Run 169 : Djibouti – Djibouti City

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

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Date : 18th March, 2019

Time : TBC *

Number of runners (total to date) : 30 (3695)

Number of talk attendees  (total to date) : 39 (2554)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3490393895

Rachel Jones is a Djibouti based runner – and a writer about running. Her articles can be found, inter alia, on Runners World.

Denise ‘da bees knees’ came across Rachel during her Djibouti research, tracked her down, and asked if she’d very kindly agree to help with Run the World Djibouti. She would. Hooray!

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Rachel is married to Tom Jones. Not the hip gyrating Welsh singer of ‘Delilah’** and ‘The Voice’ fame. Rather the founder, and now Director, of the International School of Djibouti (ISD.

So when Rachel met me off the 15 hour journey from London she whisked me, bleary eyed but hopefully vaguely coherent, straight off to the ISD. Where it was my pleasure to talk to 39 students and staff.

Regular readers will know that the students I talk to rarely fail to come up with new questions – and the ISD audience was no exception. “Do you have any pets?” and “How many houses have you borrowed [while travelling around the world]?” being two of my favourites.

Pictured above, they were a delightful set of students – a credit to ISD.

A couple of hours of downtime at my hotel followed before Tom drove Rachel and myself to Balbala Stadium. The stadium is in a deprived and socially conservative part of town.

But every week, 20-30 local girls make their way to the stadium, divest themselves of their hijabs and prepare to run.

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They’re all members of  Girls Run 2, a running club for girls set up by Rachel, and trained by coach Nasra. On the afternoon I was there, Nasra set them to do laps followed by a stretching session and a knock about game of football. (Between training sessions, Nasra acts as something of a life coach helping the girls to get into, and then stay at, school.)

A bit before 6pm, a number of other runners arrived including UN employees and a contingent from the Royal Marines. After a quick welcome speech we all ran a lap of the stadium together with the girls and then headed off back into town for our 10 km.

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Shortly after we left the stadium a stone hit my calf. At the time I didn’t think much about it as I was deep in conversation with Andrew about Socotra, a Yemeni island that might be the answer to my ‘where can I run safely in Yemen’ conundrum. At the end of the run Rachel told me that, not the first time, she’d also had stones thrown at her and one of them had hit her in the face.

But I wouldn’t want that to detract from the memory of an excellent run on a lovely evening.  And I’m pleased to report that amongst those who completed the 10 km

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were coach Nasra (I’m not proposing – it was height differential thing)

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and two of the Girls Run 2 club members – which was pretty impressive at their age.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Rachel, Tom, the staff and students at the ISD, Nasra, the Girls Run 2 club, Andrew, Beca and all my fellow runners for the hospitality, company and donations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Djibouti and, if anyone can make it, then it would be great to see you in London on July 4th 2020 for the UK and final leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

*For some reason I failed to record the first 5km of the run on my Garmin…but, as you can see from the photo 3 above, we actually ran 10.6 km (6.6miles)

**He had plenty of hits but ‘Delilah’ was adopted by the fans of the mighty Stoke City so it’s my favourite.

 

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Horn Park School, Greenwich, London

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

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Number of runners (total to date) : 100 (3665)

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 350 (2515)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3451181953

I first met Mick Barlow when I was doing my previous challenge – every different Olympic and Paralympic event – and he and his colleagues trained a group of us for the athletics events. This included the pole vault which I was spectacularly bad at – a woeful display which, sadly for me, was filmed…

Mick is GLL’s Sports Development Manager which, essentially, means helping and encouraging more people to be more active and play more sport. Part of his role involves working with Horn Park School in Greenwich and they were good enough to invite me to visit the school.

The visit started with about 100 Year 5 and 6s – plus numerous teachers, Mick and myself – running round Horn Park.

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We ran / walked for the best part of half an hour and, considering the park is on a steep slope, it was a fine effort all round.

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The run was a fundraiser for the school and I hope it was big success. Certainly it was a lot of fun running with the students – they were friendly, chatty and always up for a high five or two.

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After the run, we made our way to the main hall where I was due to talk to the whole school. As I entered the hall, ‘A Million Dreams’ from the Greatest Showman soundtrack was playing over the PA – and most of the students were singing along. It was a magical moment that I’ll remember for a long time.

