(Created Connections translated into Sierra Leonean Krio)
In 2011, Kat’s world changed forever.
But firstly, we need to rewind a few years, when her Aunty adopted three beautiful children from Africa, including twin boys from Sierra Leone.
This family connection inspired Kat to make her way over to their little country in West Africa – initially for “6 weeks”. Three and a half years later – after different volunteer projects, epic journeys across the country and beyond, and finally finding her feet with work in the capital city of Freetown – Kat was eventually required to leave Sierra Leone, while the Ebola Virus tore through the country.
But Sierra Leone never left her! She has since been back to visit a number of times and remains in regular contact with her many connections in the country.
The Sierra Leone Marathon.
It was early morning on May 26th 2013. The mist was rising over the mountains, and a group of people were huddled nervously on the start line of the Sierra Leone Marathon in the rural city of Makeni, Sierra Leone. Kat was amongst those individuals – getting ready to run her first ever marathon. She had also managed to raise the funds to have 25 children and carers from three different orphanages there with her too, competing in every event from the 5km up to the full marathon (42.2km).
Since this first year, Kat has been instrumental in continuing to support this group of children to attend the biggest running event in the country. The children look forward to the Sierra Leone Marathon all year. It provides a chance for them to journey away from their remote village for the weekend and attend an international running event. Each participant receives a package that includes their transport, accommodation, entry to the race, new clothing, new shoes, food, drinks and more.
The Future Trip.
Sierra Leone is most famous for blood diamonds, civil war and the Ebola Virus – but it is rare that people have heard about the wildlife, beaches and most of all the incredible, welcoming and friendly people of Sierra Leone. After hearing Kat’s stories, a group of adventurous souls signed up for a ‘less-than-usual’ running event and complete country experience!
Originally planned for 2020, the tour has now been rescheduled for May 2021.
The whole journey will be recorded with the overall purpose of creating a documentary that captures how communities can work together to mutually inspire one another, through human connection and the shared passion of long-distance running. It will also showcase the natural beauty of Sierra Leone, working to encourage people to re-think their initial images of the country. The plan is to eventually submit the film to both National and International Film Festivals.
Want to learn more about this voyage? Get in touch and we will keep you in the loop with all the fundraising, filming and travel plans!