Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Shine Through the Tarnish.

We all eventually make our way to our rooms, laughing and talking along the way. I can tell already that I'm not going to sleep. I'm quite restless, not sure if its the long flight or the overwhelming feeling of joy that I've finally made it to Africa. Michael is a real pro. He can see the excitement in my eyes, or more accurately, the delirium in my gaze. I go to my room, and find myself just kind of standing around. I soon hear a knock at the door, and its Michael. He invites me for a Guinness and Whitecap nightcap. We listen to a two man band, that plays the sound of a strong four piece. There is a real beauty in the simplicity of the music. Our conversation was just what I needed, some things sink in, and come together in way that puts me at ease.
We rise in the morning, and head to a Kenya Continental breakfast of a Spanish omelete, an unidentifiable fruit juice, chai, and papaya which I remember is one of the only fruits that I dislike.

Our transportation Arid Adventures arrive to pick us up, and we ride Mombasa Highway, the "AIDS highway" towards Makindu to Hunters Lodge. AIDS has been in Africa since the late 1800's, I've learned that its a completely different disease here.
We arrive to Hunters Lodge, and I can see why Michael, and Dave love it here so much, however they both openly share their disappointment at the present state of the place. Michael and Dave remember a different time. There is the broken toilets, patio doors that won't open, and a room without a mosquito net to name a few things that have been neglected on the Super's list of things to do. The charm of the place still shines through the tarnish. The flowers are beautiful orange and pinks, the grass is a vibrant green, the trees are big and show off thick leaves. This place is a real oasis. There are no other watering holes for miles in any direction, so the wildlife is plentiful. There is the cackle of mischievous monkeys, and huge prehistoric looking birds perched in tall trees. I hear stories about how back in the day elephants would meet here to drink from the waters. The only sign of that is the four elephant feet in the lobby, that have been converted into sitting stools. These stools did not come from Ikea.

The monkeys look like they are up to no good, Tilapia swim in the pond that we sit by discussing our plan. Michael plays with the G.P.S, Dave, Brian, David, and I wander about taking photos, checking out the place. Michael gives me a few Swahili phrases to learn, and I later devise a plan as of how I'm gonna catch one of those Tilapia for dinner.........


Stay tuned, the adventure hasn't even begun!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Journal Entry #2 pt.1


Feet down in Nairobi!
It wasn't too difficult getting through customs. It seems that there has been some technological advances in the past few years. They took my photo, my fingerprint and asked me where I was going. The gentleman also asked if I were driving and I told him no. He said good luck, and I went about my way. Good luck? What the hell do you mean by that, I thought to myself.
I exchanged most of my U.S dollars before leaving Jomo Kenyatta airport which was in the form of American Express travelers cheques, thanks to my lovely wife(be sure to stay tuned for the follow up on Amex Travelers Checks). Bro Bry, and David C, had gotten things sorted out and were out looking for our transportation. It is obvious that David has done this before and does a great job of taking a leadership role in all of this. Taxi drivers are all working outside of their cabs to get us in a car. "Rasta, Rasta, where are you from?" It didn't take long before I realized that it wasn't conversation that they wanted. I explain to them that we already had a driver and they move on, a few linger out of curiosity. We find our driver, which was a lovely Kenyan woman named Purity. We pack up the SUV, and head out from the bustle of the airport.
video

I have never seen so many people on foot. Where are they all going? People walking in groups, it looked like the Million Man March, a huge concert, something serious. Children walking alone. The driving is intense, its like the forced inhale/exhale of a strangulated breath, and the quality of air at this point is similar. I will take a hot summer drive in New York, without A.C any day.
The Matatus, minibus public transportation is serious business. They are everywhere. Loud hip-hop music blaring, packed with people going about their daily business. We finally make it to our hotel, The Kenyan Continental. This is a place where Michael has stayed for years, and I can see why. It has a certain African charm to it, and no tourist. Michael and Dave Brooks greet us in Swahili as we pull up. All you can see is teeth! Everyone is smiling! We are shown our rooms and meet in the beer garden for a proper debrief. I am still processing that I am in Africa!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Journal Entry # 1 August 13-14



