Monday, November 7, 2011


 The less you have the easier it is to find joy? 

 I was recently invited on a trip to Africa, what else could I say, YES. Here is the catch it wasn't for paddling...

Traveling is always entertaining and being I wasn't dragging a boat with me, I was up for a mission. 30 minute drive in a car to the train station 12 hours on the train from Thermond WV to New York, a few more trains and shuttles and get to the airport for a 14 hour flight to arrive in South Africa, back on another plane for 2 hours and presto I'm in Mozambique.

The team slowly arrived and introductions where interesting the team had came from all walks of life. We did have one common goal, to build some houses for the truly less fortunate. Most of the families that we were to build for were "broken" in some way, a father had died a grandchild was added. There was a family that consisted of two elderly ladys that were raising there grandchildren, the parets long ago had died from aids. The aids epidemic really strikes hard here, there are few people between the ages of 20-40, they have all died. Now there children are being raised by neighbors and grandparents. The need for sustainable housing is huge. Our small team made the tiniest change in a community that is so stricken. Now I have a second opportunity to help... to spread the word to you. HELP, weither it is in your local comunity or world wide, we as "Americans" have it super well, as we are maching on capitals asking for more financial freedom we need to really open our eyes and relise we have it amazingly well. If you are not pissed off about greed at every level you are simply not paying attention. Go and help how ever you can.

A new home owner with two of the home builders holding her hands
This lady was smiling and singing and she lives in a collapsed hut,
Making dinner

Trista Matascastillo, our fearless leader

Dancing is embedded into the African culture
Really, my dad is dancing I had to get a pic to prove it
I never had seen my dad dance till Africa and I caught him dancing twice,
Norm Baer putting Hack Saw to re-bar
Norm Baer mixing more "Masa"

House construction getting close
The masons at our home sight

The old house on the right and our new creation almost complete on the left.
Part of the dedication was having the community touch the new house and give it god vibes

As we finished the emotional task of handing the homes over to there new owners my head started to spin with anticipation. Africa is not stark or barren, it is lush and beautiful. Our groups next destination was a whirlwind two day "safari", We drove from Mozambique through South Africa and made a loop through Swazi Land back up to Mozambique. The wild life and plant life was simply stunning.
Look close and you can see that they are landing on hippo's

mom still looking out for the "little one"

I think this giraffe was playing peak-a-boo

They are way bigger in real life, especially when they are 10 feet from the van


After the safari I figured it was due time for a little kayaking. I headed to a small river known as the Zambezi, It has this little water fall called Victoria Falls, and is home to some supper fun kayaking. I was greeted with 30 thousand cfs and a very fun loving group of paddlers.

The Zambezi gorge


  1. Baer, such a cool journey. I love reading about how the paddling community is connecting to the non-paddling community in the places we explore.

    Hope to see you soon!

  2. Awesome, Chris. That looks like so much fun! Good for you to help build houses for the people in Africa.

  3. Awesome story. Great pics! Definitely some of your finest work (all the way around!)

  4. Hey Chris--awesome video! It was great to share the Mozambique experience. I'm glad the Zambeszi trek turned out well for you.