Today was a gloriously beautiful day as my daughter and I went for a long walk in our neighborhood. It was a crisp 13 degrees and the sky was a clear blue. Several of the trees lining the streets had already started altering their color from summer green to the customary bright red and orange of the Fall season. It wasn’t long before we heard a dozen or so majestic Canadian geese honking their goodbyes as they head down south for the Winter.
As I walked, I contemplated a mother in South Sudan who had walked for 5 hours while carrying her severely sick, malnourished 2 year old, trying to get him medical attention. This is the story that I learned about through Médecins Sans Frontières’ latest challenge ‘Walk Without Borders‘. My husband sent me the link yesterday from work and as I read through the stories on the MSF website, this mother and her son in particular struck a chord with me because of being a mother myself with an almost 2 year old.
As I pushed my daughter’s stroller around the neighborhood knowing that she is safe and healthy, I wondered what this other mother must have felt like, walking kilometer after kilometer, running away from fighting near her village, probably hungry and exhausted, hoping she would make it to a clinic in time to save her little boy. Thankfully, her precious little one was treated and he survived. A mother’s instinct to save her son even under extreme conditions was rewarded.
I’m excited to be supporting this initiative of MSF over the next few weeks. My goal is to walk 50 km and my fundraising goal can be found on this page. I wasn’t sure how to keep track of how many kilometers I walk, so this morning I tried using the iPhone app “Map My Walk” and it worked really well. It gave me verbal updates every 10 minutes about how far I had walked and the pace of my walking. Since the weather was so beautiful and there are no more mosquitoes in the woods, my daughter and I wandered further than usual and we ended up in a new neighborhood to explore. By the time we got back home, it was an hour later and we had covered 5.5 km. Since I have about 3 weeks before the MSF challenge ends, I am aiming to walk about 2 to 4kms on most days of the week.
When we were back in the house, and I watched my daughter have a pretend conversation with daddy on one of my old phones, I couldn’t help being reminded how much I have to be grateful for living in a safe country with relatively easy access to medical care for my family. This is not the case for so many people, and it is truly humbling to remember this.