It has truly been an adventure before the adventure. I now realize just how much planning it takes to pull off a trip of this magnitude, its not just a trip. I am really thankful that so many people have come together to make it all happen. We have so many cheerleaders. I wish I had been able to spend more time with a few family members, and I hope that my father is feeling better soon. I spent most of the night pacing and putting the final touches on my packing job. Nitika and I overslept, but we make it to the airport in good time. After checking in, we have time to people watch, take photos of each other, and laugh at random passings. I had not anticipated the difficulty in telling her goodbye.
I make it through security, slowed only by a second look from agents into my bag at a box of cigars. Not just any box, but a gift for the proper walkers of Macanudo Golds donated by Rick Chandler, a supporter of the Makindu Children's Center. I find my way to my gate walking briskly, scanning, looking for the familiar face of David Corrigan. I stared through David looking for him, and he calls my name which almost had the same effect of someone yanking me by the collar. We hugged and laughed at the fact that he had started to wonder if I was going to be a no show. I meet his brother Brian who would have been easy to pick out of a crowd as a Corrigan. I sit across from him thinking briefly how this complete stranger would look totally different to me in the coming days. He would probably look much more like a family member, than some guy I didn't know. We have small talk, discuss our gear, and wait to board.
I enjoy observing the passengers. The colors that the women wear are beautiful, and most of them smell strong of fine parfumes. Ramadan has started a few days earlier, and I notice the Arab families traveling together. Some passengers look like adventurers, just like us. We board the plane, Ethiopian Airlines and I find that I am seated next to the window just as requested, and to my surprise no one showed up to take the seat next to me. Things are looking up.
I was served the vegetarian meal, which I had heard was really good on Ethiopian Airlines. It had lived up to its hype. Zucchini, and eggplant in a tomato sauce with basmati rice. Its a pleasure to fly E.A, I recall reading about Haile Selassie's efforts to modernize Ethiopia, and the development of an international airline was an integral part of his plan. The treatment was nothing shy of royal.

Sitting in Rome right now waiting to finish fueling. Its 7:38pm at home and 2:38 am in Addis. We are 2787 miles from Addis, and we are traveling at an average of 600 mph, 33,000 ft when we are in the air, this fact is impressive to me right now.
See you in Africa.

Flying over Egypt watching the sun come up, beautiful layers of pink bleeding into a blue sky, the base is midnight black. Stars are scattered. (A picture of the described is posted with the blog before this one)



Ethiopia!!!!
The first sight from the plane after making it through dense, rain soaked clouds was a very vibrant green. The land looks so plush. The water ways, rivers, and streams are a deep red mud color, the contrast is impressive. The mud is this same color in my home in Keswick. We land, and we step off the plane. I have finally made it to Africa! The air was heavy and a bit humid. Even though the air is filled with jet fuel, mixed with an almost suffocating diesel, I can still smell an unfamiliar, but almost intoxicating smell of the land, the plush green, and bright earth, the mountains in the back drop, Africa.

Our arrival to Addis was a little late, so we de-planed and sat in a waiting area where we could see the bathrooms, but not access them. I talked and laughed with David and Brian, until we were directed to board the plane. I think I like these guys.

On the plane, 77 miles from Nairobi. I think we just crossed the equator. Its gotta be hot down there, however at 33,000 ft the thermometer reads -54 degrees. Not sure that i should have eaten that last meal of lentils, green beans, and cheese? I guess we'll see. video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Warming You Up.


Greetings all,
today I took a peek into my journal to find that I had taken note of some really interesting details. Things that seem almost insignificant, but that remind me of the moment. Moments are so precious and sometimes you don't realize it until its gone. The beautiful thing is that blink once, blink twice, and there goes another moment. It was a part of my plan before leaving that I would cherish every moment given to me, good or bad and be o.k with letting it go in order to experience the next. Another thing I realized is that I will have a lot of editing to do. This is my personal journal so things may get a little, ya know........personal. I'm generally pretty honest, but not everyone is ready for my truth, I'm not even sure if I am. So this is a warm up. This me working out my method of getting you the details of this amazing adventure without giving you "too much information" T.M.I. I invite you all to leave comments. It helps to know that someone is reading along, and let me know if I'm getting too personal. Let me know what is T.M.I. I've never been big on censorship, but my mother is reading.
So, again I ask that you be patient with me. I am changing my plan a bit. I will do a little reading a return later today to give you the clean version. Thank you for your time.
Joshua

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Looking Back, Putting the Pieces Together.....


