Miriam is a CAFOD Campaign Volunteer Coordinator for the West side of the Diocese of Southwark. She has been talking part in CAFOD’s Lent Challenge to Walk for Water and she reflects on what inspired her and her experience of the challenge so far.
CAFOD’s challenge for Lent this year is “Walk for Water” – 10,000 steps a day, every day, for 40 days. One in three people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. When I read about Abdella, I knew I had to do something. Hearing about the difference safe water made to Hagos’ life reinforced this. We were asked to think for a few seconds about Abdella’s walk: ten hours risking life and limb to collect something that you or I walk to the next room for. Well, this really struck me and I have decided to take up the challenge.
Mark Chamberlain, CAFOD writer, who met and walked alongside Abdella on his treacherous Journey, gave us further insight into the unjust situation in a recent very inspiring webinar.
Mark highlighted the whole issue of water poverty – how people like Abdella just take what they need i.e. they leave water for others in their community, they often have to sleep at the water point which they might have to share with dangerous animals like hyenas and snakes, they have to decide how to ration the water. Abdella did admit he feels trapped but moving to a city is not an option.
This was all underpinned by Conor , CAFOD’s representative in Ethiopia, at a recent CAFOD briefing – the low quality water, the inhospitable terrain. However, both Mark and Conor ended on a very uplifting note – highlighting the difference a water pump made to Hagos’ life.
Although, I am walking in solidarity with people like Abdella together with raising money, I am very aware of how different my walks are. I enjoy walking and I enjoy my own space. When I walk in the park, I enjoy the beauty around me and feel good after the physical exertion. During the week, I walk on my own and at weekends my husband accompanies me.
I walk in comfort. I wear the correct shoes and clothes to match the weather. I choose the time and route that match my mood the best. I always have a snack and water with me. Abdella does not have any of these luxuries – he is up before 5 a.m. He also must carry jerry cans full of water some of the way. We all know what it is like carrying anything any distance. There is an Irish saying “you start off with a lamb and end up with a sheep”.
When I thought about all these facts, I was inspired to take on the challenge and try to raise as much money and awareness as possible.