Warning this post is not about running. However, it is about one of the most important pillars of our crew culture, giving to others.
Two years ago I packed my bags and decided to spend my summer vacation in Peru, to work as a medical translator in a small clinic in Cusco. During this time I realized that joint pain was one of the biggest problems the patients and the people living in the villages we visited had. And in most cases this was due to bad and worn out shoes. For that reason, when I decided to return this summer I wanted to bring over as many shoes as possible. As runners we go through innumerable amounts of shoes, and in most cases we switch them over when they are in relative good shape. With the help of Lotti spreading the word, Kristian aiding with the logistics and Ssideline City providing monetary support I managed to gather up several bags filled with shoes that I took across the Atlantic with me.
The first two days in Cusco we visited two villages high up in the sacred valley and two orphanages. In these villages and orphanages we would provide the inhabitants and the children with basic hygiene kits, anti-parasitic drugs that take care of a great deal of the parasites which would otherwise deplete the nutrients out of the food they consume, and of course clothing and shoes. The rest of the week and half in Cusco I spent inside the clinic that my friends mother helped build up and has kept staffed every year for the past fourteen years. A typical day in the clinic starts at eight in the morning and finishes at seven in the evening when the last patient has been taken care of. This year all doctors spoke spanish so my job(s) was organizing the other volunteers, working in the pharmacy, checking people’s vision, and running up and down the laboratory to try to speed up certain tests, specially for those people that lived several hours away and could not come back the next day. By the end of the week, and having gone through a food poisoning, I was exhausted and had a bittersweet feeling of having done a lot but upset for not being able to do more. But it is because of that feeling that I feel the urge to return, to keep on giving as much as possible, and to convince others of the necessity to do so.