Running and Biking Across America for Africa

Running & Biking 2487.8 Miles Across the USA
Raising Money for Clean Water for Africa

"Our mission is to help these children and their families regain their independence by first providing the absolute essentials, beginning with the most basic, water. Over the next two years, Provisions of Life’s goal is to provide 50 wells and ensure sanitation. The cost per well is $12,000."
--Bruce Trowbridge, Provisions for

[Click on images to enlarge.]

What do you do if you're a senior in college with one semester left? If you're Bruce Trowbridge, of St. Bonaventure University, you bike and run across the USA trying to raise enough money to drill water wells in Africa (Mali, to be exact).

Trowbridge, 22, has been biking--50 miles/day--and running--20-30 miles/day--from the Pacific to the Atlantic to raise awareness and money for the project.

It's not like he won't have anything to write about what he did during summer vacation.

You can read the story, see the route and/or donate to the cause at Our Journey Across the Nation and Provisions of Life.

DBKP took a few moments last week to talk to Bruce and his trusty companion, driver and website updater, Timothy Haley.

Mondoreb: What caused you to start a 2487.8 miles journey from Eugene OR to Ocean City, NJ? Were you bored?

Bruce Trowbridge: (laughing) No. This is where I needed to be. I felt I could make a difference by doing this. We take clean water for granted in this country, but in many parts of Africa, clean drinking water is a luxury.

Mondo: Tell me a bit about your travels.

BT: We started on June 1 in Oregon and we're scheduled to end up July 26 at Ocean City, NJ. We're trying to raise the money to drill water wells in Africa. Each well costs approximately $12,000 to drill. Our goal is to drill 50 of these wells.

Mondo: What prepared you for this? Anything?

BT: Well, I was majoring in languages and philosophy. Now, I guess my major is philanthropy.

Do you have any impressions about the states you've already traveled through?

BT: Hmmm. In Nebraska, the people were incredibly nice. While I was running, you can't believe the number of people who slowed down and asked "Are you OK? Do you need help?" One hour, probably 35 people wanted to know if we needed help.

Iowa--mainly rural Iowa was where we were--the people were just as nice and very down-to-earth. Ohio, it was very metro, fast-paced where we came through the state.

Mondo: How about the terrain?

BT: In Oregon, the terrain was the most unforgiving. Indiana, it was nice and flat and the weather was perfect. We got caught in a dust storm in Nebraska and a near-tornado--green skies and all--in eastern Wyoming.

Mondo: What was your most interesting story on your trip?

BT: I'm not sure about interesting, but I did have a terrifying moment.

Mondo: Terrifying? Terrifying is good--to read about, that is.

BT: Well, we were in the desert in Idaho and I was running at night because it was so hot during the day. Tim had stayed behind to update the website and was going to catch up after he was done. I was running when I heard noises...first off to the side and behind me...then all around was a pack of coyotes.

Mondo: What did you do?

BT: Well, I think I could have set the Olympic record in the mile about then, but luckily I didn't have to--Tim showed up a few moments later and I can tell you: I was sure glad to get out of there!

Mondo: Anything else?

BT (Tim helped out here): We were near the Nebraska-Kansas border and camped at a KOA and a band of gypsies showed up, followed closely by the State Police and the local sheriff. The gypsies skipped out and we had to stick around to answer some questions.

Mondo: Did the authorities think you two were gypsies?

BT: Oh no. They were nice. In fact, the sheriff took us out to his barn--which had been flattened in a tornado three weeks earlier--and we dug out a brand new cargo unit (now on top of their car) and gave it to us. Ours was pretty beat-up. That was great.

After a little more chit chat, it was time for the intrepid road warriors to be on their way. I was left with the pix in this story, a "Journey Across the Nation" wristband and the assurance from Bruce and Tim that "no donation is too small. If you can't give any money, saying a prayer is great, too."

Then they were off, bound for points Pennsylvanian and onward to New Jersey.

But not before one last interesting bit of info. Bruce mentioned that at age 17, the Zippo Company had sponsored him when he ran across Australia.

And some people complain they have nothing to do.

by Mondoreb

[If any readers would be interested in donating to this obviously worthy cause--or just want more information--check out Our Journey Across the Nation and Provisions of Life. Instead of that beer, help a couple college kids drill a well in Africa.]
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