This month's RADJournal features Jonathan Metcalfe. Jonathan is an incredible long distance runner currently living in Zimbabwe. Jonathan perfectly exemplifies what it means to be a RADrabbit as he selflessly help others. Read more about Jonathan below.
These past few years have been quite an adventure for me. I moved to Zimbabwe in May 2019 to study the role uncertainty plays in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. I wanted to learn how people manage their illness but also try to discover if widespread uncertainty could be changing the way people understand the nature of the disease and what it means to be living HIV-positive.
I quickly learned that Zimbabwe was the perfect place to study uncertainty. I think the clearest example of this is the economy. When I arrived the exchange rate was 5 Zimbabwean Dollars to 1 US Dollar. It’s now 120 to 1! And this is just about a decade after the county went through one of the worst cases of hyperinflation in world history. As you could imagine, many thought Zimbabwe was headed back to those crazy days where it took a wheelbarrow of cash to buy a loaf of bread. Luckily it hasn’t gone that far but it is still a very difficult place for people to try to make a livelihood. And the COVID-19 pandemic added yet another challenge to a country where a majority of people are living hand to mouth.
I don’t think I could have survived these past 2 years without running, and more specifically the local running community. They’ve welcomed me into their group and helped me feel like Zimbabwe is also my home. So when I went back to Southern California to visit my family over the holidays pre-covid, I thought I would reach out to the RADrabbit team to see if people would be interested in donating running gear that I could take back with me. Wow! I was so impressed with everyone’s kindness and generosity. The team sent so much gear that I had a huge duffle bag completely filled with donations. It was amazing! And it couldn’t have come at a better time because a few months later the pandemic hit.
I’m really happy to be a part of this team and it’s moments like this that demonstrate what a huge impact one running community can have on another, even halfway around the world.