The Run the World talks cover both my (mis)adventures running round the world and healthy living advice. (It often seems like there is a new piece of healthy living advice every day so the talks aim to provide students with the (NHS approved) basics in an interactive, memorable, and hopefully enjoyable, way.)

Not only were the students great singers but they were also great to talk to – attentive and responsive despite it being late on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, we reached the end of the school day before the end of the talk so, in case any students (or interested parents / staff) read this blog, here’s a quick reminder of that healthy living advice and the BEANS acronym.

Be active (for at least an hour a day)

Eat sensibly

Avoid sugary sodas

No sweets (well, maybe a few on special occasions!)

Sleep well (9-11 hours a night in primary school)

It just remains for me to say thank you to Richard Harries, Mick Barlow, and all the students and staff at Horn Park School. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit!

Finally, if any student, parent or member of staff is interested, then I’d love to see you on July 4th 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World which will take place in London!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

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Phoenix School, White City, London

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Number of talk attendees (total to date) : 140 (2165)

The Phoenix Academy is part of Future Academies – an educational charity and multi-academy trust sponsored by Future (John and Caroline Nash’s social enterprise). It occupies a sizeable site in the White City part of London and enjoys enviable facilities including a farm

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and a swimming pool.

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Phoenix believes in a rigorous academic curriculum and high standards of behaviour. And they’re justifiably proud of their achievements. Based on their GCSE results, they were the most improved school in London in 2018.

They also believe in an extensive enrichment programme – and that’s where I came in as I was invited to give a Run the World healthy living talk. (For anyone who wasn’t there, these talks combine stories from my runs around the world with core healthy living advice.)

After a tour of the school – during which I happened to notice this excellent infographic about the damage that the blue light from smartphones can do to your sleeping patterns and health –

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I had the pleasure of talking to 140 Y 7, 8 & 9 students. The school’s data protection / photography policy precludes me from including any pictures of the students but I hope they found the talk useful and enjoyed it as much as I did!

I also hope they’ll join me for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World on July 4th 2020. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to run 10km – there’ll also be a 5km and walking options!)

Talking of running, after the talk I went for a training run in the White City area. One of the things I love about London is that, almost wherever you go for a run, you’ll come across something worth seeing.

In this case the run took me past Loftus Road, home of Queen’s Park Rangers,

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to White City Place which occupies the site of the White City Stadium which hosted the 1908 Olympics.

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A Games at which Great Britain came first in the medal table

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Less happily, the next sight that caught my eye was Grenfell Tower – the site of June 2017’s awful tragedy.

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From there I ran to White City Television Centre. (I still remember going there many years ago, when I was in the music business and one of our bands was on Top of the Pops.)

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Keeping with the music theme I ran past the enormous emporium that is Westfield to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

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Where fans were already queuing for that night’s Billie Eilish performance (“insane” according to my daughter who, coincidentally, had been invited to that night’s gig by a friend; went on far too late according to me).

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I finished with a couple of laps round Shepherd’s Bush Green and then it was time for the journey back to north London.

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It just remains for me to say a big thank you to the staff and students at the Phoenix Academy for the warm welcome and to Nick and Robert at the Future Academies enrichment team for the invitation. I very much hope to see you all on July 4th 2020!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitterbecause it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

 

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Run 168 : Equatorial Guinea – Malabo

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

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Date : 13th February, 2019

Time : 1h 02’ 42”

Number of runners (total to date) : 11 (3565)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3382173757

Media : https://www.guineaecuatorialpress.com/noticia.php?id=12805

Equatorial Guinea is fortunate enough to have substantial oil and gas reserves. And, like many oil and gas rich countries, it is looking to use that wealth to diversify the country’s economy and grow it’s tourism sector.

As part of that drive, it recently opened the Malabo National Park and, on my first evening in Malabo (the capital of Equatorial Guinea), British Honorary Consul Susan McGuigan showed me round the Park. It’s an extraordinary place which reminded me a bit of both Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay and Disney’s “It’s a Small World”. It includes towers and lakes and lights and talking mushrooms and an art gallery. Don’t miss it if you’re ever in that part of the world.

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The government has also built a rather lovely promenade on reclaimed land near the centre of Malabo. And that’s where Josue, the proprietor of the Magno Suites hotel and the country’s Director General of Tourism, had organised our run.

