New Home, Same Home 2019

Most of our new comers in their school uniforms sending everyone their gratitude.

Most of our new comers in their school uniforms sending everyone their gratitude.

In Rwanda in 2019

Well I just got back from Rwanda this week. For those who have followed my journeys though the years, you will realize it is mighty early for me to be back in the states. This is true and unfortunate. My life schedule does not allow me the same freedom I used to have that allowed me to stay in Rwanda for two months plus. However I have chosen to focus on how grateful I am that I can still go after 11 years! This trip was a little over three weeks and though short, it was still worth every second and has filled me with memories for the rest of my life.

Amurand and Gabriel are brothers. They are our middle children as they are almost finished Primary School

Amurand and Gabriel are brothers. They are our middle children as they are almost finished Primary School

School

To keep things simple, let us start with the biggest story from our efforts of 2018’s biggest fundraiser AKA school fees. As you know, we were successful and raised enough money to send our kids back to school for 2019. School started earlier than ever this year in early January so I arrived with things in full swing at the house. I will explain further as we continue, but we had a lot of changes for kids living at the home so we saw a lot of fresh new faces going to school for the first time ever. That feeling never gets old.

Arguably our brightest student is Jack. Here he is before he took off to his final year of Secondary School.

Arguably our brightest student is Jack. Here he is before he took off to his final year of Secondary School.

Old Faces, New Faces

There has been a slow change occurring at home now for years. This year felt like one of extremes. It felt like most of our older kids/young men, that we have had for a long time now, had either moved out and on, or were in their final year of school. On the other side, we had two kids in their later years of primary school. Beyond that, we had ten new kids that were all very small and young. the majority of them starting school for the first time ever. We also have more than just a few young men that have begun their lives on their own now. A couple of years ago, it happened for the first time and that was amazing. Now we have more than a few who are on their own now, and doing really well. Take a peak at some of the pictures for more specific stories.

I love this picture because it shows Big Yves and new Little Yves. Big Yves probably never expected to be called “Big” Yves as he is 18 and still not so big. But we took in the eight year old Yves recently. It has been a treat to watch Big Yves mentoring and taking care of his new, younger brothers.

I love this picture because it shows Big Yves and new Little Yves. Big Yves probably never expected to be called “Big” Yves as he is 18 and still not so big. But we took in the eight year old Yves recently. It has been a treat to watch Big Yves mentoring and taking care of his new, younger brothers.

The Land, The Home, and Family

So the family is all moved in, and I was able to enjoy it, and document it as well for all of our supporters. I should start by telling everyone that the home is surely not finished completely at all. Basically, later in 2018, Evode made the decision to move everyone into the home so we could stop to pay rent finally. In order to make this possible, a donation was made to properly put in windows and doors to seal the house. A handful of rooms were than completed on the 2nd floor of the house. If you remember correctly, there is a side structure that was built years ago along with the wall. Some of those rooms were finished as well. Currently, Evode and Becky, and their children live on the 2nd floor of the house. All of the kids live in the side structure. There are a couple of rooms for everyone to sleep and hang out. There is also a kitchen and a bathroom for them. While the first floor isn’t finished, we did get one room set up as a suitable study room. The whole house is being utilized but only the 2nd floor is livable currently. Meanwhile, we have the land to raise chickens and rabbits, have a small garden, and space for the kids to play too. The biggest thing to take away from it, is that, if ever something really bad were to occur and we were low on funds for the kids, we at least know that we have a place for everyone to stay now. There is no fear we will be pushed out by a landlord or someone. That is a feeling that Ubaka U Rwanda has never known.

This was our attempt at a family photo. There are more kids we help that had taken off to boarding school when this photo was taken. I enjoy the silliness of it.

This was our attempt at a family photo. There are more kids we help that had taken off to boarding school when this photo was taken. I enjoy the silliness of it.

Evode Usabyamahoro

I wanted to address the current status for Evode. For those who do not know Evode, he is the heart and soul of Ubaka U Rwanda. He is the Rwandan man who began mentoring street children as far back as 2002. It wasn’t until he met his now wife, Becky, that the charity was established and a home was found for him and kids to live together. That was in 2008.

Earlier in 2018, Evode became very ill. For months, they could not figure out what was wrong with him. He became so ill, it was feared he may die. He was eventually properly diagnosed with tuberculosis. Evode, who was extremely strong with big muscles, found himself weighing less than 50 kgs at one point and bedridden. Today, I am happy to say that him and I went to the doctors last week and he was slowly gaining his weight back. He is on medications that will take many more months to help him completely but are getting him closer everyday. I can tell you that it was extremely scary for me, but even more so for Becky and all of the kids. Evode and I took many walks at night as he worked to slowly gain his strength back. I was sad that it was the best we could do but those walks were very special to me and were really quality times. Evode is one of my best friends in this world and one of my personal role models. I am so happy he is going to be o.k.

I saw Evode taking off down the driveway with Daniel and knew I had to take a photo. I guess I wasn’t the only one. I saw Becky soon after and she was in tears because she was so happy to see Evode on his feet again and able to be with the kids again.

I saw Evode taking off down the driveway with Daniel and knew I had to take a photo. I guess I wasn’t the only one. I saw Becky soon after and she was in tears because she was so happy to see Evode on his feet again and able to be with the kids again.

Random Adventures

Beyond the charity, I had some lovely misadventures in Rwanda as per usual. I am a huge fan of the some of the older traditional music from Rwanda. My favorite artist is called Sebanani and his band Impara Orchestra. Sadly, Sebanani was murdered in the genocide in 1994. I asked some of the older boys one day if any of the other members were still alive. Alphonse knew of one named Makanyaga. Supposedly he lived not too far away in Kigali. So Alphonse and I went on a journey to find him. It took us a few different places and we met a bunch of people in the process. Eventually, we met his granddaughter who led us to his house. Upon arriving, I could hear some instruments. It just worked out that we arrived as him and his band were playing! Talk about timing! They let us in and gave us a seat. I listened for over two hours. It was pure bliss. It isn’t easy to find full instrumentation in Rwanda but they had it all going on including horns. Afterwards, I met everyone and they accepted me to come back. I went back soon after and I played Rwandan songs I knew with them and we jammed for hours. I continued to go back until I left Rwanda. All the while, I learned new songs and heard many stories. Beyond the kids, it was another reminder of the special place Rwanda holds in my heart. And if anyone is looking for an example of their style of music, search “Rubanda” by Makanyaga on Youtube. Though, if you do, choose the older one. There was remix made in the 2000’s and the video is cute but it’ll never be as good as the original!

With all of the little kids, it isn’t easy for just one of them to get the space to explore the guitar and try it out. I noticed Christian was extremely into old time Rwanda music. He also was always by my side anytime I was playing guitar. I took this photo when it was raining one afternoon and the kids were napping.

With all of the little kids, it isn’t easy for just one of them to get the space to explore the guitar and try it out. I noticed Christian was extremely into old time Rwanda music. He also was always by my side anytime I was playing guitar. I took this photo when it was raining one afternoon and the kids were napping.

