By Woodie Butler – Wild Diamond Safari, Sierra Leone
As some of you may have seen, I live in Sierra Leone, West Africa, deep in the bush. Anyway, to the point I am writing about, as most of you may know the passing Ebola crisis took a terrible toll on the people and the economy over there.
I am hoping to acquire some equipment and a few sponsors for three very small gyms I want to rehab and establish in Sierra Leone, in the provinces. I am looking for a gym franchise or equipment manufacturer with a program or avenue to donate equipment (i.e. used/ damaged/returned/trade-ins). The initial areas I would like to help are Bo, Kuido town, and Sherbro Island. These photos are of the actual gym I use in Bo. The bodybuilding and fitness community is fledging in this wonderful country and I want to help nurture it along. These poor guys make most of their own equipment by hand and/or literally scavenging items from shut down factories. Even with these obstacles and $2 a month dues (which is a lot for them) they have hearts of gold and initiative when it comes to working out.
Bo facility = no lights, no a/c, no running water, no nutrition, no supplements, NO PROBLEM.
Ebola has terrorized this country, and I would like to rebuild their self-confidence and help spread gyms around the entire country.
Also, I have tried as much as one man can to help (financially) a few aspiring “Olympians” train with food and fresh water. Some of these guys work in the fields all day in 100F degree weather with a small bowl of rice to eat and then train into the night (I am always almost in tears whenever I write about this).
I think there is a story for someone there, of the enduring spirit of athletes in even the direst circumstances. They have no good shoes, no gym equipment, and no sponsors (even the government has no money). Some one should grab this story and run with it, it is the best God gives us! Ebola almost destroyed them but not their spirits.
If any of you know someone I can connect to for this situation, please let me know, I am in the U.S. for a few more weeks on business.
Thank you & Merry Christmas,
Wild Diamond Safari