Hardly a runner or in perfect shape, my calves began to burn a quarter of a mile into the run/walk-a-thon: “Walk for Water, Walk for Life.” The funds raised during the event benefits the people of the Keiyo Valley in Kenya, specifically to provide safe drinking water to the community. With the Schuylkill River running along side me, providing the much needed cool breeze, my thoughts began to wander. I’d like to think that I’m a positive person, but on occasions, negative thoughts would creep in. Like during the walk, I asked myself: “why am I doing this? I’m unemployed, my savings account is depleted, and yet I paid for the roundtrip bus fare from New York City to Philadelphia, plus the registration fee, just so I can walk? If I wanted to walk, I could have gone to Prospect Park and be $50 richer.” Then I remembered what one of the singers during the pre-walk event asked: “who thinks they live a blessed life?” I was one of the fifty people that raised a hand. Even if I am living in a NYC studio with my husband struggling to keep a roof over our heads, I am living a blessed life. I am grateful for having clean drinking water everyday; always having a full stomach before going to bed; being able to fully use my legs, arms, eyes, and ears; being surrounded by wonderful friends and family. I am in a much better position than the 884 million people that are in need of clean drinking water sources (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mdg/Default.aspx). Therefore, I have nothing to whine about and everything to be grateful for. So, I press forward with my friends and colleagues to complete the walk with nothing but good thoughts in my head.
As I crossed the finish line, in the not-so-impressive 207th position, a huge smile appeared on my face. Not only did I complete the walk, it felt great to know that I was part of a positive change in the world (a very small change, but a change nevertheless). Although I do not know and have never met the majority of the people that put their heart, sweat, and money into the event, I am thankful to have walked with them. To my sponsors, thank you for your generosity and moral support. To those in the Keiyo Valley, I send you my hopes and wishes that your lives will be improved by the fruitfulness of the walk-a-thon. To the 884 million people, I send you my prayers and the knowledge that you are not forgotten.
Updates on the results of the walk are on the KSM website: http://www.ksmministries.com/