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There were seven of us at the start of the run including Jose Ntutumu Edu Nchama, H.E. Secretary of State for Health ; Maria Jesus Evuna Andeme, Hon. Head Cabinet Minister of Missions of the Presidency of the Republic ; Josue Esono Edu Corredor, Hon. Director General of Tourism Law and Statistics ; Alejandro Asumu Osa, former Kick Boxing World Champion ; Ignacio De Felipe Crespo, marathon runner (and Director General of Hotel Magno Suites) ; and me (obviously).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, such luminaries attracted media attention and there was a round of TV interviews before we all set off. (Thank you, Josue, for the simultaneous translation.)

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Various people joined us during the run including Priscilla D Aranda (from the Boesoeppe NGO)

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Susan

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and a couple of runners who seemed to know Alex Asumu Osa – Equatorial Guinea’s kick boxing world champion.

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In fact, pretty much everyone we encountered seemed to know him and it occurred to me that blog readers might like to see him demonstrate his skills on Josue…

And here he is in real life world championship winning action.

Alex and I ran together for the last 5 kilometres of the run and I can report that, out of the ring, he is a charming man!

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Josue and Susan for the welcome and for organising everything ; and to my fellow runners for the support and the company. Please get in touch if you are ever in London!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Equatorial Guinea is a country located on the west coast of Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state in which Spanish is an official language. As of 2015, the country had an estimated population of 1,222,245.

Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. The insular region consists of the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a small volcanic island which is the only part of the country south of the equator. Bioko Island is the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea and is the site of the country’s capital, Malabo. The Portuguese speaking island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. The mainland region, Río Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on the north and Gabon on the south and east. It is the location of Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s largest city, and Oyala, the country’s planned future capital.The country is a member of the African UnionFrancophonieOPEC and the CPLP.

Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa‘s largest oil producers. It is the richest country per capita in Africa,  and its gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita ranks 43rd in the world; however, the wealth is distributed extremely unevenly, and few people have benefited from the oil riches. The country ranks 135th on the UN’s 2016 Human Development Index. The UN says that less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water and that 20% of children die before reaching the age of five.

The sovereign state totalitarian government is cited as having one of the worst human rights records in the world, consistently ranking among the “worst of the worst” in Freedom House‘s annual survey of political and civil rightsReporters Without Borders ranks President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo among its “predators” of press freedom. Human trafficking is a significant problem; the 2012 U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report stated that Equatorial Guinea “is a source and destination for women and children subjected to forced labor and forced sex trafficking.” The report rates Equatorial Guinea as a government that “does not fully comply with minimum standards and is not making significant efforts to do so.”

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Equatorial Guinea – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $12.3 bn 2017 $1.05 bn 2000
Population 1.27 m 2017 641 k 2000
Primary school enrolment* 62% 2015 102% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 4.73 2014 0.74 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA
Life expectancy at birth 57.7 yrs 2016 52.8 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $7050 2017 $760 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Equatorial Guinea performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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Run 167 : Cameroon – Douala

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 11th February, 2019

Time : 56’ 21”

Number of runners (total to date) : 95 (3554)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3382173756

Media : https://www.facebook.com/noela.lyonga ; Cameroon Tribune (article below) ; Mutations (article below) ; Canal 2 International

In some ways the visit to the cancer ward at Douala’s Laquintinie Hospital felt familiar. There was that mixture of braveness and poignancy that I’ve experienced many times before when meeting cancer sufferers. And the knowledge that sometimes the cancer has gone too far and all that can be done is to try to convey support and warmth while fervently hoping that the end will be as dignified and pain free as possible.

But it was also different from, for example, the UK (my home country) in terms of the resources available to treat and help patients. Laquintinie can offer chemotherapy but not radiotherapy. And there’s no morphine available for pain relief. The thought of dealing with cancer without the strongest possible pain relief is, well, words literally fail me.

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Much as I’d like there to be, there is no simple answer to these issues. No country in the world has the resources to provide all their citizens with the optimal health care for their individual requirements. Brutal choices always have to be made.

Prevention is perhaps the ideal – and that’s a big part of why I do my healthy living talks. Not that healthy living offers any guarantees – but it does significantly reduce the chance of cancer. And heart disease, diabetes, depression and dementia.

