The Cause
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Shona Music

Trail Map Courtesy of PCTA

. . . because one out of every three adults in Zimbabwe is infected with HIV

    . . . because the average life expectancy has dropped to under 40 years

         . . . because there are almost one million Zimbabwean children orphaned by AIDS

               . . . because nearly half of the country’s 11 million people
                              are at risk of starvation

                     . . . because 1 US dollar is worth thousands in
                                   this country with such a struggling economy

                           . . . because Zimbabweans are a kind, warm, hope-filled people
                                           whose rich  musical tradition has touched my life…

                                               . . . and because I love the outdoors…

My name is Loren Mach. From April to July 2004, I hiked over 600 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (the red trail on the map to the left) to raise money for the struggling people of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, foot injuries including a stress fracture and tendonitis forced me to abandon my thru-hike to Canada. But the journey continued as I switched gears from walking dirt trails to cycling paved roads, giving my feet a break from backpacking 20+ miles a day. For about six weeks, I rode south almost 2000 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route (the yellow trail on the map to the left.) I reached the Mexican border on October 30th, 2004.

I am trying to celebrate the musical and cultural influences that Zimbabweans have brought to people in the U.S. and demonstrate our potential for helping people in Zimbabwe. RhythmRIDE is about sharing music, educating, and building community to help others. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness and $25,000 of support for the Zimbabwean people. We're well on our way, reaching the $21,000 mark as of October.

Passionately involved with music most of my life, I earned Percussion Performance degrees from the Oberlin and Cincinnati Conservatories of Music. But after a season as Acting Principal Percussionist with the New Mexico Symphony in Albuquerque, I walked away, turning my back on music for over five years. It is my more recent involvement in Boulder, Colorado’s Shona (Zimbabwean) music community that has once again opened my heart to being a musician. I've since kept busy performing with the bands Kutandara and Zebra Marimba, teaching private lessons, and music directing another group called Musangano. My Shona friends and teachers, like Cosmas Magaya, have helped open my heart to music as an essential part of everyday life. Now I feel the need to share this with others and give something back to Zimbabwe.

Another of my passions is enjoying the outdoors: hiking, climbing, cycling, mountaineering, backpacking; appreciating nature and the beautiful world in which we live. This explains my other job: working part-time at an outdoor retailer, Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI), in Boulder. In 1999, I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, one of my life’s greatest experiences. Afterward I knew I would one day take on the Pacific Crest Trail. On April 27th, I began at the Mexican border with my friend and hiking partner, FJ Avellana. After only 250 miles at Big Bear Lake, I suffered a broken left foot. Six weeks later, I continued my journey into the High Sierra, but persistent problems with my healing stress fracture and then tendonitis finally forced me off the PCT in South Lake Tahoe. FJ continued hiking in the spirit of RhythmWalk and reached the Canadian border on September 25th. RhythmRIDE, my new border-to-border cycling adventure, was completed on October 30th.

My parents, Carol and Ron, supported the entire trip in an RV, facilitating my resupply, carrying instruments and enabling me to give outreach discussions and benefit concerts in nearby cities. I now plan to visit Zimbabwe in 2005, where I can offer my personal support and see the money I have raised put into action. In addition a documentary film is being made about the entire project.

I am continuing to accept donations toward my cause and also seeking corporate sponsorships. Because I’m personally financing all costs of the hike itself, 100% of the money raised will be split between three trustworthy non-profit organizations. In all cases the money will be hand delivered to Zimbabwe where the head of each organization will stay and distribute it accordingly, ensuring that all of the funds will be put to good use.

I think I can readily sympathize with how busy most of us are, but I urge you to take a little time to become involved with organizations that support your community or communities in other countries. Donating a little time and money can make all the difference in the world.

I can also sympathize with those who might not have money to give. As a musician in a city as expensive as Boulder, it can be hard to feed myself much less someone else. Just remember even just a few US dollars could support a Zimbabwean for a month. If you can’t give money, tell someone else about the website and encourage others to support humanitarian efforts worldwide.

Please explore the rest of my website to find out more about the trail, the non-profits, and how you can help!

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Please contact me with any questions, or send me information if you know of an organization or individual that would like to support RhythmRIDE for Zimbabwe:
Loren Mach
P.O. Box 249
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
Copyright 2003
Rhythm Walk for Zimbabwe
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