Ricardo Almeida

From: São Paulo, Brazil

Unogwaja is is a journey through a collective (and universal) African mind, heart and spirit, using inspiration as a fundamental value to rescue humanity from the deep burdens of hopelessness that it sometimes falls into.

10 years ago, I was diagnosed with 6 benign liver tumors. The doctors pointed out one main cause for my poor health: the ridiculously stressful life I was leading while running two startup companies in extremely tough markets. I went through an 18-hour surgery to remove half of my liver, barely surviving the procedure; and started a complicated recovery process. I kept the same habits for several years. Later, right when my wife got pregnant, I received new blood exams that weren’t exactly “positive”. Well… I then decided to change my life.

At 101kg, I took a long breath and, in one day, decided to start running, change my eating habits and simply cut off any kind of unnecessary worries. The plan was actually quite simple; to balance health in order to enjoy life at its fullest. It worked.

My two companies; an advertising agency and a self-publishing website; are doing just fine despite the extremely tough environment in Brazil. I discovered that the best way to overcome challenges is just to keep calm, thing rationally and push on.

I also have two amazing girls, one aged 5 and the other just 4 months old. Believe me – it also is a big challenge to bring up children. However, it is also the best thing in the world to do, and I am proud of what my wife and I are accomplishing.

Other than that, I also published 5 books in the last years and am happy with them.

My weight dropped a lot since I discovered my passion for sports and I currently weigh around 70kg with a perfect bill of health. In fact, I was just diagnosed as 100% clear this year.

The fact that I’m alive, healthy and happy after almost dying, running different companies in a developing market, raising two kids, writing 5 books and running and cycling like crazy does kind of make a point, I guess. All of these things have their own big challenges, after all.

I’d say that my best quality is dealing with pressure; life taught me that.

I do understand, of course, that the training part of Unogwaja preparation will be the toughest one time-wise, but I’m really sure I’m up to it and that everything is kind of perfect in this road to Africa.