Greetings to all!
First off I would like to again thank all that have come together to make our adventure for a cause possible! The relationships that have developed out of this quest are ones that will last a lifetime. The children at MCC are amazing! They are thriving! They are smiling, because they are loved and they are growing! I am happy to announce that we have all returned from Kenya safely with plenty of stories to tell. Some of the stories will be easier to believe than others, depending on who is doing the telling! We have tons of pictures captured by different eyes on the trip and I will be sharing a variety of them here, and others can be found on our flicker site, which I will direct you to in the next couple of days. Thank you for your patience, the attempt to gather my thoughts after such a fulfilling journey has been more difficult than I'd prepared for. I have found it challenging to sit in front of a computer for very long, and my mind is still processing, a process that I think will be an on going one. So please stay tuned, I am starting to get my feet under me again, and it will be here that I share my experience. Every other day I will post portions of my journal, and photos that go along with the story. The adventure continues, and your support for the Makindu Children's Program is still needed so continue to introduce others to our mission. Direct them to makindu.org, and properwalk.com, and encourage them to get informed.
Thank you, and see you here again real soon,
Joshua

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Proper Walk

Its hard to put all of this into words. We have been here maybe 3 days and in someways it feels like we never left. Kenya is a beautiful country with beautiful people. I have seen poverty on a level that I've never seen before, but kenyan pride and spirit is so strong. We are crossing the equator as I type on my BlackBerry. All of the walkers are in good spirits. We have eaten well thus far, and have seen a lot. Hunters Lodge is some thing out of old travelers diary. I see why Michael loves it so much. We climbed Mt. Mielu to loosen our legs, and ate, chanted and got good rest at the Sikh temple. Bro. Bry makes a mean Chai. The visit to the Makindu Childrens Center was all that I hoped it to be. David and I stocked up on soccer balls and Bryan picked up bubbles.Sent from my BlackBerry

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kernels of Corn.


"Be safe", "I love you", "I miss you already".....Things that people say when you're on your way to an adventure for a cause.
For those of you that have read along for the past few months, you've been witness to my journey in preparing for the proper walk, and raising awareness for the Makindu Children's Program. From this point on you will be able to see how it all comes together. You will hear stories of the others that make all of this happen. You will get the adventure first hand. Tomorrow I will kiss my wife goodbye and head east. I will fly from Virginia to Rome to Addis to Nairobi, and I'm ready. I am only ready because of all of the people that have come together to get me to this point. The support has left me in awe. I travel with your dreams, your hopes, your wishes, and prayers. I have your stones that you have blessed, kernels of corn for nourishment, and gifts for people you don't know yet.
Be sure to stay tuned, this is the beginning. Please continue to visit Makindu.org, and properwalk.com, and encourage others to support the Makindu Children's Program.
Love you all.
See you in Nairobi, till such time walk good,
Joshua

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Still too Hot!


One hundred three degrees in the capital city! I'm hydrated and almost ready to go. This blog will be short because for every minute passing it just gets hotter.
The count down continues. Right now it is all about the checklist. The other night I awoke from what seemed so real but turned out to be a nightmare. I had a layover in Arizona on my way to Kenya. When I got to the airport I realized that I had left my walking shoes, my tent, and walking sticks in Richmond. You know that feeling you get when you wake up and realize you were suppose to be at work five minutes ago? I woke up in a panic, seriously. Once my heartbeat returned to normal, I studied my checklist, and devised a plan on how I would complete it. We are only 21 days away from departure, and everyones question is "are you ready?"
Good question. I feel that I am physically ready. Mental preparation is an ongoing process, but I feel strong. I got my shots taken care of, which I will tell you about later. However I do have clothing items to purchase, along with spare batterys, and toiletries.......Oh, and I still have a goal of raising $10,000 dollars for the Makindu Children's Program.
I would like to say that with the support of many gracious people, I am on my way. I see that it will be a slow and steady, but it will be sure. Thank you so much to those that have donated your time and energy that has manifested itself into funds for the children, I will return with many hugs and kisses from them for you. Continue to support, tell others about the children, and the importance of a program like this. Post the weblink on your facebook, twitter, myspace, pages, shout it from the mountatin tops......."MAKINDU.ORG!"......"PROPERWALK.COM!" Tell the world! One good deed, creates another!
Thank you for your time, I will see you 10 miles, and 3 liters of water later!
Joshua

Saturday, July 17, 2010


First of all on behalf of the Makindu Children's Program and 2010 walkers, I would like to thank REI @ Short Pump for hosting an evening of sharing. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with some amazing people. There was an audience of about 20 people who listened attentively, and gave positive feedback afterward. Michael does an amazing job of keeping the crowds attention while reviewing some not so easy to digest statistics. Overall the night was a great success, and we really couldn't have done it without your time, and generosity. I hope to see all of you at the National Theater on July 31st moving and shaking to your favorite reggae band, Antero. If you missed it before this is your official invite.

