Tim Krohn, Cloquet runner and Pine Valley Run organizer, explains:
I have been interested in Africa since my Peace Corps days 40 years ago. After the kids left home, and with nothing to do after work, I needed more activity. So I joined a running group and set a goal to run a marathon on all seven continents. A friend asked me at Christmas to donate to the Blue House. I gave and thought that was the end of it. But the next year my daughter and I made a trip to Uganda where she had an internship. We made a point to visit the Blue House.
I've been to this orphanage twice. It’s in Kazo, a village deep in the country. The first time, it had no electricity, no maintained roads (except maybe the main one), no piped water, no Kentucky Blue Grass lawns, no motels, no restaurants, and no grocery stores. But everybody had a cell phone. We stopped at two nondescript mud and stick buildings, the “Blue House.” Boy was I unimpressed.
Carrying millet to be milled
But my daughter, a medical student, quickly made friends with the girls who lived there. As the doctor-to-be, she determined that the girls were healthy and happy. We were given a tour of the site where a new Blue House would be built the following year.
My 2nd visit was two years later, on my way home from the Big Five Marathon in South Africa. The new Blue House was a sight to behold. It could accommodate 40 girls, up to 4 to a room. The floors were level. The meals were nourishing. A generator supplied electricity in the main room so the girls could study after dark. The buildings were kept clean and neat. The garden provided a good supplement to the purchased bulk rice. The girls were happy and helped out with chores.
By comparison, we visited the home of an orphan hoping to get into the Blue House. She lived with an aunt in a one-room hut no more than 10 feet in diameter. The roof leaked. An outhouse was in poor repair. Cooking was done on an open fire outside; if it rained you got wet. Clean water was a long walk away and stored in jugs.
A tomato and onion, grown on their land.
The girls were thrilled to receive books from the US.
The Blue House has been caring for vulnerable girls for more than ten years. They have safe housing, nutritious food, clothing, health care, mentoring, support for education and HOPE.
The girls are dong very well, in fact they’re thriving and growing.
The Blue House is now so much more than an orphanage. Some girls live with relatives and receive an education that had not been an option before. Our young women are in vocational school or university. Our girls, and women from the community, are learning skills at the Blue House sewing school.
By organizing the Pine Valley - Blue House Labor Day Run, I am able to combine my interest in Africa and running.
When you run this race, you are helping support some wonderful girls and young women in Uganda.
Registration now open Race date: September 4, 2017
Pay by check, PayPal, or credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discovery, or American Express). Register today!