Month: June 2022

Keep Rolling – Wheelchairkids on skates

Keep moving and leave your comfort zone, that is exactly the motto of our Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus week in Haydom this May.

We left our personal comfort zone and put ourselves and our wheelchair kids on downhill-wheeles. Together with the two skater professionals Daniel and Gilliard from Smallsteps Skatepark UsaRiver, Tansania, we organized the very first wheelchair skating course in Haydom.

The ramps and obstacles previously made in the village after expert advice from German wheelchair skating professional David Lebuser and sponsored by Haydom-Friends e.V. became the highlight of the week. The kids were provided with protective gear by Daniel and Gilliard from the Smallsteps Skatepark and a short time later they were skating over inclined ramps and curved wooden planes either sitting in their wheelchairs or beeing on the skateboards.

For most of the children this feeling of speed was a completely new experience and was greeted with great laughter and applause. The children playfully learned to control their wheelchairs and practiced their sense of balance while standing or sitting on the board. Not only the children had a lot of fun but also some of the parents turned out to be real ramp talents. The goal is to playfully take away fears and challenge the kids to leave their own comfort zone.

With the wonderful team of the smallsteps-skatepark in cooperation with Haydom-Friends more skatesessions will take place in Haydom in the future. The long term goal is to build an inclusive skatepark in Haydom, where the village kids as well as the wheelchair kids can let off steam, have fun together and show what they are capable of doing.

Together we can go the distance

The sun is rising abough the Haydom Airstrip as the sports pistol is giving the kickoff starting signal for about 200 runners to start moving. The sky is burning in red colours, the soil underneath our feet is red and dusty. 200 participants from Haydom and beyond are running for a good cause. 21 km ahead of me and the newest spotify GOOD MOOD playlist in my ears I am managing my first kilometers. It felt like I was the only one running as the others of my group quickly moved out of my sight. But I kept going, passing sunflower fields, little mud houses and farms, akazia trees, cows and goats. Sometimes the road was flat and paved, sometimes it was uneven and I had to jump across deep holes in the ground. My lungs were burning on every little hill I had to climb up, I could feel the altitude but tried to keep breathing deep and slow, focussing my thoughts on the goal not to stop running.

Along the way on each and every intersection were people standing clapping hands and cheering, some of them were waving flags to indicate which direction to continue. On the difficult parts I remember some were even running alongside with me to keep me going. Moments of joy and pure happyness probably caused by a rush of endorphines running through my entire body alternated with moments of deep exhaustion in which I was really fighting hard wanting to just stop and sit down.

The moment I entered the airstrip again I had only one thought left, to reach the finish line. With my very last power and accompanied by a lot of applause and cheering people shouting my name I crossed the finish line after 2 hours and 11 minutes. I did it!! And not enough, even as fourth best in my category. A lot of hands pat me on my shoulder and congratulated. I felt more than happy I was able to represent our Haydom team that way. I am more than thankful for all of your support and good wishes that have carried me across that finish line. When I received my medal and even a price I could not hold back some tears of joy.

Running that distance was reminding me on the fight that our kids with Spina Bifida have to go through every single day and I am so proud on our little warriors and happy I could do that for them. Mr Giniki, Tansanian most famous long distance and Marathon athlete, also was present shaking hands with me as a symbol of his now further on support and cooperation for our children and parents in Haydom. I had to promise I keep on training and running for a good cause. I am truly willing to do. And who knows maybe I will soon even be running the next level. Thanks to each and everyone of you who donated for our children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in Haydom. The parents and kids after a successful week of education and recreation left with my personal promise that we will continue to keep walking that distance all together and we will see back in October this year.