If you don’t have time to read the whole post, here’s the gist: if every subscriber gives $10, we can provide 80 years of university education for Somali students. Here’s the link to the Go Fund Me campaign.

Last week on my 17-miler, I ran past five Djiboutian women. They squatted on the side of the road, stunning in their bright magenta, yellow, orange, and blue scarves. One caught my eye and waved. Then she said, in Somali, “Can I run with you?” From the raucous laughter that broke the quiet morning after my response, I know she never expected me to say, “Haa, kaaley!”

I thought about those women for the next mile, wondering about their life, their children, their husbands, their homes. I wondered if they enjoyed sports, if they had played football when they were children, if they loved the way the wind felt in their faces or the way their toes pushed off dirt when they ran. I wondered about their access to education or to health care. I was eight miles away from the city, running toward the Somali border. Houses out here are built from scavenged scraps. They are far from clean water, internet, and consistent electricity.

I was running with an iPhone, a TomTom watch, an Osprey backpack, in Brooks shoes. I carried GU and homemade cocoa date balls. I had more money represented on my body than these women probably saw over the course of several months. And it was mostly in the form of gear for a sport, a hobby, a leisure activity – running gear.

I’ve noticed this before, when I run here. When I high-five a barefoot child or when an elderly woman who is bent over beneath a weight of firewood gives me a thumbs up. It is never an easy feeling, to see in such clear, physical evidence the reality of my relative wealth. I am rich in money but also in health and in time.

This is one of the reasons I am thankful for this opportunity in Somaliland. To run the first marathon ever there, in the country that first welcomed me to Africa, will be an incredible experience. But to couple that running with a fundraiser focused on giving back is even more incredible. Especially when that giving is in the sphere of education – the very thing we came to Africa to focus on.

A four-year degree in Somaliland costs $1,500. That barely covers books at an American university (as I am learning, with twins about to enter college)!

Imagine: if everyone who follows Djibouti Jones on Facebook or Twitter, or who receives my monthly newsletter, gave just $1, we would sent at minimum 2 students to college. That’s 8 years of university education. That’s a changed life, not just for the student but for their family and possibly their entire community.

Now, imagine: If everyone gave $10. Just $10, two cups of coffee! We could send at minimum 20 students to university. That’s a cumulative total of 80 years of university education that you can be part of providing.

So, yeah, I’m asking again. I’m saying imagine the impact a few dollars can have on changing the world, one student at a time, one step at a time. I will get to meet the students actually impacted by this fundraiser when I’m in the country for the race. Real young people, with real dreams and goals, real stories, real futures, that we can be part of.

Here’s the link to the Go Fund Me campaign.

You can get a free Djiboutilicious cookbook, a Girls Run 2 button, or your name written on my shirt or body during the race (for those who can’t run it yourselves, you can run it on me!) There are only about 20 buttons left. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

P.S. Another way you can help is that I’m trying to get Brooks Running and Veil Garments interested in supporting this venture as well. I’ll be wearing a pair of Brooks pants and shoes and a Veil shirt and a Veil scarf, more about these clothes including photos, coming soon. Tweet, share, link, pester these companies about how awesome it would be to have their brand advertised and to be a sponsor for this race and education fundraiser!

Click to Tweet: Support girls’ sports and education in Somaliland! Sponsor @rachelpiehjones. @brooksrunning @veilhijab https://ctt.ec/f8k0v+

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