Dave your photos are truly amazing, and are inspiring to all that see them.

Please click the link below to read an awesome article written by Nancy Beasley, featured in Richmond Magazine about Michael Farley, and the Proper Walks.

http://elkhill.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/our-director-featured-in-richmond-magazine-2/#comments

Friday, July 16, 2010

African Kings.


The count down is on! 30 days from today I will be boarding a plane headed for East Africa. This trip is special to me in a lot of ways. In the next couple of months, I will see dreams that I once had become reality. East Africa holds a special place in my heart for reasons that are obvious to those that know me. Stories of African kings can have a huge impact on a young African American male that struggles to find an identity outside of what is given to him by television, and pop American culture. I feel that there is an unspoken duality of personalities for a young black male in America. Even though the education system in my hometown was considered to be better than good, there were certain things that were never taught to me. The American part of my history was taught in full, but the African part was covered in February. It was my older brother that encouraged me to strive towards having a greater knowledge of self. I felt more complete once I could find myself in history. I could not ignore my grandmother's high cheek bones, straight white hair, and deep red skin. I couldn't deny my grandfather's midnight complexion, strong hands and back. It was a marvelous journey to learn about my makeup. This trip to East Africa is a continuation of that journey, and hopefully will help some things come full circle. You can't really know where you're going if you don't know where you come from.
I refuse to be a tourist, returning with t-shirts and refrigerator magnets. So many have taken, and now its time to give. I hope to make life long relationships with people I have yet to meet.
I look forward to and welcome life changing, shaping experiences.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Courageous and Necessary.


I like to think of myself as a brave warrior. I'm not trying to sound like a tough guy, but there are few things that truly manifest itself as fear inside me. I'm not afraid of snakes, I am just cautious in their presence. I don't have a fear of heights or large crowds, and you can ask Michael, I am no longer afraid of water. Some fears are driven by ignorance, some by experience, and others are just innate. When I discover a fear in myself, I usually try to bull my way through in an attempt to conquer it. I'm not saying that fear is bad, or a sign of weakness, I would just like think that knowledge, caution, and humility can destroy those that keep us bound and unable to have true life experience.
Tomorrow I have an appointment, an appointment that I've put off for several months, and tried to reschedule twice. I don't want to go. I can't stay focused just at the thought of it. Tomorrow I will go. I will be there at the scheduled time and I will do it. I have to. At 3pm I will be sitting in front of some sort of health care professional with an arsenal of needles. I'm not positive how many because the women wouldn't tell me over the phone. I've spoken with Michael, and Dave about it in hopes to get something, I'm not sure what. For situations like this Michael's advice is simple, suck it up, and get it done. Dave on the other hand called me yesterday to let me know that its gonna hurt like hell.
I think I'm well informed about the importance of getting these inoculations, I'm cautious and humble, but in this case it doesn't matter. I'm not afraid of the pain, I'm not fearful of whats in the needle. Its the damn needle! Regardless I've gotta suck it up and get it done. So if you have a moment, just say a few peaceful words tomorrow around 3 o'clock. Think relaxing thoughts for me. I'm doing this one for the youth at the Makindu Children's Center.

If you would like to do something courageous and necessary for the Children at the Makindu Childrens Center, then go to makindu.org or properwalk.com and donate. Also encourage others to do the same. You can also meet Michael, Dave and myself at REI in Short Pump in Richmond July 15th for a slideshow presentation about Africa and The Makindu Children's Program.

Thanks again,
Joshua

P.S. Clowns are strange and make me uncomfortable, I am not afraid of them.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Music is the Message!



