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Jeff Gordon headed to Congo refugee camp during off week

From The Marbles

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We've got an off week next week, and many drivers use the time to recharge around the house, bust down the honey-do list, or, in some cases, race in some lower-tier events. But Jeff Gordon's doing something a wee bit different: he's headed to the Congo for a firsthand look at a refugee camp.

Gordon will leave from Sunday's New Hampshire race, arriving in Africa on Tuesday. He'll spend two days there, eventually returning home on Friday.

He's traveling as part of the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization formed in 2005. Each member of the organization must devise a personal Commitment to Action in order to address a unique problem around the world. Gordon indicated on Friday that he's been planning this trip for a year.

"My expectations are to see some jaw-dropping, eye-opening experiences that are going to change my life forever," he conceded. "Hopefully we can do some very good things to try to change that in the future."

Still, Gordon conceded a bit of trepidation at the trip. "I'm not saying I'm scared, because I have confidence in who we have organizing the trip and you look at the names on the list that are going with us, people like Ashley Judd, I know we're in good hands," he said. "Then you read about the Congo and you realize that the government has a tough enough time controlling and keeping things safe so there's definitely a little bit of fear that's built in there."

Sure, it's easy to make jokes like, "if you've seen the infield at Talladega, you're ready for the Congo," but truth is, this is beyond anything we experience here in America. Take a look at this story and video linked by Landmark Newspapers' Dustin Long for some perspective. Basic necessities like shelter, food and sanitation aren't anywhere close to guarantees.

Gordon will be tweeting his experiences the entire time; it'd be worth your while to keep up with this effort.

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