Four men. Zero jobs. One goal. Well, one goal with two parts.

Beginning in March 2011, our hardy band will be marching overland from Georgia to Maine along the Appalachian Trail. For each mile of treacherous, orc-infested wild we traverse (and there are many) we are asking YOU, dear reader, to pledge a critical donation to the Mufindi Highlands Orphans Project.

What is the Mufindi Highlands Orphans Project? In formal terms, the Project is a humanitarian effort to provide relief to thousands of children in central Tanzania whose parents have perished in the region's ongoing AIDS epidemic. In more basic terms, the Project describes a school, six dormitories and an AIDS testing clinic for the people of Mufindi -- all critical pieces of infrastructure that did not exist five years ago.

The next step in a better way of life for the good people of the Mufindi region is a full service hospital. Work has begun on this project (Mdabulo General Hospital) already, but more help is needed.

Donation information is plentifully supplied throughout the site (albeit tastefully, we hope). Moreso than in any other part of the world, every little bit in Mufindi helps. Please check back, spread the word, tell your friends. Top donors will be brought back a pet bear.

Thanks,

Mike "Hollywood" Healy - Harpooner Erik "Boots" Christensen - Navigationist Christopher "Danger" Mendrala - Sergeant at Arms James "Gower" Gower - Quartermaster Katherine "Kate" Gales - Information Officer

By: TwitterButtons.com
By TwitterButtons.com

 

Sensational dispatches from our man on the ground, Geoff Knight!  Obviously, progress on Mdabulo General has been nothing short of fantastic, and we hope you’ll take the few minutes here to keep yourself abreast of this wonderful project.  One nit: Mr .Knight claims that “four friends hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in the US to make money for the project,” more rightly put, it would be three friends, plus one fellow who cooked all their food (though by the end we did feel some rough sense of camraderie with the chap).

Great stuff, check it out.

_________________________

The pictures below we’re taken earlier today.

Construction of the L-shaped “functioning” part of the Hospital is continuing perfectly! All Mason work is done and carpenters are on site even today making window shutters and doors. Soon enough we’ll be able to start to move the medical resources we have in storage to the new facility! Once this is complete, the hospital will be ready for an array of new procedures such as x-ray, ultrasound, major and minor surgery, dental procedures, medical consultancies, and other procedures.

This extension of the facility will literally save lives as the closest hospital is a 4-8 hour bus ride away, at a cost that many in our area cannot afford. Funding for this project has come from our friends in the UK, the US, Canada, and Hong Kong! The Hodges’ donation from the UK got things started, then 4 friends decided to hike the entire Appalachian trail in the US to raise money for the project. Money from Kowhoon Rotary in Hong Kong spurred on by hard work from Maureen Boost; and a fundraiser held by Gord Bredyk and Evelyn Voigt in Ottawa, Canada also helped get this project done. All will be updated periodically this year as the project gets completed.

It is such an exciting thing to be a part of something to which so many people from around the world are connected. Our family is growing, and on behalf of the people of Mufindi we thank all that have been a part of this journey!

That should be a wrap.  Thanks a million, everyone, it’s been a gas.

This is going to be the functioning part of the Hospital. Roofing was put in place in March, and Hospital Hike money will go towards plastering the inside of this entire wing. There will be an x-Ray room, two surgical theatres, an optometry lab, dental room, and other rooms that will be utilized by the various specialists we may have volunteering at the Hospital.

This is going to be the functioning part of the Hospital. Roofing was put in place in March, and Hospital Hike money will go towards plastering the inside of this entire wing. There will be an x-Ray room, two surgical theatres, an optometry lab, dental room, and other rooms that will be utilized by the various specialists we may have volunteering at the Hospital.

Epiblogue

(an ongoing series)

How does one’s body respond to five months of exclusionary, single-minded focus on the development, growth and sustenance of strength in one’s legs, coming of course at the Jan Brady-like glancing neglect of all musculature north of the torso?

I’ll tell you.  Two days ago, I went to the gym and lifted arms for the first time since snow covered the ground.  Today, Official Hospital Hike Girlfriend Jenn H. has spent an unhealthy amount of time laughing uncontrollably at me because I’m walking around looking like Mr. Burns.  Involuntarily.

From the Vault: Navigationist Log March 6, 2011 (Day 5)

Day 3 was brutal. After not properly tending to blisters from the day before my feet threatened mutiny. The climb and especially the descent of Blood Mountain were brutal. Mercifully the others agreed to stay at the hostel at Neels Gap. A clean set of clothes, a shower, and lounging around for a few hours had me feeling a new man. Properly tended feet had me on a roll day 4, as we were the first up and out. We made twelve miles in good time despite the rain, only to find people already done for the day at the shelter just after noon. We wrung out our socks, crammed some granola, and marched onward. Another shelter was but seven miles away, though it turned into a grueling distance. We limped in around 6 pm, just before dark with an impressive but punishing 18.6 mlie day. The night was frigid, and wet in the vestibule of the Blue Mountain shelter (the shelter itself was too full for all but Danger to enter), ingredients for a sleepless night for even the most seasoned navigationist. Harpooner Healy and Quartermaster Gower fared little better tenting just outside, passing the night trying to keep their shelter from blowing off the side (or back or front) of the mountain. For all the difficulties we faced that night, the morning was worse. Cold, wet and tired we were faced with the reality of continuing in the rain and cold with wet clothes. Even an emergency ration of hot beverage did little to lift morale. Packing took far longer than normal with the onset of cold induced “stupid thumbs” but we left Blue Mountian by mid morning (and hopefully never to return again in the Navigationists’ opinion) with better days ahead (we hoped). Soon after the weather cleared and it turned into a soggy and chilly but sunny day. We did 13.5 miles to our current camp, Addis Gap. Quartermaster Gower and I set up our tent but a stones throw (yes, even thrown by me) from a rushing stream. The night is cold, well below freezing but we’re full of food, dry(ish) and all seemingly happy. Tomorrow we reach the fair town of Hiawassee, Georgia where we will clean up, dry off, and start afresh. With the struggle the expedition has endured the  last two days my confidence grows ever stronger we will one day reach the mystical land of Maine.

The infamous front page from the Mufindi Hospital Hike/Bin Laden/Pancake story has been found!

The infamous front page from the Mufindi Hospital Hike/Bin Laden/Pancake story has been found!

Lunchtime chef JimJames Gower takes you behind the scenes to see how the Mufindi Hospital Hike was fueled through their midday miles.

MASTERPIECE THEATRE - 127 Minutes

The most difficult point of the expedition.  The action starts at about 6:27 in.  This video is not for the faint of heart.  It is, however, for those who hate NAvigationist (Himself) and wants to see him in a grave amount of pain.