Up Ahead

So what is up next for this year? Well for me personally, now I will take on the task of writing specific letters detailing each of our kids. I will mail those letters to our different sponsors respectively. We are definitely in need of some new sponsors to go along with our new kids. Please don’t hesitate to talk to me about it. Our sponsors are our unsung heroes of the charity.

I also will be doing my best to find ways to start saving for our school fees for 2020. Currently, we don’t have them but I am hopeful we can obtain them consistently throughout 2019.

Of course, with the help of our sponsors, we will need to keep our monthly running costs at bay so we can continue our daily work.

Down the road, we will need to try to finish the home completely. I also hope to find a way to fund an income generating project we can run on our land. However, these dreams are only considered so long as the other concerns above are covered.

This will be Little Yves’s photo on his sponsor card we will send to his eventual sponsor

This will be Little Yves’s photo on his sponsor card we will send to his eventual sponsor

See You Laters

It is weird how difficult it is to say goodbye from Rwanda. If I stay for a longer time, I have more trouble saying goodbye because the bonds have become that much stronger. But with a shorter trip it hurts just as much too because it didn’t feel like it was enough. I guess it never really feels like enough anyways though. All I know is that it had been awhile since any of the kids had cried upon my leaving. But I guess it has been awhile since we have had a lot of new kids. All the others are used to my coming back and forth now. We don’t like it but we get it. Well, sadly but sweetly, there were some tears shed this year from our littlest ones. Surely, I don’t want them to cry but it did mean a lot too. With such a short trip, there was a small part of me that was almost cautious not to get too close as it would be painful for me too. But, it’s impossible not to bond with such amazing kids in need, and minus the tears, I’m happy we got so close.

So my resolve is as strong as ever. There is new a breed, a new generation if you will, that is forming at Ubaka U Rwanda. All of our kids over the years are out on their own or almost there. At home, they are now leading, teaching, and mentoring our new young little guys. And these new kids are mirroring a lot of the best and worst of those older kids when we first got them almost ten years ago if not longer. Of course, nothing ceases to amaze as every kid is his own as well. All I know is I am grateful to have met them, all of them. And I am grateful for the opportunity to help see them through.

Please enjoy the pictures and the anecdotes along with them to give more personal insight to these stories. And thank you for joining me in this crazy ride. And with your help, you have joined them as well in their rides. Which makes all of us pretty darn lucky.

KOMERA

(Be Strong)

Sully

I always like to use the Kinyarwanda phrase “komera.” It means “Be strong.” It is used for anything and always as a way to try to give strength to the receiver. I specifically had the kids do this on the chalkboard so a friend of mine who is undergoing intense chemotherapy would feel the love from Rwanda.

I always like to use the Kinyarwanda phrase “komera.” It means “Be strong.” It is used for anything and always as a way to try to give strength to the receiver. I specifically had the kids do this on the chalkboard so a friend of mine who is undergoing intense chemotherapy would feel the love from Rwanda.

Here is Little Fiston working really hard and efficiently!

Here is Little Fiston working really hard and efficiently!

Our friend was installing lights for the boys study room. I enjoyed watching Lewis jump into the effort and get a lesson.

Our friend was installing lights for the boys study room. I enjoyed watching Lewis jump into the effort and get a lesson.

Check out the boys’ new beds. This is their main bedroom. It is in the side structure we have had a for a few years now. Eventually, we will have them move in to the first floor of the house when we can finish it.

Check out the boys’ new beds. This is their main bedroom. It is in the side structure we have had a for a few years now. Eventually, we will have them move in to the first floor of the house when we can finish it.

It is fun to go run errands and come home to these goons greeting you before you enter

It is fun to go run errands and come home to these goons greeting you before you enter

David shows off the boys’ kitchen in use. That stove gets super hot and uses a lot less charcoal too.

David shows off the boys’ kitchen in use. That stove gets super hot and uses a lot less charcoal too.

We had Elisha for many years. However, now older, his mom is capable of keeping him with her during his holidays from school. I miss our time but this is the way it should be. We still support his school fees. I found him like this waiting for a bus when I was doing the same with another one of our kids.

We had Elisha for many years. However, now older, his mom is capable of keeping him with her during his holidays from school. I miss our time but this is the way it should be. We still support his school fees. I found him like this waiting for a bus when I was doing the same with another one of our kids.

It was a Monday routine for Evode and I to go to get his weekly medicine for his Tuberculosis. Afterwards we would stop by a local restaurant that our kid Francois now has a job at. He will be saving his money for the next handful of months until he is able to find a place he can afford and start his life.

It was a Monday routine for Evode and I to go to get his weekly medicine for his Tuberculosis. Afterwards we would stop by a local restaurant that our kid Francois now has a job at. He will be saving his money for the next handful of months until he is able to find a place he can afford and start his life.

The study room being fully utilized

The study room being fully utilized

I was walking outside. Peering into the study room, I could see Big Yves putting on a lesson for the younger kids. I loved it.

I was walking outside. Peering into the study room, I could see Big Yves putting on a lesson for the younger kids. I loved it.

We still have one cat named Hero. Hero is a pretty awesome cat and that is coming from a dog guy. I love when he gets to cuddling with some of the kids because that type of culture takes time to cultivate in Rwanda unfortunately.

We still have one cat named Hero. Hero is a pretty awesome cat and that is coming from a dog guy. I love when he gets to cuddling with some of the kids because that type of culture takes time to cultivate in Rwanda unfortunately.

I like this picture because it shows how the first floor of the house is getting utilized in many ways but also shows how it is not finished yet. You can see Muneza lounging on a chair, Mugisha getting his hair cut, and Lewis learning how to install lights.

I like this picture because it shows how the first floor of the house is getting utilized in many ways but also shows how it is not finished yet. You can see Muneza lounging on a chair, Mugisha getting his hair cut, and Lewis learning how to install lights.

The little ones learning a traditional game called Igisoro. It has similarities to Mancala. They picked it up pretty quick.

The little ones learning a traditional game called Igisoro. It has similarities to Mancala. They picked it up pretty quick.

Here is Christian sending us off with a cheeky wink.

Here is Christian sending us off with a cheeky wink.

































Run the 1 2018 - Stories and Results

Sunrise

Sunrise

WE’VE DONE IT AGAIN

Never in my dreams would I think we would still be at this after eight years. The credit goes to anyone reading this. As predicted, our events were smaller than from the past but were certainly just as strong. We took a different approach this year. We decided to do multiple events leading up to the big run. It started with the Rafiki Runs in October and finished with us settling in at the Central Coast Brewery in San Luis Obispo, CA in December. Before I take you through everything, let me throw out the numbers first.

  • Money Raised - $13,000 and counting

  • Number of Runners - 29 (23 runners and bikers, 4 supporters, 2 dogs)

  • Number of Miles covered - 437 Miles (on foot) - 115 Miles (on bike)

  • More than $23 raised per mile!