That afternoon’s Run the World healthy living talk was at PSS Douala – which seemed a particularity appropriate place to talk as it was National Youth Day in Cameroon.

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The headmaster told me there were about 400 students in the room and, judging from the numbers fanning themselves, and the state of my shirt afterwards, it was warm. So I’m very grateful to the audience for their attention and their participation.

Regular readers will know that many of my school audiences manage to come up with a question I haven’t heard before and the PSS Douala students were no exception. I was asked about Tramadol which is part of the global opiate crisis and much abused in Cameroon. It can cause mental illness, aggressive behaviour and even death. To any students reading this – please, please, please avoid at all costs. (President Biya had also referenced the importance of combating drug abuse in his National Youth Day speech the previous evening .)

After the talk we were fortunate to be joined at the school by Divisional Officer Mr. Jean-Marc Ekoa Mbarga and his team who provided us with fantastic logistical support including transport, gendarmerie and an ambulance.

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We all posed for pictures

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and then as many of us as possible piled into the available transport and set off for the run start point. Two quick press interviews

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and then about 95 of us set off behind a motor bike and a jeep provided by the local gendarmerie.

The first 4 kilometres of the run were great – chatting with fellow runners and doing a bit of filming.

But then things got tougher. I don’t know if it was the heat, dehydration, the fact that it was my sixth run in 6 days, the lack of sleep on the trip – or a combination of all of the above. In any event my pace dipped from sub 5 minutes per kilometre to nearer 6 minutes per kilometre. And even that really hurt.

I’m very grateful to the student (and footballer) who stayed with me over the last 3 kilometres and got me to the end.

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Water, photos, goodbyes and doughnuts (courtesy of the British High Commission) followed before we set off back into Douala to the Canal 2 studios for interviews with British High Commissioner Rowan Laxton and myself

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and then dinner and a very welcome return to my bed!

Days like this don’t happen without a lot of people putting in a lot of work. I’d particularly like to thank : British High Commissioner Rowan Laxton, Noela Lyonga and Mireille Djob for all the organisation, support and company. Director of the Douala Lacquintinie Hospital, Prof. Louis Richard Njock, Dr. Fonkwa Celestin, Head of the Oncology Ward, and all the staff and patients at the Lacquintinie Hospital for showing us around and educating us about cancer in Cameroon. Principal Dr. Hans Bokwe Itoe and all the staff and students at PSS Douala for the warm welcome and for joining us on the run. Divisional Officer (DO) Mr. Jean-Marc Ekoa Mbarga ; Michel Welland, PA to the DO ; Yves Sylvain Minko, Operational Supervisor of  Gendarmerie ; and Roy Attah, Police Superintendent in charge of the 15th District ; and their teams for the excellent logistical and moral support.

It really was a fantastic day and I hope that as many as possible of you will stay by touch via social media – please see the links below. Should you ever find yourself in London, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I would love to reciprocate some of the hospitality and welcome I received in Douala!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Cameroon is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial GuineaGabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon’s coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although Cameroon is not an ECOWAS member state, it geographically and historically is in West Africa with the Southern Cameroons which now form her Northwest and Southwest Regions having a strong West African history. The country is sometimes identified as West African and other times as Central African due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West and Central Africa.

French and English are the official languages of Cameroon. The country is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beachesdesertsmountainsrainforests, and savannas. The highest point at almost 4,100 metres (13,500 ft) is Mount Cameroon in the Southwest Region of the country, and the largest cities in population-terms are Douala on the Wouri river, its economic capital and main seaport, Yaoundé, its political capital, and Garoua. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team.

Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões (Shrimp River), which became Cameroon in English. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884 known as Kamerun.

