Guest post by Mark, our crew!

Swim4Good with MarkImagine that you are in a boat, guiding three swimmers on a dangerous trek from Europe to Africa, to swim across the challenging, 20km-long Strait of Gibraltar.   So far your group has overcome the unknown waters, pushed through the strong currents and avoided frightening ship traffic.  What would these swimmers be feeling at km #17.5?  Africa is on the horizon, but they are exhausted.

Do you let them stop?  Give up? No way!  They are so close.  You want them to reach the shore!  So as their crew, you cheer them on stronger than ever.  You give them the nourishment they need, and you help guide the way so they can make it. The Swim4Good group – Mauricio, Susan & Emily – is indeed swimming the Strait of Gibraltar in a couple of weeks.  They intend to raise $100,000 for Worldreader, a non-profit organization bringing digital books into the hands of children in many African countries.

To achieve their fundraising objective, however, they still need to raise an additional $12,012.  This is the equivalent of being at kilometer #17.5 in their ambitious 20km journey.  They need your assistance to make it.

Let’s look at the facts: First, swimming the Strait of Gibraltar is an extremely challenging endeavor.  Their achievement will not be insignificant.  Susan and Emily will be two of only 100 women ever to swim the Strait – and among the first 30 American women to do it.  In total only around 600 people have made the crossing.

In addition, as if crossing the Strait weren’t dangerous enough, these three encounter many difficulties even during their normal weekly training sessions. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to paddle behind them on “only” an 8km Saturday morning swim.  First of all, the fishermen on the coast had cast their lines out in the water, and they extended surprisingly far out into the sea.  It all seemed benign, but in reality every line was a dangerous situation.  The fishing lines were practically invisible, especially from the surface – but only until the moment you found yourself immediately under them (or swimming over them!), and they suddenly wrapped around your arm or throat!

And in between doing battle with the fishing lines, these swimmers had to avert motorized boat traffic.  And loud jet-skiers.  They were all out that morning – and uncomfortably close to us – churning up the water and bouncing around wildly.  They wouldn’t be able to see these swimmers easily.

Every time the three of them enter the water, they are taking risks.  Their preparation for Gibraltar should be respected.

And they are accomplishing the training under even more challenging circumstances.  Emily – a mother of three children under 10 years of age – swam the 8k that morning while recovering from bronchitis…and she finished the whole 2.5 hour session barely even having to kick her legs!  Mauricio has been struggling with a serious shoulder injury for months, but he soldiers on.  And for the most part of the last six weeks, Susan – also a mother – has been away for work on three different continents.  But she makes do; they are all pushing through.

The Worldreader cause is worthy of our contribution.  What will your donation accomplish?  Swim4Good’s cause will bring digital books to tens of thousands of children in Africa.  With today’s modern technology, Worldreader can offer so many children living in Africa even greater opportunities to read and learn…and allow them to accomplish it independently – without numerous volunteers, expensive systems and bulky book shipments.

Apart from the cause that the S4G team is supporting, this journey to Africa holds special significance for me.  20 years ago this summer I moved from the States to live and work in Bamako, Mali.  Most of the children in West African countries like Mali live in extreme poverty.  Imaginably, they encounter many obstacles to receiving a firm education.  For most of the year I was living in Mali, the children were not even in school, because the government and the teachers were in an extended disagreement.  Swim 4 Good’s collaboration with Worldreader will help overcome obstacles such as these, and the contributions will put digital books in the hands of families in these countries – to help them to learn, grow, suffer less, and thrive.  Image

So Susan, Emily and Mauricio are in the final stretch now…less than 2 weeks to go.  It is a great honor for me to be invited to assist these friends in their big swim across the Strait, and to support them in their cause.

It’s incredibly easy to donate.  Credit cards are accepted.  In the US it’s tax-deductible…and in other countries as well.  Here’s the link– any contribution is welcome, and they can even be made anonymously.

Do it for Africa; do it because you support education, or children, or literacy, or fostering international development.  Do it to acknowledge the incredible effort that Sooz, Em and Mau have made.  Or do it, simply, for the love of swimming. Thank you!

Mark



Categories: Swim4Good, Worldreader

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