feet. I’ve been arguing with her to go to a specialist shoe shop so I was dead pleased that Colin, in the photo, is a podiatrist. He talked through the problem with Emma, explaining lots of stuff and advising her what type of shoe to buy. We bought the pretty shoes in the facebook photo for the absolute bargain of £40!

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Mike: It was really good to hear Aysha talk about the run and I’m learning lots from her.

Aysha: We work well together as a team. The fourth team member should probably be as chilled as Mike.

Emma: We are so lucky to have such great support from so many awesome people. Feet that have been in tights and boots don’t smell nice, sorry Colin.