The message is in the music! I have the pleasure of being a member of Virginia's favorite, and Richmond's most popular reggae band. I have been with Antero for 3 years and have found that music is a serious vehicle. Since the begining of time music has been used to heal, build, and even destroy. The power of sound is immeasurable, and can be compared to the qualities of water and its ability to move through anything, consuming it completly.
My love is persussion, West African drumming is what I have been trained in, and I flirt with Latin Percussion. Recently, with the support of a few friends, I have started to find my voice. The language that I speak with my drum is coded for most listeners, but in using my vocal voice the language becomes a little bit easier for the untrained ear to hear, and understand. In finding this new avenue to express myself, I see it as a serious tool to bring attention to what ever it is that I find important. I can play the role of a news reporter, I can be a griot of sorts. I have recently enjoyed using this platform to inform the audience about the Makindu Children's Program. People are listening, and talking to me about it afterwards.
I feel a real brotherhood with the members of Antero. We all get along famously on and off the stage. We create an amazing chemistry. We recently played in Alexandria, Virgina for the Del Ray Music Festival. The crowd was very responsive to the band, and they are all better informed about the M.C.P.
You're probably wondering "oh brother joshua, where can I see Richmond's most popular reggae band next?" Well, July 31st we will be headlining at The National Theatre in Richmond, Va. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com for $10, but if you buy from a band member ask for the "Makindu Special". The "Makindu Special" will cost you $10 + a $5 donation to M.C.P, two birds with one stone!

Thanks again for your time, stay tuned. I've got a few walk stories to tell you, and we've got some other events coming up this month, as well as August. Make your way to the R.E.I at Short Pump webpage to register for Michael Farley's slideshow presentation on Africa, and The Makindu Childrens Program, scheduled for July 15.

And last but not least, click or cut & paste the link below for Antero's article in Style Magazine, by Malcolm Venable, it's major! After you hit the link go to the music icon above.

Peace and love,
Joshua

:http://www.styleweekly.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid&nm&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=2734A3960F6A48EDA2D33F883C8A88D4&AudID=C3A7C1EDE4E54E24AF4637F9AAFFD1B6

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Think I'm on the Right Path.


So, I'm in search of a proper head cover for a proper walk. Something to shade my head and face from the equitorial sun rays. For most walkers this will be a "one stop shop" sort of thing, for me it is a serious process. If I could illustrate in words the designs that my friends and family members have come up with.....
Friday I took a trip to REI in Short Pump to try on a couple different designs. Most are too small, some just plain funny lookin, and I don't care how hot it is on this walk, I'm gonna be cool. I think I may have found the one, I'm just gonna continue to search before I invest the money. If you find an effective efficient hat for me to wear, please send a link. Thank you to my good friend Ray O' Light.
These last few days I've been able to get in some walking, and I've picked up a few odd jobs that will help with my personal expenses of my trip. I have two seperate dog sitting jobs, and a house sitting job. The good thing is that dogs need walking, the bad thing is, I just found out that I am highly allergic....real long story, that I won't dive into right now.
Anywho, for what ever reason during may daily travels, I find that people often stare at me. I used to think I was paranoid, but no, people really do stare. I head down to my new favorite place to walk, along the James. On this day I guess I added to the spectacle by using my walking sticks. The young would stare, and laugh, the old would laugh and comment, and I have no idea what I must've looked like to them.
No matter what I looked like, once I got over the looks and comments I got into my walk. I am a firm believer that there are often signs, hints, or confirmations through out life that kinda lets you know that you are on the right path. As I cross the suspension bridge at the James River which is amazing, I run into a youngman from the E.H.F group home in Richmond. Our conversation was short but sweet. He gave encouraging words, which I swear I've given him before, all the sweeter, and a small sign that I'm on the right path.
I spend about an hour and thirty minutes out there. The sun is setting and I realize that there are few things this beautiful. I'm in my zone when I realize that I'm the only one walking in the direction that I'm headed in. Its getting dark. I cross paths with one group of guys and girls, I recognize two of them, but they are too busy making jokes about my sticks. I speak anyway and keep walking. After about 100 more yards I decide to turn around. On my return, I look down and see a freshly dropped fold of 1 dollar bills, another sign that I may be on the right path. I attempt to catch up to the group that had just ridiculed me to see if it belonged to any of them. I wasn't able to catch up to them, so I took it as a donation for the Makindu Children's Program. I mumbled a few words of praise and thank you to the unviverse for its mercy, and continued back to my car to drive home. Thirsty, a little tight in my calves, but otherwise I feel great. I think about walking home for a second before interupting that thought with hysterical laughter, Africa soon come!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Proper Walks for the Children of Makindu @ the Richmond R.E.I in Short Pump.


The date has been set! This is an opportunity that you've been waiting for. Be sure to join Michael Farley and Photographer, D. Pennell Brooks, , and Joshua Dowell as they tell the story of the Proper Walks (www.properwalk.com) for the Children of Makindu - www.makindu.org. This event will be held July 15 at the Richmond R.E.I in Short Pump and is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (EDT). Please make your way to the Richmond R.E.I web page (www.rei.com/stores/127) to get more info and register. This is your chance to be a part real adventure for a cause. Meet a few of the walkers, get informed and donate! See you there!

