A few weeks ago, UCLA head football coach Jim Mora took time out of his busy schedule recruiting athletes and hiring staff to fly to Africa on a mission that had nothing to do with sports, but everything to do with physical fitness — his own — and a commitment to raise money to build wells for clean water in East Africa.
Mora is now back on campus after completing a six-day, 50-mile climb 16,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, to participate with 13 others —— he was the oldest at 55 — in a mission created by NFL Chris Long’s Waterboys Foundation to give impoverished people on the continent a source for clean drinking water.
When Mora finally reached the top of Kilimanjaro, he brought out a Bruins jersey and a flag honoring one of his players, the late Nick Pasquale to mark the achievement.
Today, designated as World Water Day by the United Nations to draw attention to the fact that 1.8 million people have to get their drinking water from sources contaminated with fecal material, Fox Sports released a story and photos about Mora’s adventure and his growing awareness of this crisis.
“Water is something that’s a lot more than just something to drink,” he told writer Bruce Feldman. “It’s life. It’s cooking. It’s cleaning. It’s bathing. It’s also the ability for kids to stay in school rather than spending a big part of their day trying to find water for their families.”
Today, according to Fox Sports, Mora is close to reaching his goal of raising the $45,000 needed to build a well that could potentially benefit 5,700 people for 20 years.