Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why I Run

A few quick updates before I get to the point of this blog:
1. I can now run 10K slowly, but surely. 5K is old news. My goal is 10K in one hour; right now, I do it in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
2. Plyometrics no longer makes it nearly impossible for me to move from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Buns and thighs of steel, baby - that's all I'm sayin'.
3. I have raised a total of $840 for the SRP! If you add the $0.10 per $1.00 that I said I would donate to myself, I actually have $924.

Ok, now to the real reason for this post...almost:
I've never met Marie Landry, but I count her as a cherished friend none-the-less. We share a love for reading and writing and that's how we came to cross each other's path. Marie blogs here: Ramblings of a Daydreamer and she just published Blue Sky Days. In a beautiful effort to help me out, Marie just included a post - Supporting the Student Refugee Program - on  her blog. In honour of her efforts to help me acquire some much needed funding for the SRP, I thought now would be the perfect time to share the sponsored student stories that I have been meaning to blog about for some time know.

Here goes - the real reason (finally) for this post:
In 2006, the student we brought to Brandon University had to flee Ethiopia because he was advocating for his rights as a university student. Imagine facing death at the hands of your government simply for standing up for your fundamental human rights! After spending a number of years in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, he was accepted into the WUSC (World University Service of Canada) Student Refugee Program. He recently became a Canadian citizen and he'll finish his final year of an Education Degree in June of 2013!

In 2007, our student came from Kakuma Refugee Camp after fleeing life-threatening conditions in Ethiopia. He hasn't seen his mother in over five years! If you saw a photograph of him when he arrived in Canada compared with one of him now, you wouldn't guess the photos were of the same person. He's happy and healthy and hopes to make it home for a visit next summer!

In 2008, we had the pleasure of welcoming a student from one of the Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya. After fleeing the atrocities that were occurring in Somalia and spending the majority of his life in the camp, he was welcomed with open arms to Canada. His personality is larger than life and he just recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science. He will write the MCAT this summer!

In 2009, we welcomed another student from one of the Dadaab Camps in Kenya. Again from Somalia and again after having spent the majority of his life in the camp, we welcomed him with pleasure. He'd win the award for best dressed at any function and is currently working on finishing up his undergraduate degree.

In 2010, the student we brought came to us from Kakuma again. If you are at all familiar with the Lost Boys then you know a little inkling about our 2010 student. In the distance, he could hear the sounds of an incoming raid. Everyone in the village fled for their lives not knowing where their families were. For months he walked, caught the occasional ride, and feared humans more than the African wildlife. Upon coming to Canada, he was finally able to reconnect with some of his family members after nearly a decade of not knowing whether any of them were still alive. He is the kindest person I have met in my life thus far; I honestly cannot express the brightness he was brought to my life. He'll be finishing his third year of studies in Biology and Chemistry this year and getting ready to write the MCAT in the near future!

In 2011, we had another student from Dadaab. On his way from Somalia to Kenya, he saw his baby brother die from starvation and dehydration. He, himself, was only a child. He spent nearly two decades in the camp before making it to Canada through the WUSC Student Refugee Program. I have never seen someone as thin as he was when he came by my office on his first day here. I held the tears in until he left, but as soon as he was out of sight, I let them out...in streams. In just two short months, it will be a year since he arrived on Canadian soil. I had lunch with him today and it donned on me how healthy he looks now. He is thriving and it warms my heart!

In 2012, we will bring 2 students, each from a different camp in Dadaab. Brandon University has been bringing one student a year to study from a refugee camp for over three decades. After a lot of hard work, the dream that I've had since 2008, when I really started getting involved with WUSC, to provide two students with the opportunity to change their lives, is coming true. At this point, our committee will be able to bring two students on an alternating basis - one student, two students, one student, two students. The next step of my dream is to continually bring two students EVERY year.

  • These students have faced atrocities that I could never fathom.
  • Despite those atrocities, every one of them is an epitome of all that is good in this world.
  • So much dedication has gone in to achieving a two-student sponsorship.
  • In order to maintain a dual sponsorship, we need to raise more funds.

THAT - friends - is WHY I RUN!

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