Monday, June 21, 2010
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
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
* 2020 Old Brick Rd.
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Thank you in advance for your support,
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
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,
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,
Monday, June 7, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
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.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
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.
You rule your destiny!