  • Amount of our kids going back to school for the 2019 year….. ALL OF THEM

Able Ebenezer Brewing Company’s Rafiki Run in Marrimack, NH

Able Ebenezer Brewing Company’s Rafiki Run in Marrimack, NH

THE RAFIKI RUNS - OCT 6th

It wouldn’t be right to not go over the impact our Rafiki Runs had for us again. We gave the runs their own event this year in October.It should be known though that they spawned from Run the 1 and our passionate friends all over the world who used to join us for Run the 1 from wherever they were at that time. Thanks to so many. Merrimack NH, and San Diego, CA really came through for us along with bunch of other committed individuals around the world. Of course, the kids ran too in Rwanda!

The Palmer Village Band performing for the party

The Palmer Village Band performing for the party

THE PALMER VILLAGE - PALO ALTO, CA - November 27th

Anyone who has been with us and read these blogs in the past, probably have heard of Laura Palmer and her amazing network of friends that come out to support the kids every year. I have grown very close to some of these folks. It has gotten a bit painful as the years continue because it is no nice to see everyone yet it is only for one night. It should also be noted that the musical progression of Laura’s children and their friends has grown exponentially. I got to sit in with some of them for some jazz standards that THEY taught me beforehand. Even without the donations, these parties have turned out to be a great night in itself to enjoy organic music from an amazing group of youngsters. Of course, the generosity of everyone there has kept our Rwandan kids in school for years too. Thank you to Laura and her amazing village for sticking with us.

It only took like five years for the Glorified Gardeners to take a group shot. (Missing is TJ the Plumber)

It only took like five years for the Glorified Gardeners to take a group shot. (Missing is TJ the Plumber)

MANROCK BREWING COMPANY - ARROYO GRANDE, CA - November 29th

In an effort to reach a wider audience with our music and for our fundraising, we locked in a spot to play at the San Luis Obispo’s Downtown Farmers Market. This event would have guaranteed us to play for hundreds of people who had never heard us before as we held a booth for the charity. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate and the farmer’s market was cancelled. I have to thank our bassist (Ku Dawg) for reaching out to Manrock Brewing for a last minute chance to play there. So we crammed ourselves in to the corner and proceeded to rock out. Izzy Pettigrew kicked it off as she did last year. At 17 years old, everyone remember her name because she is fantastic and driven. The Glorified Gardeners reunited and took the night over afterwards. It was glory regardless if it was farmers market or not. Our good friends came and strangers stayed too. The brewery was so kind to donate as did other wonderful people. Fun Fact - Manrock Brewing is named after Mansfield Rock which is very close to where we start Run the 1 in Big Sur. It turns out the owners have extreme family history going back in the area. The night seemed grim for a quick moment but ended up being a beautifully fun time full of reunions, amazing music, surprising history lessons, generosity, and support for the kids of course.

Tecates in hand prior to beginning the run. Tradition

Tecates in hand prior to beginning the run. Tradition

RUN THE 1 - RAGGED POINT, CA-

DECEMBER 1st

As I said earlier, this was our smallest number of runners thus far. We still had a great group though and a very supportive one at that. This year, more than any other, everyone stayed with each other and it had mostly awesome effects and a few tough effects. The positives are pretty obvious; we had comradery, laughs, solidarity, increased safety, and an easier time logistically. The only negative I would say (And I am speaking for myself) was the increased peer support did make me feel a tad bit stronger and faster than I really am. I ran my first 40 miles the best I ever had. I think my last ten might have been my worst though! Either way, I made it, and so did everyone. We had some record breakers too with Kyle Nakazawa (50) and Victoria Torres (25) which is one of my favorite things to see. All in all, it was one of my favorite runs honestly because the simplicity of this one allowed me to feel more of the heart of it all. In past years, I was a ball of stress. This year, I just went running with some amazing people, in an amazing place for some amazing kids.

  1. Kyle Nakazawa - 50

  2. Ben Holmes - 50

  3. Shaun Sullivan - 50

  4. Sky Reeves - 32

  5. Demi Castanon - 6

  6. Taylor Castanon - 7 (Rafiki Run and our first ever 1 mile Rafiki Swim!)

  7. Naomi Holmes - 6

  8. Victoria Torres - 25

  9. Devon Kelsey - 35

  10. Loryn Bedell - 17

  11. Katie Lewis - 31

  12. Kona (Devon’s Dog) - 2

  13. Whiskey ( The Holme’s Dog - 2

  14. Matt Madrigal - 30 and 12 (Bike and Run)

  15. Emily - 35 and 3 (Bike and Run)

  16. Chris Stephens - 6

  17. Jaclyn Ruthann - 6

  18. Cain Silvey - 30

  19. Sam Kane - 30

  20. Kallen Kao - 21

  21. Spencer Gordon - 20

  22. Jason Hall - 13

  23. Gam - 7

  24. Randy - 7

  25. DOC - 50 (On Bike)

SUPPORT (WE WOULD BE NOTHING WITHOUT OUR SUPPORTERS. THANK YOU FOR BEING THE UNSUNG HEROES)

  1. CLAIRE MELLEIN

  2. JERRY GREEN

  3. DUSTIN BARTHEL

  4. CONNOR SIEMEN

Most of the gang finished at last!

Most of the gang finished at last!

THE BAYWOOD TAVERN and CENTRAL COAST BREWING

Knowing our numbers wouldn’t be as high as years’ past, we decided on the smaller events you have read above. With the help of Ben Holmes and David Weber, we were able to get The Baywood Tavern in Los Osos, CA and Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo, CA to take up our cause. Both establishments welcomed us and donated to the cause too. We ended our run at the Baywood Tavern and kicked off the celebration there. That evening, we convened at Central Coast Brewing where they also donated and welcomed us to celebrate. It was a great turnout and everyone had a great time. Once again, the simplicity of these smaller events, allowed me to take in the moments much easier compared to dealing with some of our crazier ideas of past. Either way though, we got the job done and had a blast doing it.

It’s a glorious feeling when you turn the bend and see a bunch of trucks waiting to support you. I took this crappy quality photo while crawling to them.

It’s a glorious feeling when you turn the bend and see a bunch of trucks waiting to support you. I took this crappy quality photo while crawling to them.

WHAT’S NEXT

I need to get back to Rwanda! I will take off shortly after the new year. The kids are starting school extremely early this year and I want to get there before they take off. Did you know they moved into the new home? Thanks to our efforts over the years and other folks, the home is now livable. It certainly is not finished but it was the smartest thing to do to make the move. I can’t wait to share all of that with everyone.

Did you see some of our Run the 1 hats? Thanks to Naomi Holmes for getting those made. We still have a few. Along with our remaining shirts, we are going to set up a way to sell those things online during the year for anyone! Stay tuned!

Want to help out the best way possible? Check out our sponsorship page. Committing to one of our kids personally helps out our charity and brings you much closer to the life of one of our kids. http://www.ubakaurwanda.org/sponsor/

Donations can still be made anytime through our website.

Some of our family sharing our thanks to you.

