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My Grandest Adventure Yet

06/09/2008

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, mostly because life has proven exceedingly busy. I finished off the semester, I moved (into a storage unit and the back of my car- I’m technically homeless right now, though I sleep comfortably at night by the grace of friends). In my last post I mentioned a big announcement I’d be making; well, here goes.

This is me, and the guy behind me is James. Come Thursday we’ll board a flight together and, 42 hours and 55 minutes later, land here:

Why? Well, if you’d like to read someone a bit more concise than myself, check out the Denver Post‘s take here. Otherwise, please permit me to ramble. James and I are team members on the Stanley Livingstone Expedition 2008. From June 15 to August 15 we will walk (yes, walk, as in on our own poor soon-to-blistered-and-aching feet) about 985 miles, crossing Tanzania from the shores of Zanzibar all the way to the second deepest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika. We will be retracing the historical route the British explorer Henry Morton Stanley took to locate another explorer and missionary, Dr. Livingstone, after the latter disappeared whilst trying to find the source of the Nile. Along the way we will distribute mosquito nets, medical supplies and other goods to villages and refugee camps.

This is why I’ve been technically homeless since May 31st. Why move into (and pay rent on) a new place only to leave twelve days later for over two months?

As the Post said, I’ve cashed out all my savings and gotten (and promptly loaded far too much debt onto) my first credit card ever for this trip. It’s worth it, though, for multiple reasons (many of which I can’t even articulate). I want to go into public health work, and particularly field work, as a career, and this will give me an amazing boost in that direction; my expedition title is Public Health Specialist. Also, this is the kind of thing people spend their entire lives thinking they’d like to do and then never actually do- it’s an amazing opportunity and will be a life-changing experience.

And of course there’s the anti-Malaria work. Malaria is a major problem, and mosquito nets are the most viable solution. Malaria kills about a million people per year- most of these people are in Africa, and most of those are children. The combination of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and cheap antimalarials, however, cuts these deaths in half.

Two months. Blisters and sweat rashes, mosquitoes and tsetse flies, lion and hyena and hippo, oh my. It will be amazing. It will be transformative. It will be awesome, and I mean that in the old-school “made of awe” sort of way. And to top it all off, at the end of it, James and I plan to go off on our own and climb this beauty:

Picture by Paul Shaffner
Picture by Paul Shaffner

I am accepting donations to finance my part in the expedition through my Paypal account. Any funds received in excess of my up-front costs (excluding Kilimanjaro, which is a gift from James) will go towards purchasing more mosquito nets for distribution. Furthermore, if you’re interested, I’m going to try and send out e-mail updates from the field whenever I can. There’s no guarantees I’ll get a single message out -I am not well-versed on the availability of internet cafes on the route- but I will try. Said updates will end up on this blog (with pictures!) eventually, but probably not until well after I get back. If you’d like to get yourself on the e-mail list or donate through Paypal the address is the same: corvus.mellori AT gmail DOT com (AT is @ and DOT is ., of course, without spaces). Your interest and support, of course, are much appreciated.

And hey, even if you don’t want to hand your hard-earned funds over to some random geek girl on the internet (I can’t blame you for that), please take a moment to consider some other great anti-malaria efforts:

the Global Fund
Malaria No More
Nothing But Nets
the Malaria Foundation

And that’s only to name a few.

Three days!

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