Take a closer look at one of the LA Marathon’s Official Charities! Premiere Charity: Team World Vision
by John Huddle
When I was ten years old, I was an angry kid – kicking in doors and punching out windows and generally driving my mother, sister and father crazy. My father served at a church on the campus of the University of Illinois. By the time I was twelve, my anger issues had really isolated me, and I’d taken to sitting in the grass outside the church after service. It seemed like the world would walk past me without saying hello; but when Nephat would see me, he’d stop, drop onto the grass, and smile. Nephat was a graduate student from Nairobi, Kenya. He’d look me in the eye and his body language and tone of voice made it clear that he wanted to be with me and hear about my journey.
Nephat made such a strong impression on me that years later, after finding help with my anger through prayer, I, too, became a student at the University of Illinois. I minored in Africa Studies and studied Swahili as my foreign language. I wanted to give back. I never imagined that running a marathon with Team World Vision could do more good than if I went to Africa myself.
This video “The Journey” tells the story of how a first-time runner (me) ran the LA Marathon to change lives in Africa by providing access to clean water. $50 donated through World Vision will provide one person with water for life. For the longest time, when I thought about “dirty water”, I’d think about the look and the taste. But for the people we run for, it’s the grueling search and the threat of violence and disease that dominates their lives .
Growing up, Nephat spent ten to twelve hours every day fetching dirty water, putting himself at risk of violence – even kidnapping – and putting his family at risk of malaria, guinea worm and dysentery. When our runners fundraise and a community gains access to clean water, we stop that cycle. Children no longer fetch for ten hours a day – they’re in school. Parents are free to start businesses and tend farms. My sponsored child, Eva, just sent me a picture of herself holding her first Kiswahili text book. Last month her local leaders developed a clean water source and she is finally in school! Eva had been walking on average 30 kilometers a day – three 10Ks – for dirty water. But now that search is over!
Team World Vision empowers people like me – a guy who hadn’t run two miles since high school – to take on a physical challenge for the sake of others in need. We have training groups throughout Southern California who support each other in training and in their desire to do something about poverty.
Join us on this incredible journey.