Abana Banji 2010: a spellbindingly good time

Last Saturday, 117 brave souls decided that, instead of sleeping in, they’d rather run five kilometers in 45 degree weather. At a cold 8:30 a.m., October 23rd, many students from Ames and other residents gathered to support the Africa trip by participating in the annual race around the beautiful Ada Haden Park. Organized by teacher Tim Mooney and members of the club SHEPH (Students Helping Eliminate Poverty and Hunger), the event had an awesome turnout, especially with the weather forecast. People both young and old came to support and participate. There was even a woman racing with her baby in a high-tech running stroller. Middle school and college kids alike raced along-side high school students, parents, and grandparents. Younger kids had their own section of track to race around. As the beginning of the race neared, Mooney lined up the participants. Instead of a shot gun blast, the start of the race was marked with the group of runners shouting, “Abana Banji!” Then they were off. The serious speeders made it toward the front of the crowd and kept their speed until the very end. The casual joggers had no trouble pacing around the course. The stragglers in the back walked most of the way, in no hurry, just being there for the fun of it. The race is more than just a display of cardiovascular endurance. It’s a way to raise money and awareness about the Uganda Project and its student and community involvement. Every summer, students travel to Uganda to build a school, meet new people, and learn about different cultures. The prizes this year for the winners of Abana Banji were handicrafts made and sold by people in Uganda. There were winners from every category, both male and female, and each got to pick out a prize. The first and second place winners with the overall fastest times were cross country coach and AHS alumni Brandon Gill and junior Johnny Hadish. If you were not able to race this year, there are other ways to help out. If you join SHEPH (which meets every Thursday morning) you can have access to many different ways to help out communities not just in Uganda, but all around the world to fight poverty and make the world a better place.