Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Kitchen Table to Kitchen Table Adventuring

Today the second of 7 batches of Race to Cradock riders hit the road. I'm happy to announce that I'm in the line up once again—I'll be sweeping in Batch 7.

The Freedom Challenge events are special. In conversation with Julia Fisher (accomplished adventure racer and Blanket Wearer) I asked her what she understood to be the unique aspect of the Freedom Trail. She encapsulated it in one short sentence, "They are the only events that go from kitchen table to kitchen table."

That's a profound summary. There's an implied intimacy—our kitchen tables are the space we share with our friends. In practice it's even more special. Riders doing a daily support station to support station ride typically start their day at 4am. We're not talking bread and butter breakfasts. In most cases the love of the home is poured out on the kitchen table in the form of hot food and freshly brewed tea and coffee. The hosts are often up a lot earlier sorting and folding the riders laundry from the night before. When the riders have clocked up another 10, 12 or 14 hour day they end their day sitting around another farm kitchen table and the cycle is repeated.

But that's not all... On one race I relayed to the race office that I would be arriving and pushing through one particular support station and hour or two after midnight and wouldn't need anything special. I said they could leave out cornflakes or a couple of slices of bread. When I arrived the host was waiting up for me. She said there was no way she wasn't going to give me something warm to eat. That is exactly the "kitchen table to kitchen table" experience that Julia was talking about.

In 5 days time I start my next kitchen table to kitchen table adventure. I can't wait.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Life Without Knickers

Knickers, underpants, scants, undies, panties - call them what you will. They are as integral a part of our lives as are shoes or a toothbrush. But that is not everyone's reality.

While chatting to my niece who is busy with her degree in social work she told me about knickerless kids. While doing community work at a government children's clinic she heard that many of the children who attend these clinics have no underwear.

It seems that we are the reason for this. No, we're not stealing them but we are tossing them in the trash.
While happy to bundle our kids old clothes into black bags to give to charity we stop short of adding underwear for reasons I need not expand on. These clothes reappear at these children's clinics on the bodies of the needy. But the thing we didn't give them was knickers.

Like me, you have probably never considered what life is like without knickers. I cannot imagine what it would be like if I couldn't afford to buy these basics for my kids. The absence of those simple garments can contribute to the insidious stripping away of a child's dignity. But it gets more complicated than that. We teach kids about personal boundaries. We tell them that no one should touch their private parts often clarifying that by saying their private parts are the parts their knickers cover. See the problem with that?

My niece started an initiative to get people to donate knickers so that clinics are able to give young boys and girls an underwear pack. She has targeted the 2-12 age group and has already managed to make a difference but the need is huge.

I'm asking you to consider contributing to her initiative. She is based in Capetown and has a collection point at a local hairdresser which is not practical for most of us. It costs about R30 for a pack of 3. That's the cost of a cup of coffee. I'm happy to forego my occasional coffee and redirect that money to make a meaningful difference.

You can make payments to:
E Lamoral
Account number: 1498038199
Branch: 470010