Thursday, January 31, 2008

Almost but not quite ...

The text read: His schedule is too tight today. So he can't meet with your group. He will try and schedule something before April.

"He" is ... get this ... THE president of Tanzania. And I am one of the "group" he couldn't squeeze in today.

Still ... pretty cool to almost be invited to meet him.

MIHV (the organization I'm working with) is hosting a first ever half marathon in Karatu. The area has produced an Olympic silver medalist but not had a running event of this magnitude. The organization wants to use the attention this thing is going to garner and promote malaria awareness. With 200 first class runners (they're working with the Tanzania Olympic Committee) and the crowds that will gather plus all the local teams, they should definitely pull in some publicity. This week in Dar es Salaam has been all about raising financial support for the race. While it would take lots more than the $43,000 they need, if we were doing it in the states, that figure is not easy to come by. We think that when we leave tomorrow that we have a good chance of at least half if not two thirds of it covered.

One bank rep we met with said, "You don't know how many marathons and events like that come through those doors asking for our support. But you are different. You don't want to raise money or sell anything. You just want to do some good. That is something I can care about."

I'm crossing my fingers he does more than care! He was a marketing guru so we sent him the logo I had worked on and asked for his input and ... if he was willing for him to send it on to an artist for some sprucing up. We'll see.

I really feel I did some good while here. I certainly learned alot. The financial capitol is definitely like many huge cities in the world. The population is a few hundred thousand more than Houston. And today I was in a mall that looked like any other major mall around the world. But one street over tonight the vendors with their small fires and roasted corn and meat on a stick will be sharing their efforts with the hundreds of folks who are walking along the dark streets sans lights except for the flames. This is Tanzania -- a land of potential, progress and yet deaths that could be prevented.

We didn't meet with the president but the race will happen. And maybe, just maybe, a few more women will learn what it means to save their child's life by using a mosquito net.

And that will make this week a very profitable one.

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