Some of our family sharing our thanks to you.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Allow me to communicate the same sentiment I have had since we started this whole deal…I’m just grateful it goes on in any capacity. People still ask me how the event went or comment on the fact that it’s gotten smaller or less extreme. It has gotten smaller each year, and the event has certainly gotten more simplified. However, 50 miles is still 50 miles. Hell, 1 mile is still 1 mile. It’s all relative. The fact is, me personally, I must do something to earn the generosity from over the years and the years to come. I pledge that. As long as I’ve done something to communicate my passion for the kids in a way without words, and those kids still get to go to school, than it is a MASSIVE success. Then I think about all of my amazing friends that are still joining me and HELPING me in any capacity and I feel like the luckiest guy alive. Follow those thoughts up with that we have an absolute blast doing these things and I’m not sure you can ask for anything better.

And never forget that this event started in 2011 because we wanted to feed street kids porridge at school so they could continue their education. Going forward, we have bought land, helped build a home, and helped keep a roof over former street kids’ heads with our efforts. But it all goes back to education, and we have never forgotten or abandoned the future of so many kids that would have been otherwise left behind. Let Run the 1 become what it may. You will still find me running for the kids, and I will be forever grateful for those who have joined me before, this year, and for those who will be there in the future. And in that regard, Run the 1 will always be a great success.

THANK YOU SO MUCH

KOMERA (Be Strong)

Sully

I don’t truly enjoy running, but you’ll still find me doing so for years to come. Thanks for joining me in the journey

I don’t truly enjoy running, but you’ll still find me doing so for years to come. Thanks for joining me in the journey

Victoria sent me this photo later on. While I wish I could say I never stopped, I surely did! But we all finished

Victoria sent me this photo later on. While I wish I could say I never stopped, I surely did! But we all finished

Laura’s father made it our from Washington this year again. Incredible humans

Laura’s father made it our from Washington this year again. Incredible humans

Wondering why Claire didn’t run this year? She had a race following Run the 1 (Which she won of course). So Claire woke up with us at 3:30 in the morning, drove us to the start and followed us the whole day. She also bought us tacos, cookies, beer, water, and told us we were doing good even when we weren’t.

Wondering why Claire didn’t run this year? She had a race following Run the 1 (Which she won of course). So Claire woke up with us at 3:30 in the morning, drove us to the start and followed us the whole day. She also bought us tacos, cookies, beer, water, and told us we were doing good even when we weren’t.

I saw this and it made me feel like we were a real band!

I saw this and it made me feel like we were a real band!

Kona stuck with us all day.

Kona stuck with us all day.

Whiskey is still learning to trust people but he had a great time running with us on the beach

Whiskey is still learning to trust people but he had a great time running with us on the beach

I was lucky to have these guys hang with me for the last bit of the run. You can tell who didn’t mind the break and who just wanted to get it over with!

I was lucky to have these guys hang with me for the last bit of the run. You can tell who didn’t mind the break and who just wanted to get it over with!

It was high tide on the beach so we had some rock hopping to do which isn’t the easiest after 40 miles. It was gorgeous though. You can see Morro Rock in the distance. When you first see Morro Rock, you are relieved because you are getting closer. However, it can also mess with you as it feels like forever to reach it. Los Osos is another 5 miles beyond it.

It was high tide on the beach so we had some rock hopping to do which isn’t the easiest after 40 miles. It was gorgeous though. You can see Morro Rock in the distance. When you first see Morro Rock, you are relieved because you are getting closer. However, it can also mess with you as it feels like forever to reach it. Los Osos is another 5 miles beyond it.

I think Sky could have pulled off the 50 but he did a stand up thing and bowed out at 32 to let others who had been supporting all morning jump in and run.

I think Sky could have pulled off the 50 but he did a stand up thing and bowed out at 32 to let others who had been supporting all morning jump in and run.

We had no one to take our starting photo so Demi and Naomi switched out. I am always grateful for the ones that make it out for the early morning start.

We had no one to take our starting photo so Demi and Naomi switched out. I am always grateful for the ones that make it out for the early morning start.

P.S. For Ali,

For those who do not know Ali Zikratch, she has been my rock for everything Ubaka U Rwanda since she decided to help us in 2012. There are countless things that wouldn’t be as they are right now without her. Even me typing this would not have been possible without her. She is the one who remained patient as she created the website and again and again had to teach me how to do these blogs.

But in regards to Run the 1, she has made it everything. It took me, Ben and Claire to take those first steps in 2011 but it took Ali and her passion and expertise to lay the foundation for this event.

Sadly but fortunately, Ali has been extremely busy this year as she finished her schooling and progressed extremely far in her full-time job. she couldn’t be with us this year and we missed her so much. People such as David Weber, Ben Holmes, Naomi Holmes, Kyle Nakazawa, Kurt Lindgren, Laura Palmer, Heather Martin, Caroline Weber, Jo Booth, Katie Creighton, and countless others. helped me pull off events, fund raise, get raffle gifts, make and sell merchandise, secure locations, and more.

I have always been grateful for Ali but I learned this year, more than any other of the impact she has had on Run the 1 and everything. She has laid the foundation for years to allow us to come together as we did to pull it all together. And I wanted to take a moment write about that and thank her. I know she will most likely hate this portion, so I saved it for the end for anyone who might still be here. Thank you Ali.

Ali on the left and Paige on the right. We missed you too Paige!

Ali on the left and Paige on the right. We missed you too Paige!

Run the 1 2018

December 1st, 2018

Ragged Point to the Baywood Tavern in Los Osos, CA

Last year, we finished at the now Baywood Tavern

Last year, we finished at the now Baywood Tavern

Hey folks! Another year has passed and another Run the 1 is set to go off on Saturday, December 1st! Come join us again to run, to play, to celebrate, and to help the kids of Ubaka U Rwanda.

THE PLAN THUS FAR….

Our plans over the years have always adapted to different hurdles placed before us. It’s one of the things I love most about this event. All of us that come together, do so knowing that we all will have each other’s backs and figure out what we have to do to achieve our goals set forth. So the plan thus far is I (Sully) will run the fifty miles from Ragged Point, CA to Los Osos, CA. I suspect I will have many great friends joining me in different areas and/or running the whole track as well. Unlike the past, this year we will continue the celebration in Los Osos at the local Baywood Tavern. Donations will be accepted there, local entertainment, and wonderful folks will meet to enjoy the lovely place we live. Stay tuned for other details to come.

Getting into Cayucos, CA

Getting into Cayucos, CA

WE’RE STILL KICKIN’

I realize it may sound like we are slowing some of our efforts this year which is sort of true in regards to an after party. However, we still have plenty of other efforts in regards to supporting the kids and having a good time too.

The Glorified Gardeners will be missing from the after party this year but they will still be rocking on another day. On Thursday, November 29th, you can find them playing at the SLO Farmers Market! Come have a good time with us. There will be a table where you can find info on supporting the kids too and we will be playing for donations.

