I had a fabulous birthday weekend showered with gifts, well-wishes, and great news.
To start off the festivities, I was showered with blessings (literally) while I camped out. I pitched tent at Fort Cobb State Park in Oklahoma. The area hadn’t had a measurable rain since September 11th where they received only 1/100th of an inch. My neighbors knowing the rains were coming early morning gave me extra blankets and brisket with tortillas. It was DELICIOUS. The day before it was 85 and sunny and I tool my shirt off for 1 hour. I didnt get burnt, but had an extremely irritated back that itched like crazy. Turns out it is called hell’s itch. Look it up.
The rains started at 2AM and didn’t stop until 11! I felt extremely blessed witnessing the joy in the locals’ faces when the rains started and saturated the farmland. I thought if I became annoyed or upset, I’d be selfish only thinking about me and my trip rather than the farmers of Oklahoma who needed this rainfall.
Turns out my rain jacket and weatherproof pants fell off the back of my bike three days before this rain. I planned to buy new rain gear the next stop in Oklahoma City, but Mother Nature brought rains early, I guess to test my ability to still maintain my “happy go lucky, go with the flow” attitude. I packed my bike with all 80 pounds and went to the local store. The hosts were wonderful. Allowing me to dry my clothes on the space heater, giving me breakfast, and offering me a place to stay. I said I need to take the good with the bad. Luckily, I packed a couple extra heavy duty trash bags so I was able to make a makeshift rain suit. Now ready with my new rain gear on- I headed out. Special thanks to the place with the coldest beer in Fort Cobb, Stevie Rays, for taking me in as their own! To my blessing- the rains stopped at 11:00 and I had a clear chilly ride with a tailwind the rest of the day to Norman, Oklahoma.
My hosts in Norman were Kwame and Natalie. We met in Cameroon while Natalie was working on her PhD research. They stayed with me in Cameroon, for a couple of weeks, while looking for a place to rent. It was wonderful to see them again after 3 years and they were very gracious. We bought tickets to the OKC- Utah game 5. Before this game started, sadly, I watched the Pacers lose on a buzzer beater by Lebron, so it put a damper on my mood. However, the atmosphere in the gym was unbelievable and the comeback led by Westbrook’s 20 third quarter points was a site to see and a roar to hear! I stayed a few days to rest and enjoy my birthday. Two days of grilling out and listening to music in sunny 80 degree weather was what my body needed! For those of you who know me grilling out and listening to music are my favorite things to do. The first two days were about me and I treated myself.
I got back into ScholarShop mode, checking emails, talking to my counterparts, etc… I received WONDERFUL news. Sean, co-founder, of ScholarShop Africa welcomed a baby boy into this world the day after my birthday on April 27th. Baby, momma, and pops are doing well and I cannot be happier for two people so near and dear to me.
The weekend of celebration continued as I chose the winner of the “name the BeachFlyer competition” and was able to give the news to the young lady herself via webcam. A student in my sister’s first grade class came up with the name, Dragon Wheeler. I named the bike Cliff the Dragon Wheeler which is a hybrid from another student in a 7th grade class. The first grader chose the name because dragons are her favorite animal and bikes have wheels so she put the two together. I chose Cliff because I rode close to a lot of cliffs on the west coast and I thought that was appropriate. After talking with the winner we held a Q&A session about my ride. I am trying to figure out how to upload that and when I do you will be able to see questions first graders can ask! Or add me on Facebook and you can see it there! They were quite good and comical too.
BUT the competition isn’t over! Cliff the Dragon Wheeler retired itself in Los Angeles. So, a new competition has started, I am still accepting names for my current bike!
That same very day, April 30th, while visiting the wrestling HOF I received more great news! One of our ScholarShop students was accepted into African Leadership Academy in South Africa (ALA). ALA is one of the most prestigious 2 year academies in Africa and less than 150 students throughout the continent are accepted each year. Yoland, is a very gracious, humble, intelligent young lady who has huge aspirations for her future and community! Yoland could not have been a better choice for ALA. You can read her story on the ScholarShop website. Her hard work, determination, volunteering in her community, continually being top in her class and her dreams: she will be a great student at ALA. Scholarshop helped Yoland reach her dream to stay in academia! Your donations helped us help her stay in school, purchase necessary items, register for exams, and taught her volunteerism, community awareness and giving back. The cost will be high to send Yoland to ALA, but if I have found anything on this trip the world works in wonderous ways.
Through ScholarShop Africa, donors like you will continue to grow the program, send Yoland to ALA, educate more youths and supply them with necessary school supplies and help change the next generation one youth at a time.
Please consider helping ScholarShop Africa to help students like Yoland achieve their dreams and go farther than even their dreams have went. Visit Scholarshop’s website and help ScholarShop to expand beyond Cameroon.
Thanks again for the birthday wishes and I hope everyone has a wonderful May!