Volunteer: Alaska – Fairbanks ~ Talkeetna – (2005)

Alaska! I went there to do a supporter of the American biggest wheelchair race for handicapped person(Named Salider’s Great Challenge), as a volunteer.
My work is to help one racer during the race, everyday!
In this race, I supported a racer from Elsalvador, named Pad and he has no legs, with another woman who is an Eskimo (an Inuit).

We moved to Fairbanks of this race’s startline.
We talked a lot in the car on the way to the Fairbanks…..the story how Pad lose his legs in the conflict of Elsalvador, the discrimination to Inuit…….

By the way, we supporter should got up as least 6am, and we had to pick the racer up and care the race almost all day.
And we volunteer should make a tent in the forest nearby the hotel where racers stayed.
At that time, my colleage Julia fall in love to another Alaskan racer actually…!

On the way, we passed throught Talkeetna.
This town is the gateway to the Mount McKinley and last visiting place of Naomi Uemura(Famous Japanese Climber).
People there welcomed us a lot cos in whole US, everyday broadcast about this race on the TV and also newspaper!
Sometimes we made a tent in the forest where there happend to see bears often…..!!!
When we made a tent at a first time, Julia said to me, “You Japanese are not tough as well as us, so maybe you cannot do primitive work like even making a tent!” but at last Julia cannot make the tent and finally I made the tent by myself instead of Julie…..it sounds interesting….

I really admire other Supporters in that race and the races are really strong and look bright.
When I took a car with American boy who is also supporter and his outfit actually look badboy at first, I asked his job and he answered “I worked on facilities for mental retardation children, cos my younger brother is mental retardation also. So everyday I played with them like playing sports.”.
I was surprised and I really admire him.
The day in the race was sometimes hard and tough, but really happy to be there with them!!

Jun 2006