Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays from HBI

To the Health Bridges International Community:

We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to all of you.  Our HBI team - Dr. Wayne Centrone, Ben Grass, Dr. Bob Gehringer, Dr. Daniel Bueno-Rojas, Karen Falkenstein, and our newest team member Carmen Zavala - experienced a level of support in 2012 that surpassed all previous years.  Thanks to your support - we have touched thousands of lives.  

Each and everyone of you comprise an ever growing, ever more intricate network of individuals and passions that bring fortitude, vision, and determination to the work of Health Bridges International.  You are our committed change agents, who generously share your passion for the work of HBI.  You are the quiet contributors, whose monthly donations keep our wheels on the ground.  And most of all you are the volunteers who stepped out of your daily lives to join us in service and in learning throughout this year.

Each one of you, in a very real and powerful way - make up the HBI Community. Together we work to create human-to-human connections and build powerful bridges of hope and support.  Together we work to build relationships that strive for sustainable changes in the health of communities and individuals. For those whom we have been privileged to serve this year are also those who teach us what it means to live to the fullest extent and possibility of our own humanity.

Together with all of you, we can proudly say that we are Health Bridges International . . . we are change agents . . . and we are the bridge.  So here's to you, for making the blessings of this year flow over.  Thank you.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year,

The Health Bridges International Team

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What Next?

Now that all of the runners and staff are safely back in the U.S. and the Bridging the Divide 2012 events are over – there remains a lingering question . . . What next? What next for 2013 and what next to make this event a meaningful tool for social change?

Before we go there –  a huge thank you must go out to the team that made the 2012 event possible: Dr. Daniel Bueno Rojas for his amazing organizational skills and tireless efforts, Ms. Carmen Zavala for her “never-say-never” attitude and dedication to full-on service, Ms. Lilia Herrera for her help and support in the City of Arequipa, Mr. Benjamin Grass for his dedication and commitment to making the events happen, and Ms. Karen Falkenstein for her ever-present  smile and her unbelievable heart of service. Special thanks also goes out to the many sponsors and support staff in Lima, Piura and Arequipa who made the events a reality. Thank you!

Now, what about 2012 – well, the 2012 events received record press. We had articles in every major newspaper in Peru, were featured vignettes on a number of television and radio programs, and created a real buzz of conversation and interest in all three of the host cities. AND – what next? It is all well and good to create excitement and draw people into a conversation about social change – but do we really need to do? What will help take the Bridging the Divide experience to the next level?

Our responsibility is to define the necessary steps to build the Bridging the Divide events into a true movement. Over the last couple of days we have been talking about what that might look like. Our challenge is to take a set of 50-kilometer runs and make them more than just runs. Our challenge is to ensure that the messages of collaboration, partnerships, and social justice take center stage – fully outshining the physical efforts of running 150 kilometers.

This years event was a huge success. We had more people join us on the roads of Lima (close to 1,000) Arequipa (350) and Piura (counting the 300 school children who ran three blocks with us – we had over 450) than in 2011. We received press in every major newspaper and on multiple radio and television outlets. We connected with well over 25,000 people in the cities where we ran. We expanded our efforts and ran an additional 50-kilometer event in the City of Piura. We received valuable support from Peruvian Congresswoman Carla Schaffer Cucculiza. And, we had amazing support from local municipalities and community organizations. It was an incredible year . . . and, we built a number of bridges. Yet – there is more to be done.

Over the coming weeks we will be seriously asking ourselves “what next?” We know that the Bridging the Divide event has the potential to be a powerful tool for change – and our responsibility is to be ever mindful to the bigger picture of the project.

Thank you for all of the support to make this event successful. We raised over $12,000 and drew a number of people into the HBI family. As a parting note for the 2012 Bridging the Divide event, please check out the following videos developed by one of the runners (Martin Peters): http://vimeo.com/55306875 and http://vimeo.com/55445783

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

PIctures from the Run in Arequipa

Two Down and One to Go

We did it! Run number two in Arequipa is in the bag. We gained over 1,800 feet of elevation and expended over 6,400 calories. This was a great run. We had over 15 runners  from the Club Colca – a group of very fit runners who train at 12,000 feet above sea level.

A special thanks to our support team of Veronica, Father Alex, Carmenciata, Karencita, Danny, Lucho and Mariella. A fantastic team and a fantastic day of 7 hours of running. Our next run is in the City of Piura and we hope to have a full squadron of runners and “bridge builders” from all over Piura.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More Photos from Lima

A gallery of photos from our adventures in Lima -

Thank you for all of the support!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We Did It!

 We did it. One down . . . and two to go! 50 kilometers through ten different Lima communities. Over countless roads. A total of 6,616 calories burned (as per my fancy Polar Heart Rate watch). And, almost 1,000 participants joining us at various stages of the route. It was fantastic. Way to go team. Check out the course at: http://www.facebook.com/imthebridge

Tonight we celebrate – a little cold libations, some comfort food and a LOT OF SLEEP. Tomorrow afternoon we head to Arequipa for run number two. The Arequipa 50 kilometers promises to be even more of a challnege with the intenese sun of the high Andes and . . . well, the high Andes.

Stay up-to-date with our team on Twitter (@imthebridge) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/imthebridge); and watch the “Bridging the Divide” website on Wednesday for day-of-run route updates and posts (http://iamthebridge.org/iamthebridge/Home.html).

Thank you for all of the support!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 Bridging the Divide - The Press

The press continues to roll in. We are getting a great deal of media attention in Lima for the 2012 Bridging the Divide event (and the entire country – as Lima drives news to all of the Provinces).

Yesterday was our “kick off” press conference and we had a tremendous level of attendance from the Press and a cadre of movie, print and TV personalities and stars.

After the press conference, Ben, Carmen and the team took one of the celebrities with them to the RPP radio and TV station and he had a day time interview.  They didn’t want the HBI team, just a celebrity so Carmen and Ben fed him what to say and he did a really good job.  You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vy5J7-7m-Y0#!

From there the HBI team went to Real Plaza (our principle sponsor for the events and a great community supporter) and helped pass out flyers. There has been a stand at the Real Plaza stores all week with someone handing out flyers which should get some attention for the finish. Speaking of the finish of the Lima 50km run –  the finish should be pretty grand.  There is a huge stage and a big screen TV and there are plans for a real festive experience. Oh my gosh I hope we don’t implode and actually make it to the finish!?

Today our team has a TV interview and a radio interview. Tomorrow myself, Ben, Carmen and Daniel are all headed for another TV interview and a bunch of press junkets.

Stay posted to the website for continuous updates - http://iamthebridge.org/iamthebridge/Home.html

Thanks for all of your support!