Fiston, Jack, and I jamming in Rwanda. I still don’t have a Glorified Gardeners picture. This must change this year

Fiston, Jack, and I jamming in Rwanda. I still don’t have a Glorified Gardeners picture. This must change this year

PALO ALTO

One of our greatest supporters and friend, Laura Palmer, will be throwing another Pre-run engagement in Menlo Park, CA on Novebmer 27th. Every year, more folks come, more money is raised, and the wonderful network of people over there get closer too. The best part is watching all of the kids growing up each year. We have been putting on little musical performances for years now. This year, the gang of kids have really upped their game and I can’t wait to listen and jam with them.

Laura and I fumbling with our words of gratitude for each other in between songs

Laura and I fumbling with our words of gratitude for each other in between songs

EYES AND EARS OPEN

That’s what I got for now. Runners, parties, music, good times, good folks, and charity for the kids. I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am that Run the 1 is continuing as such. This is our eighth year! Look forward to some more posts as December 1st gets closer. I am excited to add up all of the mileage from last year to everyone’s stats and to fill people in on how the kids are doing these days. Stay tuned!

Komera,

Sully

The house has improved much since this picture but the message is always the same

The house has improved much since this picture but the message is always the same






A Summary of Rafiki Runs 2018

A mother runs with her child in a running stroller across Merrill’s Marauders in Merrimack, NH. I had the privilege of joining her and friends as we helped them maneuver the stroller through various obstacles in the trail.

A mother runs with her child in a running stroller across Merrill’s Marauders in Merrimack, NH. I had the privilege of joining her and friends as we helped them maneuver the stroller through various obstacles in the trail.

RUNNING, WALKING, and SUPPORTING the KIDS

October 6th has come and gone but the good deeds and memories will remain. For me, personally, it was a special one because it was my first time being involved in a bigger fundraiser for Ubaka U Rwanda in my hometown of Merrimack, NH. My traveling over the years has led me to doing most of my efforts away from New Hampshire. Luckily, Heather Martin and the Able Ebenezer Brewing Company took it upon themselves to get things going locally in 2016. This year was my first year helping and attending and it was an honor. There was a great mix of friends, family, surprise visits, and folks I had never met before.

The runners and walkers in Merrimack, NH

The runners and walkers in Merrimack, NH

We had an earlier date than the years’ past so we could try to get some better weather for the runners on the east coast and we nailed it. It was a beautiful day. After the run, we had an all day celebration with food, beer, and live music. I am extremely grateful to those who came out and helped and ran. My favorite memory will be walking the last half of the course with some of my best friends, and my best friends’ mothers and enjoying the effort for the kids and the chance to enjoy where we live. Upon arriving back to the brewery, there were people all about enjoying their well deserved brew.

Thank you to everyone who ran, walked, donated, supported, and helped throughout!

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go for the Rafiki Runs. It’s all about doing something good for yourself and supporting the kids in Rwanda. In this picture, on our way back to the brewery, my lifelong friend and our lifelong friends’ mothers enjoyed a rare moment of relaxation altogether.

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go for the Rafiki Runs. It’s all about doing something good for yourself and supporting the kids in Rwanda. In this picture, on our way back to the brewery, my lifelong friend and our lifelong friends’ mothers enjoyed a rare moment of relaxation altogether.


ENCINITAS, CA - THE UK - and MORE

As was the case last year, Caroline Weber and Jo Booth brought together their awesome network of friends for another Rafiki Run near San Diego and the ocean. I might need to get to their’s one day because they always help us so much and seem to have so much fun with it too. I can’t thank that group of folks enough.

I cant say enough about the Encinitas gang. I only know a couple of them, but they are incredibly generous and humbling.

I cant say enough about the Encinitas gang. I only know a couple of them, but they are incredibly generous and humbling.

We also had our scattered supporters from all over the world, putting in an effort for the kids. Folks like my sister in San Francisco, or Lucy and her family in the UK sent photos to us to show their solidarity throughout the day.

Lucy and her family went for a jog from the UK. Lucy has been helping the kids in Rwanda longer than I have.

Lucy and her family went for a jog from the UK. Lucy has been helping the kids in Rwanda longer than I have.

THE RESULT

Putting together everyone’s efforts on October 6th, we raised just over $2,500! That is the most we have raised on a Rafiki Run day so far and I couldn’t be more grateful. Add to the great feeling of accomplishment, we may add the benefits of just being with good people for a good cause and sharing a lovely day. The $2,500 will go directly to the kids’ school fees for 2019 and will surely go a long way towards securing their bright futures.

I had the fortune of meet Luke for the first time. He has visited and helped support the kids in Rwanda as well. Luke is in the Coast Guard and came from Connecticut on Saturday morning to join us. It was awesome to finally meet him and strengthen our desire to work together to support the kids.

I had the fortune of meet Luke for the first time. He has visited and helped support the kids in Rwanda as well. Luke is in the Coast Guard and came from Connecticut on Saturday morning to join us. It was awesome to finally meet him and strengthen our desire to work together to support the kids.

UP NEXT

In the future for 2018, look forward to a few more events. I will continue my annual Run the 1 fundraiser in Big Sur, California on December 1st. I will run fifty miles from Ragged Point in Big Sur, to Los Osos, CA. Many of my friends, and family will join me that day as well and I can’t wait. It will be our 8th year! Stay tuned if you want to run, party, or support us.

A classic photo from Run the 1 in 2016

A classic photo from Run the 1 in 2016

We still have school fee needs and running costs needs always for our home and kids in Rwanda. Please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring one of our kids to insure his monthly needs. It is our most intimate and important way of making a difference in their lives. I will return to Rwanda in January to insure they return to school well, update our sponsors, implement other projects we raise money for, and to spend quality time with my favorite kids in the world.

Some of our kids in Rwanda before school one day. This is who I run for.

Some of our kids in Rwanda before school one day. This is who I run for.

Thank you again for everyone’s efforts on Saturday and throughout. These kids are worth it and will male a brighter future for themselves with our support. And one day, they will make Rwanda even brighter too if they haven’t already begun to do so.

Komera ( Be Strong),

Shaun Sullivan

Ubakasully@gmail.com

Cheers from Encinitas, CA

Cheers from Encinitas, CA









Rafiki Runs 2018

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SAVE THE DATE!!!

RAFIKI RUN 2018

OCTOBER 6th, 2018

Yes, in deed, we are gearing up for another day of Rafiki Runs and we couldn't be happier to come together for it. Rafiki Runs are one of our best fundraisers since it brings together the most people from all over.

On October 6th, runners and walkers will get out and do their best in honor of our kids of Ubaka U Rwanda. Folks will get together from all sides of the USA, London, and even our favorite kids will be running some of the local hills in Rwanda (The Land of a Thousand Hills).

Want more info on Rafiki Runs? Check out the Rafiki Run page on our website.

Our biggest Rafiki Run is put on by the Able Ebenezer Brewing Company and Heather Martin in Merrimack, NH

Our biggest Rafiki Run is put on by the Able Ebenezer Brewing Company and Heather Martin in Merrimack, NH

JOIN US

Or

HAVE YOUR OWN RAFIKI RUN

Would you like to join us? Currently, we have more formal runs planned to go down in these places....

