Dear Djibouti Jones Reader,

I’m going to ask you for something. I try not to ask for a lot or to ask very often. I will, eventually, ask you to buy, read, and help promote my upcoming book, but that won’t be for quite a while.

This time, on #givingtuesday and beyond, I want to ask you to help me participate in a race and to help me fund a University degree for a student in Somaliland. Click here to go straight to the Go Fund Me campaign.

What’s the race?

It is a marathon. 26.2 miles. 42 kilometers.

Where?

Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Am I sure women are allowed and welcome?

Yup. This is the first ever full marathon in Somaliland and the directors are explicitly encouraging females to run.

Will there be many?

I have no idea. There is also a 10k, so I assume there will be women in that race, too. But a few or many, no problem. I’m used to running alone. I’m used to being the only female I see running and I’m even used to coming in absolute last place. Though all newbie runners fear being last, I am the only person I know who has quite literally finished last (still got a huge trophy. Third woman. Out of three.)

Will it be safe?

I have asked the director several questions about security. Living is inherently unsafe. You can read what I think about safety here and here and here. (Christianity Today, Brain Child, and Babble)

Why do it?

I really want the t-shirt.

Also? What are some of the things I love most? Living in the Horn of Africa. Check. Running. Check. Education development. Check.

Education what?

The race doubles as a fundraiser. Each international participant is challenged to raise enough money to fund a full scholarship for an entire 4-year degree program for a Somaliland university student.

The race fee includes security, translation, housing, a trip to see a few historical sites in Somaliland, and special visit with the Somali runners participating. So my total cost is this fee, plus my flight and visa, plus what I hope to contribute to the scholarship program.

This is what my husband and I do – education and running (and so much more!) in the Horn. Plus, I hope to write about this experience, including the horrible, miserable training I’ve already been enduring in Djibouti. I always said it was too hot to train for a marathon in Djibouti. Well…a marathon in Somaliland is what it took to inspire me, I guess.

I’ve completed two marathons, 5 and 6 years ago. I have absolutely no time goal for this one because it will be warm. My training has been really, really hard. The conditions will be uniquely challenging. I will be fully covered, which will increase the heat factor and the rash factor. But I know I can do it. It won’t be pretty and it won’t be impressive, but I can accomplish this goal.

Will you help me? If each person who reads Djibouti Jones gave even $1.00, I’d beat my goal: $3,500. (Anything donated over that goal will also go toward funding education in the Horn.)

I opened a Go Fund Me campaign. Here’s what I’ll do for those who donate.

$10.00 donation: I will write your name on my clothes or skin so you can run the race with me

$20.00 donation: I’ll do the above, plus you’ll receive a free copy of the Djiboutilicious e-Cookbook

$30.00 or more: all that, plus I’ll send you a Girls Run 2 button, made by my sister, in honor of the girls running team I helped launch here in Djibouti (while supplies last).

If you’ve enjoyed Djibouti Jones over the years, been encouraged or helped by even a few of my posts and essays, would you consider saying ‘thank you’ by donating to this race and university scholarship?

Thank YOU for reading along!

Wishing you many happy miles,

Rachel

Click here to go straight to the Go Fund Me campaign.