I've been stalled in my fitness and weight-loss efforts for a long time. I've been wrapped up in projects. The past 12 months, preparing for a church mission trip to South Sudan. I promised my husband, once I get back from Africa I'm taking a year off of "projects" and focusing myself.
Little did I know, Africa would be just the kick-start I needed.
This mission trip required our team to fly into the beautiful city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (one of my favorite places in the world). Addis is at about 8,700 feet altitude, so we took a few days to adjust to altitude and time zones, and then bought our equipment, and flew to Gambella, Ethiopia, where we overland (by 4x4) traveled to Malwal, South Sudan.
Malwal was the first town seized by the SPLA in 1985 when the 2nd Sudanese Civil War began. And there's not much left there now--30-40 mud huts and maybe 500-700 people and a little tumbledown mud church.
We were there to provide some humanitarian relief, and supplies to people returning from the refugee camps in Ethiopia. We provided medicine, clothing, small tools, corn mills and had a program to build water filtration systems (unfortunately, the water part of the program didn't work due to insufficient raw materials in the community).
The week we spent in Malwal, in temps exceeding 120 F during the day, melted the weight off of me. Between the heat, diet and general hard living, I was tying my clothes on myself by the end of the week--and ended up leaving most of them in the village (where they will likely serve as maternity clothes).
(Me providing some medical care to a very sick baby about four weeks ago in Africa).
The next three weeks I spent back in Addis Ababa. Hiking, touring, and visiting friends. I ate well, walked a lot and enjoyed the new-found strength that the combination of weight loss and altitude provides. (There's a marvelous altitude-weight-loss connection, I've long suspected it having had similar results in Addis Ababa before: Wired Magazine on weight loss at altitudes www.wired.com/wiredscien
Now I've been home a week, and have continued to loose weight. I've also continued to exercise. Walking ---even running-- and getting a personal best time on a 2-mile run--my best time since college, ten years ago.
I'm stronger, and faster, and focused. I'll regain my health so I am strong enough to do trips like this again.
I'm 20 pounds and 2 sizes smaller now, re-energized, and re-focused!