Mountain View Voice

News - March 20, 2009

Run, learn and help Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Run returns for its 10th year of philanthropic fundraising

by Andrea Nott

It's been a fruitful decade for Ellen Clark's Sustainable Living Foundation, which puts on the now-famous Zimbabwe Run. But Clark hopes that this year will be a banner one.

As always, the Zimbabwe Run and Fair — a Mountain View event begun 10 years ago to raise money for orphans in Zimbabwe, where hunger, runaway inflation and a cholera epidemic are taking their toll on the people — takes place at St. Joseph School, where Clark once taught P.E. The upcoming event is Sunday, April 5.

Clark, the Run's founder and tireless booster, has been dedicated to making a positive change in the African country since visiting in 1997. Her son had volunteered there to improve its education system, and on a trip to visit him and learn more about the country, her ambition to help the children of Zimbabwe was born.

"We went into the villages and the rural areas and saw the poverty," she said. But what made the biggest impression on her were the Zimbabweans themselves: "We fell in love with the people."

She began with just the Zimbabwe Run, but eventually expanded it to Zimbabwe Run and Fair. The "Fair" is designed to educate people, especially children, about Africa and to shine a light on the positive aspects of the culture in a time when most of the news we hear from there is so tragic.

With African animal mascots cheering all along the way, participants run one of 12 different mini-races at St. Joseph. There will be a 100-yard race for disabled children called the Lion Hearted Run, a 220-yard run for preschool-aged children, a half-mile run for kindergarteners, and a series of mile-long races for everyone else from first graders to adults.

After the races the fun really starts. Children will present their African art that they have entered (and still can enter) into the Cultural Exhibition. One St. Joseph student, Annel Garcia, will be performing the African National Anthem a cappella. And with games like Name That African Animal Sound and Carry It on Your Head, children are "invited into philanthropy on their own level," says Clark.

After all the running and balancing baskets on their heads has worked up an appetite, participants will head over to the booth offering sadza, or corn meal mush, and snack on the staple food of Zimbabwe. They might also listen to Sadza, the Zimbabwean band, and hear why the people of Zimbabwe also consider music a staple.

Clark says all money from entry fees, donations and T-shirt sales goes directly to Makumbi Children's Home, where 110 orphans are educated and fed by the home's gardens and livestock.

Meanwhile, Nick MacFalls, a fellow philanthropist from the organization From Our Feet, and Saint Francis High School student Courtney Albini, will be running a shoe drive for the children of Africa in keeping with SLF's mission. In Zimbabwe, children are not allowed to go to school if they don't have shoes, so participants who bring a pair of "gently used" shoes can make a difference.


What: 10th Annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Fair

When: Sunday, April 5 beginning at 1 p.m.

Where: St. Joseph School, 1120 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View

Cost: $5 entry fee; T-shirts are $10

Info: To learn more, sign up, volunteer or enter the Cultural Exhibit, visit or call (650) 941-9206

E-mail Andrea Nott at


Posted by Run for America?, a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 21, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Africa has had wars, slavery, poverty, and violence for millenniums. (Africa had wars, slavery, poverty, and violence before the Europeans arrived and they still have wars, slavery, poverty, and violence today.) No amount of money will stop the wars, slavery, poverty, and violence until the Africans love their children more than they love war.

Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of Africa until Mugabe came to power. He encouraged the people of Zimbabwe to beat-up, kick out, or kill the white farmers. Zimbabwe has caused its own demise.

Africa has tons of natural resources and so does Latin America. The world has poured trillions into Africa, Mexico, and Latin America, but the continents/countries are still violent, corrupt, uneducated, poor, etc. In <i>Three Cups of Tea,</i> Greg Mortenson built schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan from the donations given by Americans. Currently, schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan are being blown up or burned down. It would have been better for people to donate money for college scholarships in the US, than to throw money away on schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Our house is burning down and we are sending our water and firefighters overseas. Does anyone hear our cries? Does anyone feel our pain? Does anyone care about the United States anymore?

We would be appalled if a mother allowed her children to starve while the mother fed homeless people in the park, yet that is what is happening in the US. Too many groups/charities/religious organizations are sending money and resources overseas meanwhile:

47 million Americans do not have health insurance
30+ million Americans go hungry every day
The US has a $10+ trillion dollar debt (more than the combined debt of all of the countries in the world)
Millions of Americans are homeless
20+ million Americans are unemployed
Our educational system needs immediate help
Our health care system is collapsing
Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt
Our inner cities are war zones
Our roads and bridges need fixing
We are in the midst of an economic meltdown and our banks/businesses are on the ropes
And the list goes on…

Taxpayers can no longer shoulder the burden of more taxes and our government can no longer afford to lose billions of tax dollars from charitable donations that are going overseas. 

We have so many needs in America that it is almost criminal to neglect America's needs while helping other countries. We do not have the money or resources to fix the rest of the world. We do not even have enough money and/or resources to take care of America.

Posted by Randall Flagg, a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 22, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Fix America first.

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