Mission and Vision

Amman Imman's is dedicated to empowering and preserving Africa's most vulnerable indigenous peoples and engaging school children worldwide as socially conscious leaders.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What the Marathon Means for Amman Imman

As the August 7th deadline for registering our 2013 Marine Corps Marathon team fast approaches, we have been able to reflect on what the marathon means to Amman Imman.

Running for water – and the marathon in particular – is a significant event for Amman Imman. Although we have worked in Niger’s Azawak Valley for more than seven years, bringing sustainable water sources to thousands of families, not a day passes during the Azawak’s prolonged dry season (now more than nine months long) without children forsaking school, play and their health to make marathon journeys for water. They travel atop dehydrated donkeys with jerry cans strapped to their sides and they walk on their calloused feet across the hot sand. Many of them are too young to remember the days, more than 10, 20 years ago, when their homeland was the greenest, most fertile pasture in West Africa. When rain fell as it should and generously filled marshes from which they drank. But their parents do.

They tell their children of how they used to travel marathons, not out of desperation, but out of custom. As nomads, they moved from one lush grazing pasture to the next, keeping their animals and themselves healthy and ensuring their livelihoods. Their children can hardly believe it now. Since their land began to dry up almost a decade ago, these same nomads have built camps that have been transformed into villages, many around Amman Imman’s five luminous water towers: beaming oases in a desert of sand and thorns.

Times have changed. Adults in the Azawak now travel marathons, not on their feet, but with their hands. In the places untouched by Amman Imman’s assistance, they dig deep into the earth in an attempt to find water. Only unlike past marathons, these journeys are often made in vain. The water table is too deep. Before they reach their cherished Amman, many become covered in dirt, killed by their search for water and for life. As a Charity Partner of the Marine Corps Marathon, we are two days away from our deadline for registering our running team. We encourage you and your friends to consider running in solidarity for those journeying across the Azawak Valley and supporting our efforts to bring water and other development assistance to our friends in the Azawak. For without water, without solidarity for their struggle, there is no hope.

We hope you’ll consider registering for our Marine Corps Marathon team and joining our growing team of runners, or sharing this blog post among your social networking communities, running friends and fitness groups.

Please contact me at laurel@ammanimman.org if you are interested in joining our marathon team or sign up here.

Laurel Lundstrom
2013 Marine Corps Marathon Team Coordinator
Amman Imman
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