  • Merrimack, NH - Able Ebenezer Brewing Company

  • San Diego, CA

  • London, UK

  • Kigali, Rwanda

However, if you are not able to make it to those locations, have no fear. The Rafiki Runs are all about joining in wherever you are in whatever capacity. Go for a jog or a walk by yourself or with friends and reach out to us so we can all share our collective efforts for some of the best kids in need.

Hanna Stevens, our first Rafiki Runner ever, is still going strong with us in Seattle, WA every year!

Hanna Stevens, our first Rafiki Runner ever, is still going strong with us in Seattle, WA every year!

Truly, that is the sweetest part of this event, is the feeling of solidarity around the world. Help us help our kids continue their educations and build their lives and Rwanda around them. Please reach out with any questions and join us from wherever you are on October 6th, 2018. Thank you for everything.

Komera,

Sully

Ubakasully@gmail.com

Some of our kids and Doug ( A volunteer) running

Some of our kids and Doug ( A volunteer) running

Rwanda Visit 2018

School group photo

School group photo

RWANDA 2018

Hey everyone! Sully here, and I just got back from Rwanda. I still can't believe it was my tenth trip back to that beautiful country and the kids. Sadly, it was my fastest trip ever at just over three weeks, but I am fortunate to say that we crammed in as much as we could with the time given. I won't waste your time any further. Allow me to share some stories from the trip.

Jack before he left for school

Jack before he left for school

SCHOOL COMES FIRST

We are incredibly grateful, once again, to share with you that all of our kids are back in their schools and doing great. We had some of our highest school fees ever this year but luckily our donors and supporters came through better than ever. Knowing their school fees were higher this year, the kids had concerns about their continuing education. I fielded their many concerns one evening and it was yet another reminder of how much they care about their futures and don't take them for granted. Thanks for helping us not let them down. It says something when Elisha noticed that only his first term had been paid for his boarding school (We usually pay for the whole year at once). He came to me to talk about it because he wasn't sure if there was a problem or not. I could see the worry in his eyes as we talked about it. In the end, there was no problem at all and he gave me a big hug when he realized that. But, it was interesting to say the least to see how much he was paying attention to his schooling.

Clever, David, and Alphonse

Clever, David, and Alphonse

VISITORS

We had the fortune of having a few visitors this year. Some were expected and some weren't. Sky and I have worked together a long time now and both currently work in Alaska together. Sky took the decision to join me this year and I am so happy he did. We all are. The kids loved him from the start. Sky kept his birthday a secret from the kids but we made sure to celebrate anyway with him. Sky got me back by doing a belated 30th birthday party for me with their help. He also took really great photos for us, helped build our new roof, helped with our school needs, helped build a small home for a local elderly woman,  and showed them that not all visitors (like me) suck at playing basketball. I told the kids this and I'll say it again; Sky may have just met the kids, but he knew them a long time ago. Sky and his amazing community of friends and family have helped our kids for so long now and so generously. Thank you to all of them.

Claude and myself throwing up bricks to Sky and Fiston. In this picture we were trying to throw more bricks than there were hands to catch them to see if they could manage anyways

Claude and myself throwing up bricks to Sky and Fiston. In this picture we were trying to throw more bricks than there were hands to catch them to see if they could manage anyways

Should you notice some finer quality photos in this blog, you can most likely trace them back to our friend Ben Yacobi from the UK. Sky and I had the fortune of climbing Mt. Nyiragongo in the Congo. Ben was with our group and we had a great time with him. It turns out he is a professional photographer. He agreed to come visit and take some great photos for us. The kids loved him as well. Since then he has begun to search out cameras that the kids can use to learn and work with in the future.

This is the only picture I could get of Ben. He is crouched down next to Sky. This is our group after our night on the volcano

This is the only picture I could get of Ben. He is crouched down next to Sky. This is our group after our night on the volcano

A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS

As some may know, we have our land and our home we have been trying to build for a few years now. It is a slow process as we manage to take care of our kids each year. However, we were able to build our roof this time on our future home. It was good timing too because the heavy rain in Rwanda had full access to the house. We needed the roof to protect the building we had accomplished so far. This building session was awesome because it occurred while the kids were still on holiday so they got to help too. Sky, me, and many of the kids got to mix cement, move dirt, and move bricks for a few full days, and it was awesome to share the experience together. When it was time for the metal sheets to arrive, we all lugged them off the delivery truck too. After that, the roof was finished in no time. We still have a long way to go to live in our future home, but we can rest easy now knowing it is protected from the elements.

The roof half way done

The roof half way done

The roof after completion

The roof after completion

ANIMAL VISITORS

Does anyone remember a little puppy we rescued last year? Well I contacted the family that took her in and they came and visited one day with the now named "Roxy." I was excited to see how she had grown and for the kids to see the fruit of their good deeds. Roxy was extremely sweet but a little overwhelmed by the number of people in the household. Joel was our boy who took the best care of Roxy and was the most sad when we had to give her away. It was sweet to reunite them for a minute.

Myself, Joel, Otto, and Roxy

Myself, Joel, Otto, and Roxy

Amurand and Roxy last year, post bath

Amurand and Roxy last year, post bath

One morning we woke up to find a cat outside. More importantly, she had given birth to two kittens that night. She also chose the birthing site to be a pile of charcoal! I am not the biggest fan of cats but this cat was extremely nice and by all accounts, extremely tough so I like her. Little Keza named her Daisy and it stuck. Since that morning, Daisy has moved inside the house with her kittens.

Daisy soaking up love from Francois and Lewis

Daisy soaking up love from Francois and Lewis

Not-yet-named kittens from Daisy

Not-yet-named kittens from Daisy

FULL CIRCLE STORIES

I think "Full Circle Stories" should become a theme. In recent years we have gotten to the point where we have new kids coming home and starting school and grown kids finishing school, getting jobs, and moving out on their own. In one day, I got to see Eric (11 years old) come back from his first day of school, and then go to a local shop where Gentil (22 years old) now works as he gets closer to getting a scholarship to attend a local university. One of our older boys, nicknamed Dodi, took an internship cooking at a restaurant. Upon his completion, they offered him full employment. He came home one morning before I left so he could teach me to make the best Capati I have ever tasted. These stories are becoming more and more each year and it is so awesome to witness.

Dodi, Claude, and Yves pumping out fresh capati

Dodi, Claude, and Yves pumping out fresh capati

GRATITUDE AND MORE PICTURES

I love to talk about the heart of everything, but the truth is, these efforts require fundraising and money. The other truth is that my last ten trips to Rwanda wouldn't be as special without everyone's support. Almost all of the stories I shared with you above would not have been possible without so many of you reading this. I hope we can all share a part of this. It is a massive joy for me to share with everyone, our combined successes. I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for us. Thank you for joining us. Enjoy more pictures and stories below, and never hesitate to contact me if you want more!

KOMERA (Be Strong)

Sully

A collective photo for all of our collective gratitude

A collective photo for all of our collective gratitude

Yves ultimately failing to score on me. I like this shot for the Run the 1 plug.

