Monday, October 31, 2011
Ducks in a Row
Piece by piece, I'm ticking off my list before I spend 24+ hours in airports and planes en route to Kigali, Rwanda. I'm taking the vaccine for Typhoid all this week, and I get my 2nd Hep A/B shot on Friday. My passport is renewed and valid.
A big box of Team Type 1 shirts and socks showed up on my doorstep last week. I love schwag!
I've had a few folks ask, "Why would you go to Africa?", with their faces all scrunched up, as if they'd just bitten into a rotten apple. I get it, Africa is not the place your typical vacation seeker thinks of, as a top 5 destination. Rwanda is a developing nation, and as such, seems to be finding its way through much political and social unrest. But sometimes, you just need to see something a little different. We get so caught up in our little bubbles, that we have no idea what's going in in the rest of the world, unless it's spoon fed to us via Fox News, NPR, or the Tallahassee Mullet Wrapper. Do I think that everyone should travel to a 3rd world nation, so that they can appreciate what they have? No, but when opportunity knocks, it may be time to answer the door.
I get to see another country, and I get to see it through a bike race, all while utilizing my skills as a mechanic. I'll be turning wrenches and assisting a team, run by my adopted little brother, as they race 7 days/8 stages, through Rwanda. I love bicycles. They have taken me to so many destinations, and introduced me to so many people, that I can no longer even imagine where I would be now, were it not for my love of two wheels. And now my associations via bikes are adding another continent to my list.
Read this, and get a better understanding of what I get to see. Granted, I'm not working for the Rwanda National Team, but I get to be part of the international community that adds integrity to this growing stage race. The Rwandan people are very proud of their athletes, and their race, and I get to see all of that firsthand. Despite the hurdles of corruption, distribution, and bureaucracy, Phil and Team Type 1 are trying to get needed diabetes supplies to the people of Rwanda, and other developing nations around the world. They are trying to show people that a diabetes diagnosis is not the end, but only the beginning, to a new way of managing one's own health. I get to be a tooth in the cog of the Team Type 1 machine, at least for a short while.
That's why I'm going to Africa.