Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We Decided to Walk

I got a call. I picked up, and the first thing to spill into my ear was, “I have an idea.” The next thing I knew a small group of us felt the energy escalating. We met by video chat, talking fast and building on a budding project.
Our hearts were stirred as we read updates from folks on the ground reporting on a dry and dismal land filled with sick and hurting people. With each update, the situation grew ever more grim. Personal stories were getting lost in the numbers as the pains of drought became the common experience of one East African after another.
As I swallowed a gulp of cool, clean water, I thought about the many struggling for hydration only to find sources that are turbid and sparse. I felt the disconnect—of my experience from theirs—and desired deeply and genuinely to identify with their situation, though knowing I never truly could.  
Leaving their wives and families, men depart with their livestock (their livelihood) in a desperate measure to save their dwindling herd. The family suffers separation. Women trek unimaginable distances with children in tow. The Children, their vulnerable little bodies, are malnourished and sick from dirty water. Conditions remain dry and hurt persists. We asked: What could we do to help?
In response, we decided to walk. Though recognizing ours could not compare, we decided to make a journey, to walk in solidarity with those who have no other choice than to leave land that is providing little more than hunger pains.  We walk for relief, but we also walk for lasting change in a region that needs more than respite. Help us help East African communities emerge from the current crisis with the tools and resources necessary to triumphantly confront rainless seasons to come.

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About Hand Up 4 E. Africa

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We're a group of friends who need your help. Moved by the devastating conditions East Africans are facing, we decided to walk in solidarity with those walking in search of relief. We have a big goal of raising $10k for those facing the perils of drought. Funds raised will go to the relief and development work of Mercy Corps, an international agency working to build secure, productive, and just communities. As we walk 168 mile across Michigan, your support is vital to our success. Share our story, like us on Facebook, spread the word, donate a dollar, do what you can! The need is great, and we are thankful for your participation.