Yves ultimately failing to score on me. I like this shot for the Run the 1 plug.

Sky, taking in the view before the metal sheets arrived

Sky, taking in the view before the metal sheets arrived

Our kids using new computers donated to us by my sister Lindsay

Our kids using new computers donated to us by my sister Lindsay

Janvier helping Manzi out with a typing program

Janvier helping Manzi out with a typing program

Tabaro and his paintings

Tabaro and his paintings

Action shot for Claude while Fiston strikes a pose

Action shot for Claude while Fiston strikes a pose

Yves, Ishimwe, and Joel worked really hard this day. It was fun joining them and witnessing how they aren't so little anymore

Yves, Ishimwe, and Joel worked really hard this day. It was fun joining them and witnessing how they aren't so little anymore

Manzi and myself goofing around per usual

Manzi and myself goofing around per usual

Unloading the metal roofing sheets

Unloading the metal roofing sheets

Spreading out the metal roofing sheets on the lawn

Spreading out the metal roofing sheets on the lawn

Sky and the kids decided to give me a belated surprise birthday for my 30th which involved dousing me with water and throwing me in the air.

Sky and the kids decided to give me a belated surprise birthday for my 30th which involved dousing me with water and throwing me in the air.

The world's largest lava lake at the top of Mt. Nyiragongo in the Congo

The world's largest lava lake at the top of Mt. Nyiragongo in the Congo

An average day without running water

An average day without running water

Evode and I sandwiching his middle son, Caleb. Ubaka wouldn't exist without Evode dedicating his whole life to the kids

Evode and I sandwiching his middle son, Caleb. Ubaka wouldn't exist without Evode dedicating his whole life to the kids

Some celebratory Fanta after a job well done 

Some celebratory Fanta after a job well done 

Holidays and Trips!

Joel showing his excitement at Christmas

Joel showing his excitement at Christmas

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS

AT

UBAKA U RWANDA

First of all, Happy New Years to all! The kids at Ubaka U Rwanda had another lovely holiday. Everyone woke up to a new pair of shoes and lots of goodies. You would be amazed at how much a pair of shoes means to our kids and others less fortunate. We heard the older boys helped wrap the gifts late into the night just the way it should be, in my opinion. Everyone had a wonderful sit-down dinner together with meat, which is a rarity for most in Rwanda. We were told it was a simple but special day spent with everyone.

Ishimwe has grown so much!

Ishimwe has grown so much!

Muneza being cool

Muneza being cool

OFF TO RWANDA

As I write this, I listen to the glorious music of being on hold with Hotwire.com. I have had multiple flights cancelled, no doubt because of the incoming storm tomorrow. I am not sure how long it will take to get a flight but when I finally get on that plane, I will be thankful. I will be thankful that I will be on my way to visiting my family in Rwanda for the tenth time. I never would have imagined that in 2008 when I first visited, that I'd still be doing it a decade later. I blame Evode and all the kids for stealing my heart and I am happy for that.

Current roof building

Current roof building

Evode and older boys piling in to help with the build

Evode and older boys piling in to help with the build

GOALS

Some roof building has already begun as I write this. I told Evode to slow down, and make sure he saves some work for me! That is one goal I am looking forward to. I will have the pleasure of preparing all of the kids to head back to school again which is always inspiring and fun. We have our loyal sponsors and donors that I work hard to get quality and genuine updates for. I have accumulated three computers that have been donated for the kids. I can't wait to get them fired up and get learning. There are a lot of other little things too. One goal, I try to remind myself of though, is to remember to just "be" with everyone from the kids, to my friends, neighbors, strangers, and the culture. Sometimes, life gets stressful with the charity work, but the truth is, I love Rwanda in so many ways and I am so grateful to take it all in.

Want to sponsor one of our kids?

There is no better time! Check out our child sponsorship program on our website!

Christmas family dinner

Christmas family dinner

MORE TO COME

The next blog will most likely be when I get back from Rwanda in early February. That blog is my favorite because I get to reminisce about the trip and share it with folks. I will have more info about the hopeful success of the goals stated above and so much more. The best part though, is getting to show everyone the fruits of our labor. It always goes further than you would think. This maybe be ten years for me but some of you have been on this ride for a long time with me and I can't thank you enough. See you soon!

Sully

During the holidays craze, Little David was reunited with his Grandmother who was so happy to take him home. We couldn't be happier for him.

During the holidays craze, Little David was reunited with his Grandmother who was so happy to take him home. We couldn't be happier for him.

Sky Reeves made a last minute decision and will be joining me in Rwanda this year!

Sky Reeves made a last minute decision and will be joining me in Rwanda this year!

Run the 1 Results and Stories From 2017

The runners and supporters enjoying their first beverages after running at the Baywood Ale House

The runners and supporters enjoying their first beverages after running at the Baywood Ale House

7 YEARS STRONG

This was our 7th year of us running, walking, or biking along on Route 1. By all accounts, you would have thought we'd have slowed down by now. I 'd say were doing just fine. Anyone who knows me by now, knows that I have a bunch of thanking and feelings to express in this blog. Let me share with you the results in statistical fashion for those who don't have the time or patience to read over my humbled ramblings.

  • Runners - 27
  • Bikers - 9
  • Running Miles - 473
  • Biking Miles - 440
  • Miles (total) - 913
  • Money Raised from Run the 1 - 14k
  • Total Participants from Run the 1 and the Rafiki Runs - 211 (Estimated)
  • Total Miles from both events - 1488 miles (Estimated)
  • Average Miles per Participant - 7
  • Total Money raised from both events - $16,000 and counting!
  • Average amount of money raised per mile ran or biked - $10 (Rounded)
  • Good Times Had - Countless
Impromptu rendition of Sweet Home Alabama

Impromptu rendition of Sweet Home Alabama

THE PALMER COMMUNITY

Most folks who have followed our efforts, probably know that every year, Laura Palmer brings together a wonderful group of people in Menlo Park for a pre-celebration for Run the 1. Over last few years, the kids have been growing up and participating more and more. This year, some of the kids performed Uptown Funk and You've Got a Friend In Me. We all got together at the end and sang Sweet Home Alabama too.

Laura and her son, Noah.

Laura and her son, Noah.

We had a lot of new faces too. I was fortunate to have over 40 adults and kids listen as I explained the past, present, and future of our efforts. I was even more fortunate to have such a compassionate audience; an audience that had a lot of fantastic questions. Even the kids were asking thoughtful and intelligent queries. Each year gets better and more special. My only wish is that those kids could meet all of the great kids we take care of in Rwanda.

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RUN THE 1 - RAGGED POINT to THE ALE HOUSE in BAYWOOD - (50 miles)

If you are familiar with Run the 1, you may know our usual route. However, this year was different. Due to the fact that Big Sur is sadly still impassable,  there was only one day of running.  So Claire, Ben, and myself ran the entire 50 miles this year. I'm really slow so I started very early while Ben is very fast so he started later and caught up to me. Claire started when I did but finished a lot sooner because she is very fast too.

