Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Running "Out of Africa"

As a sociologist, and social worker, I have worked in some interesting places. Two years ago, I lived and worked in Peru, cataloguing life for children living in Shantytowns. Shantytowns are urban slums, created by homeless people, and made from almost anything that can be scavenged from the environment.

Living and working in Peru gave me the opportunity to run in the Andes Mountains. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I will never forget the sunrises from Cusco, Peru, and the sight of Macchu Pichu in the morning sunlight. Running in Peru was an unforgettable experience.

This summer, I am going to Ghana, in Sub-Saharan West Africa. For one month, I will be working at the Mercy Orphanage, in Accra. This orphanage exists because the AIDS epidemic has claimed the children's parents. I will be there studying their cognitive and social development. I will also get to visit Bonsaasa, a Millenium Village inside Ghana. The United Nations has developed a program to assist this rural, poverty-stricken village with the goal of eradicating poverty there. I will be observing the children of the village, and the schools, which have been granted their first school lunch programs. It should be interesting.

However, one of the projects I will be working on, is starting a running program for the children of the orphanage. This is a project that I hope will live on well after I leave Africa, and I am hoping that teaching these children to run, will influence their lives and give them some direction, as well as helping them to gain valuable self-esteem and help them develop goals in life.

It will be an amazing experience, and one that will allow me to run through Africa, another of my own passions. I will also blog those experiences through this website, so that others can see how the program goes.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Jerry,
I had no idea, sounds like you live an exciting life. I have seen you running but never knew you touched so many lives with your work. This is a great addition to the blogs.

Rich

Jerry Hollingsworth said...

Actually, the past five years of my life have been very fulfilling, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. Thanks for the comments.

KcandyP said...

Jerry,

It's so neat all the things you've done. And running in places like that, wow, and to know that you are giving to others too. Your running program in Africa will be such a blessing to so many and to you! I wish I could go with you!

Susan

Jerry Hollingsworth said...

I would welcome the company, for sure. I hope it works out well. Bill has had some ideas for the program, and I'm open to suggestions as to any ideas you guys have, as well.