After World War I, the territory was divided between France and the United Kingdom as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) political party advocated independence, but was outlawed by France in the 1950s, leading to the Cameroonian Independence War fought between French and UPC militant forces until early 1971. In 1960, the French-administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons federated with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The federation was abandoned in 1972. The country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984. Large numbers of Cameroonians live as subsistence farmers. Since 1982 Paul Biya has been President, governing with his Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement party. The country has experienced tensions coming from the English-speaking territories. Politicians in the English-speaking regions have advocated for greater decentralisation and even complete separation or independence (as in the Southern Cameroons National Council) from Cameroon.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Cameroon – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $34.9 bn 2017 $10.1 bn 2000
Population 24.1 m 2017 15.3 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 113% 2007 87% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.32 2014 0.23 2000
% below poverty line*** 37.5% 2014 40.2% 2001
Life expectancy at birth 58.1 yrs 2016 50.0 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $1370 2017 $680 2006

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Cameroon performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – 101st

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

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Run 166 : Central African Republic – Bangui

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Date : 10th February, 2019

Time : 1h 05’ 47”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (3459)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3382173749

In January we sent out a 5 year anniversary update to Run the World contacts around the world. Amongst the many kind responses was one from the British Embassy in Kinshasa (which covers the Central African Republic – CAR – on behalf of HM Government). They wished me luck for the rest of the runs – but made a point of advising me against running in the CAR

No great surprise there as the British Foreign Office travel advice is red for the CAR – i.e. they advise against all travel. Other, that is, than a small section of the capital Bangui – where it advises against all but essential travel (orange). Since my policy is not to go anywhere ‘red’, my plan was very much to stay in the ‘orange’ parts of Bangui.

And there’s no doubt the security situation is difficult. Davide, who I was running with, works for the UN and apparently they have 17000 troops in CAR as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

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As its name implies, MINUSCA has a number of roles in the CAR – but its “utmost priority” is the protection of civilians. To date, MINUSCA has suffered 80 fatalities while trying to fulfil this mission and keep the peace.

MINUSCA, and their vehicles, were very visible as we ran round Bangui. Something you’ll have to take my word for as its not advisable to take photos of military personnel or equipment. (The photo above isn’t mine.) You’ll also have to take my word for the fact that we ran past the presidential palace and various army and government buildings. Also all on the ‘no photo’ list.

I was, however, clear to take pictures of the cathedral

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the tennis club with its brilliant ‘Today, Tomorrow, Tennis..’ motto

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the Ubangi river (which is a tributary of the mighty Congo)

and the ‘Bangui la Coquette’* sign which overlooks Bangui in a Hollywood kind of way (above).

We managed to finish the run before sunset, which is Davide’s curfew in terms of being outside, and he was good enough to invite me to join him for dinner that evening. The only problem was that his security protocol precluded him from giving me a lift. And since walking / running / getting a taxi through town after dark all seemed a little foolhardy I had to opt for an evening on my own. Which gave me a taste of the security restrictions that Davide, and many others, have to live with.

The next morning, after a night at a hotel which was the worst value-for-money place I’ve stayed in since Baghdad (why are dangerous places also so expensive?), I set off for the airport. The streets were teeming with UN troops and I subsequently heard from Davide that a number of ex-soldiers had blockaded the main roads in town that day as a protest.

My last sight of Bangui was at the airport as I was about to get on my flight to Douala in Cameroon. The tarmac was covered with UN and World Food Programme aircraft. And a massive Antonov carrier which was in the process of swallowing a helicopter. It gave a real sense of the international commitment to the CAR and since, no-one seemed to mind for once, I took a quick video.

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Davide for taking time out from his Sunday afternoon to run with me and show me around Bangui. Please join me in London on 20th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

*Literally, Bangui, the flirtatious woman.

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. The CAR covers a land area of about 620,000 square kilometres (240,000 sq mi) and had an estimated population of around 4.6 million as of 2016.

Most of the CAR consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas, but the country also includes a SaheloSudanian zone in the north and an equatorial forest zone in the south. Two thirds of the country is within the Ubangi River basin (which flows into the Congo), while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari, which flows into Lake Chad.

What is today the Central African Republic has been inhabited for millennia; however, the country’s current borders were established by France, which ruled the country as a colony starting in the late 19th century. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the Central African Republic was ruled by a series of autocratic leaders, including an abortive attempt at a monarchy by the 1990s, calls for democracy led to the first multi-party democratic elections in 1993. Ange-Félix Patassé became president, but was later removed by General François Bozizé in the 2003 coup. The Central African Republic Bush War began in 2004 and, despite a peace treaty in 2007 and another in 2011, fighting broke out between various factions in December 2012, leading to ethnic and religious cleansing of the Muslim minority and massive population displacement in 2013 and 2014.

Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oilgolddiamondscobaltlumber, and hydropower as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in the world, with the lowest GDP per capita at purchasing power parity in the world as of 2017. As of 2015, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), the country had the lowest level of human development, ranking 188th out of 188 countries. It is also estimated to be the unhealthiest country as well as the worst country in which to be young.The Central African Republic is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Non-Aligned Movement.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for the CAR – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $1.95 bn 2017 $915 m 2000
         
Population 4.66 m 2017 3.75 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 106% 2016 77% 2001
         
CO2 Emissions** 0.07 2014 0.07 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 52.2 yrs 2016 43.9 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $390 2017 $250 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Chad performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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Run 165 : Chad – Ndjamena

RTW Chad 7

Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

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Date : 9th February, 2019

Time : 58’ 57”

Number of runners (total to date) : 1 (3457)

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3382173741

*!@*!!$! Ethiopian Airlines. With less than a week to go to my trip they postponed my Niamey-Ndjamena and Ndjamena- Bangui flights by 48 hours. Between visa dates, and all the runs and school talks etc that had already been organised, we couldn’t accommodate the delay and had to find alternative flights. So, instead of arriving in Ndjamena at 17.40 after 4 hours of flying, I landed at 19.10 after ten hours of flights. And instead of leaving the next day at 12.40 on a two hour flight to Bangui, I had to depart at 7.15 on a 7 hour flight.

On a more positive note Abdel Adami from the British Office in Ndjamena was at the airport to meet me and put me into a taxi (many thanks for that!)

RTW Chad 1

By the time I got to my hotel, the Radisson Blu, it was almost 21.00.

RTW Chad 2

Having got up at 4am to run in Niamey, and having travelled all day, I really didn’t feel like running. But there wasn’t much of a choice…

So I set off round the – luckily quite extensive – hotel grounds. Which incorporated a rather inviting pool and a very runnable stretch along the Chari river – which flows from the Central African Republic through Chad and into Lake Chad. (Not that I could see the river what with it being quite late at night and all that).

RTW Chad 5

I ran pretty much every way I could round the grounds and, after about 3 km, it felt like time for a change of scenery. So I ran down to the main gate and asked the security team if I could go outside? The polite, but firm, answer was,  “Non, c’est pas bon.”

RTW Chad 3

And that was pretty much it. I ran round and round the hotel until I’d ground out 10km. By now I was nursing another grievance against Ethiopian. I don’t normally stay in places as nice as the Radisson and, after all the running and travelling of the previous week, I really would have liked some time there to catch up on sleep and sit by the pool.

But instead there was only time for a quick shower and dinner and 3-4 hours’ sleep before the alarm went at 4.40am the next morning. Thank you Ethiopian Airlines…

*”No, it’s not good [out there]”.

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Chad is a landlocked country in northcentral Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. It is the fifth largest country in Africa and the second-largest in Central Africa in terms of area.

Chad has several regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanian Savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second-largest in Africa. The capital N’Djamena is the largest city. Chad’s official languages are Arabic and French. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. The most popular religion of Chad is Islam (at 55%), followed by Christianity (at 40%).

Beginning in the 7th millennium BC, human populations moved into the Chadian basin in great numbers. By the end of the 1st millennium AD, a series of states and empires had risen and fallen in Chad’s Sahelian strip, each focused on controlling the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region. France conquered the territory by 1920 and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. In 1960, Chad obtained independence under the leadership of François Tombalbaye. Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1979 the rebels conquered the capital and put an end to the south’s hegemony. However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves until Hissène Habré defeated his rivals. He was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby. Since 2003 the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad.

While many political parties are active, power lies firmly in the hands of President Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement. Chad remains plagued by political violence and recurrent attempted coups d’état. Since 2003, crude oil has become the country’s primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Chad – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $9.9 bn 2017 $1.4 bn 2000
         
Population 14.9 m 2017 8.3 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 88% 2016 64% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 0.05 2014 0.02 2000
         
% below poverty line*** 46.7% 2011 54.8% 2002
         
Life expectancy at birth 52.9 yrs 2016 47.6 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $640 2017 $180 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Chad performed in the global sporting arena in 2018:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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