On February 27th at 6:30am I started running with 3 friends for 13.1 miles (21k). Now, on March 3rd I have had time to reflect and no longer walk like an 86 year old. While reflecting I realized how much it relates to AAD (which is why it gets a blog post).
At 4am we all literally popped awake and were unbelievable excited for the race to start, much like Meg meeting the women in Uganda and having a sudden jolt to create a non-profit to fit the need and caused me to literally jump for joy in my house when I got the job offer as Country Director.
Then at 6am after we parked and climbed onto a bus nerves set in. What if we can't do it? What if we are late? What if I hold everyone back? I think its safe to say that similar questions about moving to Uganda to help get AAD off the ground. What if I can't adjust to a new culture? What if we fail? What if we don't continue to get funding? What if I hold everyone back?
Then, fireworks and the race begins. For the first 3 miles you could feel the excitement. 1 of the 4 of us was literally jumping over traffic cones and spinning in excitement while still propelling herself forward. This was exactly like the first 3 months in Uganda. It was new. It was exciting. The whole team was stoked to learn, grow, and succeed.
5 miles in. We had fallen into the same step, kept the same time, and while we were still excited but, we were quieter. This happened at 7 months in Uganda. I had dealt with some frustrations when it came to finding Local Council members, our fabric wasn't quite right, our machines weren't working quite right, and we realized that everything wasn't going to be easy, fun, and exciting. We run an international NGO. That means we still have to deal with disciplinary issues, bureaucracy issues, teaching issues, and making product that we can stand behind and that our donors will love.
8 miles. A burst of energy came back. Up until that point I had not run anymore than 7 miles. I could suddenly see the progress. At 1 year with AAD we had our first intern, first 3 photoshoots, first grand opening, Sandra finished half of her Diploma program, we officially became an international NGO, and I celebrated my 1 year anniversary in Uganda.
11 miles. All of us hit a wall. Throbbing ankles, aching hips, stitches in side, we felt like we were falling apart. We were all determined, but we all could start to feel the strain. At the 1.5 year mark with AAD I was still struggling to get my work permit, had gotten punched in the stomach by a random drunk campaigner, struggled to find the same color fabric that we needed to complete gifts, lost trust in a boda driver, and was honestly just wishing for one day to be easy and with no minor or major problem to fix.
13 miles. Adrenaline pumping. Seeing the finish line, and suddenly realizing that we were all about to run 13.1 miles. That time started last month and continues while I am in the US. Finishing all the products, Sandra beginning her last semester, getting tips from people that want to see us go the whole distance with AAD, and being able to spend time with some of my favorite people has been the much needed adrenaline boost.
Since completing the half marathon there has been discussion of doing another one together, doing a full marathon, or being like the 64 year old women we met while running who is completing her 16th half marathon. Much like AAD we are discussingour long term goals and plans.
I'll let you know when a decision has been made.
Running into the Future,