Holmes gave me some support as he made his way to the start later than me. Tradition states we kick things off with a Tecate every year. At this point, I was 10 miles in but I think the Run the 1 Gods forgave us. 

Holmes gave me some support as he made his way to the start later than me. Tradition states we kick things off with a Tecate every year. At this point, I was 10 miles in but I think the Run the 1 Gods forgave us. 

Here is a fuzzy photo of Claire just before the official start of the run. We aren't very good at taking photos.

Here is a fuzzy photo of Claire just before the official start of the run. We aren't very good at taking photos.

The other runners and bikers scattered themselves around all day as I was the caboose of the operation. Another difference from other years was the planning for supporting the runners which was less thorough than in years past. That, in itself, is a funny statement since we have never put too much thought into support in years' past either! However, something I have always loved about our event and the people who participate in it is how naturally everyone takes care of each other. I never went long before someone was checking up on me. And meanwhile people would be moving vehicles and checking up on others. Take a look at the impressive mileage of everyone this year.

RUNNERS

  1. Claire Mellein - 50 miles
  2. Ben Holmes - 50 miles
  3. Shaun Sullivan - 50 miles
  4. Brett Hildebrandt - 26 miles
  5. Devon Kelsey - 27 miles
  6. Katie - 25 miles
  7. Kona (Devon's dog) - 2 miles
  8. Victoria Torres - 5 miles
  9. Logan - 5 miles
  10. Michael Welker - 12 miles
  11. Jerry Green - 12 miles
  12. Jason Hall - 12 miles
  13. Kyle Nakazawa - 26 miles
  14. Ishmael Canas - 20 miles
  15. Gamm - 12 miles
  16. Jamie Sullivan - 5.5 miles
  17. Nicole Rogers - 5.5 miles
  18. Joshua Blacksmith and his infant daughter Sage in a stroller - 13 miles
  19. Taylor Castanon (Rafiki Run) - 8 miles
  20. Joey Rogers - 3 miles
  21. Courtney Carter - 3 miles
  22. Matt Madrigal - 10 miles
  23. Naomi Townsley - 10 miles 
  24. Kallen - 20 miles
  25. Cook - 16 miles
  26. Cooper Boneck - 12 miles
  27. Sam Kane - 20 miles

BIKERS

  1. Doc - 30 miles
  2. Goldstein - 30 miles
  3. Wiley - 75 miles
  4. Taylor - 75 miles
  5. Spencer Gordon - 100 miles
  6. Seth Larson - 15 miles
  7. Matthew Carter - 15 miles
  8. Heidi Esh - 50 miles
  9. Ben Agol - 50 miles

UNSUNG HEROES (PURE SUPPORT)

  1. Melissa Canas
  2. Cain Silvey
Katie, Kona, and Devon joined me for a bit on the south side of Cambria.

Katie, Kona, and Devon joined me for a bit on the south side of Cambria.

THE BAYWOOD ALE HOUSE


This year was the first time we ended the run at a social gathering rather than a vista point. While we lacked some of the natural beauty of a sunset over the ocean, we gained hospitality, comfort, and community. The Ale House was stoked to have us and we were stoked to have a welcoming place to wind down after the day. The drinks are quality, the food is delicious and the folks there are genuine. For those who have followed us before and remember our nights in Fernwood in Big Sur; this felt like our new version of our Fernwood celebrations.

My cousin Jamie and her rad crew from San Diego made it that day too

My cousin Jamie and her rad crew from San Diego made it that day too

THE AFTER PARTY - KREUZBERG - SAN LUIS OBISPO

The party was once again hosted by Kreuzberg cafe in downtown San Luis Obispo. We had a solid line up of music for the night. The biggest thing worth mentioning is that many of the members of The Glorified Gardeners had been in Mexico for a wedding all week. However, they made it a point to be back in time for the show. I was floored by their dedication.

I worked the door during the opener, greeting everyone and taking donations. It was a really nice experience. Our opener was a 15 year old girl named Izzy who was accompanied by her uncle, and half the members of the Glorified Gardeners. With little live experience with a band, you wouldn't have known because Izzy owned it. It was great to see her reaction to it all along with the reaction of her whole family in attendance. Samba Loca came bounding in soon after. We always appreciate them each year. They bring the party to another level. I was laughing watching  random people who had been in the cafe before the party started trying to study, giving up, and joining the party. The Glorified Gardeners, including me, finished off the night. I'm not exaggerating when I say it is one of my favorite moments of the year. I'd like to think people were not disappointed. I can say with certainty, I sure wasn't. And I was more grateful than ever for the gang coming back in time to join me. The party helped celebrate a great event, yet again, and brought in a lot of support for the cause. I couldn't have asked for more.

Laura Palmer couldn't resist and she drove down with her son Noah to spend the night wish us. It had been a few years since she had seen the rest of the gang.

Laura Palmer couldn't resist and she drove down with her son Noah to spend the night wish us. It had been a few years since she had seen the rest of the gang.

AFTER THOUGHTS

I said it last year and I will say it again; I am so grateful that the event has occurred once again. I am now two years removed from the Central Coast of California, and I see others come and go too. And yet, I saw so many familiar faces and I even saw newer ones too. I was humbled to see newer members of the Arroyo Grande Hotshots, new smokejumpers, and folks from other fire modules I had never met before. And it is impossible to forget how many people came together for the Rafiki Runs as well just two weeks prior. Most theories would show us slowing down, yet we had our biggest community coming together ever over the past few weeks, and we raised a substantial amount of support for the kids in Rwanda too.

Every year, I have tried to list all of the amazing things that these events have brought to the kids in Rwanda, myself, and hopefully you too reading this. It is like a revolving door of awesomeness for so many in my opinion. And there were more than a few donations this year that were extremely personal too. All of these things are what allow me to run 50 miles. I don't enjoy running more than 5 miles and I rarely run much more than that at a time. I run 50 miles because I feel I need to earn such generosity in some way. I am able to accomplish the feat because I am constantly reminded and strengthened by the community this event has created, how lucky I feel for being a part of it, and all the ways it reminds me of the best parts of living and being alive.

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SO WHAT'S NEXT?

That is a great question. First, before I answer, I must thank everyone else that may not be named in this blog post that has made Run the 1 a reality. You know who you are. The next thing I must do is gather together with the rest of our amazing volunteers to determine our game plan for my trip to Rwanda in January. This will be my tenth trip returning to Rwanda and I am just as excited as ever to get back to the kids and get to work. Look out for a blog post in the new year that will outline my goals for the trip which essentially are now all of our goals. Also lookout for more photos from the run that still haven't drifted towards me yet, along with updated total mileage added in combining all the years of our efforts. I love to look back at those numbers to remind myself of the big picture of all we have done over seven years now but at the end of the day, one can look at any of the kids in any of our pictures and be assured that they helped secure their life and future for another year. And that's what its all about. The kids.

Endless gratitude as always, talk to you soon, happy holidays,

Sully

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