Richmond-Short Pump, VA REI
Address:
* 2020 Old Brick Rd.
Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 360-1381

Thank you in advance for your support,
brother joshua

5 Dollars a Toe!


Music is one thing that will continue to bring people together. Regardless of a possible language barrier, culture, color, or creed, you will find that the vibrations of sound can break down walls of division. One of my favorite things about playing music is seeing this process at work. Some of the people that I've met, I wouldn't have met them any other way, and a very few people, upon our first meeting it seems like a family reunion with cousins that I've heard about, but didn't know. G and Leata are that of the latter. I'll skip all of the mushy talk and get to the point. The two of them together form an amazing support team. They are both passionate about life and you can't help but share that feeling with them while in their presence........So what, I got mushy anyways. After telling Leata about the Makindu Children's Program, and my trod to the African continent, she asked how she could help. Before I could answer her, she started by challenging all of my Facebook friends, to donate no less than 5 dollars for each toe on my foot. Its kinda like insurance, a proper blessing. So I ask that all who read this take up the toe challenge, Michael has taken up the challenge at $10 a toe, and I ask that you take it a step further, can I get $15 dollars a toe!?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good People doing Good things......


So, I've found that the more involved I get with Michael Farley, and the Makindu Crew, the more I realize that all hope is not lost in the world. There still are genuine good people, doing good things. I was recently a guest in the house of Dave Brooks. Let me say, I love me some Dave Brooks. Amazing photographer, with a wicked music collection, and true African hospitality. Dave is a fellow walker who has known Michael for a life time, at least my life time. Strangely enough he has lived in my neighborhood for a good while, and I hadn't a clue until recently. Dave, thanks for the talk, and Tusker's, I owe you one.
Soon after, I met some more good people. This past Thursday, I supported Michael with a drum to present to a small group at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in Richmond VA. As I said, the group was small, but excited about how they could help this amazing cause. The staff at Blue Ridge Mountain sports are just as excited about the walk as we are, and quite knowledgeable about what it takes to be prepared for a walk of this magnitude. We are in the process of planning a similar presentation at the Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in Charlottesville real soon. I will keep you posted.
Until such time,
walk good,
Joshua

For your Information.


Peace,
I am unsure if you all fully understand what Walking for The Makindu Children's Program is all about. I can't assume that all who read this blog know how this whole thing works, so I will try my best to explain. For the past few years I have been working with many others in the United States and Kenya, East Africa to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Sahara Africa. Through several efforts I have been apart of events to not only help raise awareness, but also funds for the organization. The Makindu Children's Program supports over 400 children orphaned by AIDS, and provides them with proper food, clothing, shelter, education, and lots of love. They receive periodic medical checkups, have their fees paid at local public schools, and receive job training. The children are also placed with foster families that continue to provide this level of care for them. Great success has been seen because of the hard work of supporters world wide. This year I decided that I wanted to play a more active role in supporting the Children of the Makindu Program. With a little encouragement from Mr. Michael Farley, I not only agreed to raise $10,000 dollars, but I will also go to Kenya to meet the children, and walk through the desert and bush, completing 160-180 miles in 10 days to continue to bring attention to this serious matter. I have worked and saved my own money to pay for all trip expenses, and will continue to work to reach my goal of raising at least $10,000. I will embark on this adventure for a cause, in August with pack leader Michael Farley, and 8 other Americans. Our total financial goal is to raise $100,000 this year. U.S dollars go a long way for the children at the M.C.P.

* $35 provides food, elementary schooling and medical care for one child for one month.
* $50 provides school uniforms and shoes for 10 children.
* $100 provides millk for 100 children for 1 month.
* $200 provides bulk food (maize, beans, oil, etc.) for 59 families for four months.
* $350 provides a high school education (tuition, boarding, books and supplies) for one student for one year.

I asked that you do all that you can to support such a worthy cause. Coming soon you are invited to attend an edu-taining presentation by Michael Farley at REI in Short Pump in Richmond VA. This is a great opportunity for you to get more information and donate. I will continue to post events that will lead up to the walk on this blog as well as my Facebook page. For more info immediately I ask that you visit Makindu.org, and properwalk.com. You can donate electronically there. Be sure to let them know that Joshua sent you.
Thanks again for your time,
brother joshua

Monday, June 7, 2010

Post #6.

Not all blogs are short and sweet, but this one right here is.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

To Do List.


Greetings,
much has happened since my last post. Thanks to a series of rainstorms things have cooled down a bit, and I'm able to get in a few steps. Its hard to believe that in about 2 months, I will be on my way. I often feel like I'm in a whirlwind when I think about my to do list, which seems to grow like the Virginia Creeper crawling along the side of my house.
This past Friday I was able to check off a couple of things. For those that don't know, by day I'm a counselor at a private school in Goochland VA, U.S.A. I work directly with about 30 students, boys and girls, and another 15 indirectly. I love doing what I do.
Friday, Michael and I had the chance to educate these boys and girls about Africa, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the continent. I opened the presentation with a drum call, and played a game of call and response with one student that mocked the drum with his mouth, and I repeated his vocal sounds with the drum. It was a rewarding exchange enjoyed by all. We've official gotten their attention, I could check that off the list. Michael followed up with a very entertaining, and educational slide show presentation. The slides included photos from walks of the past and stunning statistics, that seem to shock me no matter how many times I read them. Most of the children were on the edge of their seats, while others seemed to want to be elsewhere. When having to face facts such as these I can admit, sometimes I would rather be elsewhere. I spoke to the youth about purpose, and the ability of turning dreams into reality. We wrapped things up with a Q&A session, and shared conversations with small groups afterwards. Young people are so inquisitive.
Later in the evening we did it all over again. At this point the temperature had reached 93 degrees, humidity at a high, and no breeze in sight. This event was a bit more formal. I laugh when I think back. Just as I asked Michael about the dress code for the party, fellow walker Mr. Dave Brooks, phoned Michael to ask if he could wear shorts. Glad to know we are all on the same page.
This event was by invitation, and took place at the beautiful home of the Barnes'. On the behalf of the Makindu Children's Program, and proper walkers, I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Barnes for their unyielding hospitality, and use of their space to continue to raise peoples awareness of M.C.P. The refreshments were very nice, and the conversation was stimulating. Its great to be surrounded by people who share one common goal, to raise money to support the orphanage. Amongst this crowd of supporters I found that Mr. David Corrigan, who called this meeting, and will be walking in August, went to my high school many years ago.....Lol. Michael delivered his presentation as if it was his duty, and spectators were glued to every word. We mingled a bit, shared phone numbers, and donors were generous, another thing that I can check off my list!
The day had turned out to be a success. I'm sure that you're reading this thinking "ohh brother joshua, how can I host one of these parties in my lovely home?"(in my best Niecy Nash voice). And I say to you, just let me know when and where. More of these events are being planned as I type. Please stay tuned as I continue to check off my to do list. I will hopefully be able to announce a date for my benefit dinner, and blockbuster concert this week. Also in the coming days, you can follow my adventures including me completing a 10 mile walk, finding the perfect pair of synthetic silk underwear(for hiking), and getting my shots for the trip, that one will be a nail bitter.
I still encourage you to visit the websites so that you are better informed, and can make your contribution. Check out Makindu.org, and properwalk.com. I am responsible for raising $10,000 and can't do it without your support.
Thanks again for your time, and I will see you back here soon.
Walk good,
Joshua

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Too Hot!


Greetings boys and girls,
get this, I haven't walked in two days because its been too hot!......Helllooooo! I'm going to Africa!
Everyday I learn something new about myself and people in general. I dare to call myself spoiled, but I have recently realized that most people, myself included, work towards creating a perfectly controlled environment for themselves to fulfill their comfort needs. For example, the invention or use of the thermostat. The thermostat allows you to control the temperature in your house, your car, and or at your job, the three places where people spend most of their time. In most new cars, you can even have the option of dialing in different climate settings for each passenger.
I do understand that this is nothing profound, and you're probably asking what this has to do with the Makindu Children's Program in Kenya, East Africa, or walking through the desert and bush. I say all of that to say, I find myself looking for the perfect conditions to go walking. "Oh no, its raining." "Oh no its too hot." or "Oh no, its getting dark."
I am learning that this "training" that I am doing to prepare for the proper walk is far from all physical. There is no climate control in the Great Rift Valley. I will be hot, it may get cold, and quite possibly, I could see some rain. At this point I am getting in the mind state to expect the unexpected, and enjoy every lesson. Don't forget my goals, and purpose for doing all of this. Some days the walk will seem long, and when I'm done, the beer will be hot. This is not a vacation, and frank talk, I'm not looking for one. I don't wanna return to the motherland, and stay at a 4 star resort. I want to see and be a part of what has been a huge part of my identity since birth. To be "African American" (not sure if I really know what that is), and not know anything about Africa other than what I have read, just doesn't seem right. By looking at the P.C term above, it would make me a half of man. So without getting too lengthy, this is a right of passage for me, a pilgrimage. And the fact that I am working to pool my resources, stateside, to help make others stronger, I am fulfilling a responsibility on a lot of different levels. I will wrap up here. I was told by a famous internet writer that blogs are suppose to be short and sweet, so tomorrow maybe I will just pick up where I left off. Visit makindu.org so that you may get to know the program a little better, and check out properwalk.com so that you can get an idea of who we are and what we will be doing, you can also donate there. Be sure to let them know that Joshua sent.
Thank you.

You rule your destiny!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No thanks, I'll walk...........


"Hey, need a ride?" I heard that several times yesterday. During my walk I realized several things. First of all, a lot of people drive, and I think they figure that if you're walking that its out of neccesity. I do appreciate the offer, but no need to aggressively insist, assuming that its my pride refusing. I also realized that the same route that I've taken home from work for the past seven years by car, looks, and sounds completely different at 1 mph. The Chesapeake fed James River seems to follow me, yet I visualize dry river beds from the Great Rift Valley. The plush greenery that hugs the river turns to acacia thorns, and wild cucumber. The joggers, and cyclist around me transform into proud Pokot, and mighty Messai, when I close my eyes, and the rail road tracks.......... Enough dreaming, I walk through downtown Richmond listening to Damian Marley, Lil Wayne, Antero, and Fela Kuti on my I-pod. I am about 2 miles from home when it starts to rain. I think about my options. For those that know me, I am a lot like a cat when it comes to water. Call a cab, thumb a ride, or stop by my friend Malcolm's,(which conveniently is in eye sight) to ask him to drive me home. In that same moment I realize that I'm trippin. Who will I call to give me a ride when I am in the Kenyan bush? As I proudly step in the pounding rain with my chest out, Malcolm calls me and says, "What's up, man?" I just laugh and asked that he bring me a plastic bag for my electronics. He obliges, and I continue along my walk.
Working America step from buses at this hour, and now that the rain has eased up, the moon peeks through wispy clouds. I see my first lightening bug of the season, bats swoop, and I think I saw a fox. The reality is this, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most affected region, where 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2007, bringing to 22.5 million the total number of people living with HIV. More than two-thirds of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. I feel that it is the responsibility of all that are able to help change this to do so, in some way. I can walk, visualize, talk about this all day, but these are the facts at hand. I will continue to walk, and update you with my daydreams and progress towards our goal. There is a space below for comments, so please feel free to add your 2 cents, or make your way to properwalk.com to donate that 2 cents. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Joshua

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Taking steps to get to the Walk.

Preparation is a lot of fun. I have been busy spreading the word about the Makindu Children's Program, and trying to find a location for a dinner, and concert to raise awareness, and funds. This past weekend the band that I play with, Antero, had the opportunity to play in front of 8000+ people at the River Rock Festival in Richmond Va. The crowd was pleased, and I meet several people who are excited about supporting the orphanage. I had a chance to get out of the city to do some walking with Nitika, which was quite rewarding. We walked along the James River through trails that the original Americans traveled on. Their presence was evident through some clues that were visable and others were just felt.
This weekend a good friend and avid walker, Wiley "Crazyhorse" Jones, blessed me with a pair of walking sticks. He was excited about me using his sticks to travel 190+ miles through the desert and Kenyan bush. He showed me a few tricks and shared some of his stories of walking the Appalachian Trail. I also enjoyed a tutorial, Q&A, and fun time with pack leader Michael Farley. Michael speaks with such passion, and love when he talks about Africa. He paints a picture that makes it all so real, and not so distant. He showed me a good walking rhythm, pace, and posture.
Please stay tuned. Hopefully I will have dates, and an interview with a local magazine to post by early next week. We will have a cyber celebration, till such time, peace.
Joshua

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pure Excitement!

It is my pleasure to share with the world the preparation of an adventure that will not only change my life, but the lives of many. As you follow you will see the good, the not so good, the ugly, and the crazy, the many faces of a true life adventure. You will see feast and famine, you will have a mainline to a real adventure for a cause. Tune in and watch the layers of this onion unfold, actually, you can help me unfold these layers. Please participate. This is not just my story, but through this blog it will be your story as well. Thanks to all for your support.
Lets Go!