My Volunteer Journal: Episode 39 – Walk 4 Water – Walking 10,000 Steps is a Long Freakin Way

mangalita_siamajele1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. 2 million people die every year from water born diseases. In many parts of the world people walk for miles to get water, which is often polluted. Frequently, it is the women of a village who perform this arduous task meaning they have less time to get an education, care for their children, or even make a living. Along the path to water they face danger from humans and wildlife alike. WaterAid Australia wanted to draw attention to the clean water crisis in developing countries so they started a unique fundraising event called Walk 4 Water in which people pledge to walk 10,000 steps a day during the entire month of October.

I found out about the project several days into the month. As a US citizen I didn’t even know if I could participate so I wrote WaterAid Australia. They wrote me back quickly saying of course I could participate. Muchas Gracias. Next, I skipped over to Target and bought a cheap $10 pedometer to track my steps and started walking the next day – October 10th*.

I’m not going to record everyday of the walk but I will document a few days. I will continue to update this post until the end of the month…

First day of Walk 4 Water – Oct. 10th – Will walk to farmers market to get veggies – should be 10,000 steps. Uggg, farmers market was only 2,000 steps. Will take book back to library. Library was only 500 more steps - am going to have to walk to top of bluff. On top of bluff pedometer reads 5,500 steps. Overshot goal, which is fine, but Jesus that was a long way to walk. How am I going to find time to do that everyday? How would anybody be able to do that everyday with a heavy water bucket? Horrible.

Personally - the upside is I will probably loose weight and bottom will look fantastic when done with 20 days of this. Must put new music on Ipod.

Oct. 13th – 10,000 steps while traveling. I was up at 4 a.m. and am flying across the country from California to Florida. During my 3 hour-long layover in Dallas I walked 7,000 steps circling terminal B and D. Other travelers must think I’m mad or indecisive. Carry on was a burden. Feel sorry for people carrying buckets of water. When arrived at family home walked down to the beach and played with baby manta rays, which come close to shore at night. Wiggling feet in the ocean and then running away squealing when they approached garnered me the extra 3,000 steps.

Oct. 14th - First day of walking in Florida. Weather is gorgeous, ocean is warm like a bathtub, and sand is heavenly soft. Had to walk all the way through the state park to get 10,000 steps. Rescued a stranded Jellyfish on the way. Found a sand dollar on a sand bar. Good Day. No weight loss yet L. Have blisters on toes from walking so far barefoot on sand – must wear shoes from now on.

Oct. 19th – Now that is more like it! Don’t know if I’m losing weight, but bottom is improving. Am running and walking now. I had to run - the walking was too slow. Two Monarch Butterflies landed in front of me today. That has to be a good omen right?

Oct. 23rd -Something is wrong with my foot.  Running two days ago I stepped into a hole obscured by the uneven sand and fell. After limping around for a minute I felt fine and walked the rest of my distance. The next morning it hurt - bad, and still hurts today.  I'm back to walking - almost limping at times. I keep thinking - What happens when you have to walk 10,000 steps a day for water and you hurt your leg?  No water I guess.  No water and no time to heal.  This foot tweak will go away in a few days.  I hope.

Oct. 29th - I was really groggy this morning when I pulled myself out of bed and thought, "Who is that skinny bitch staring at me?" Then I realized - 'Twas I!!! I was that skinny bitch staring at me in the bedroom mirror.  I don't know if I've lost any pounds but all this walking has definitely changed my proportions. Yes!  On the downside my foot is killing me.  Today I barely finished my 10,000 steps.  Only two more days and I promise foot - if you hold out - I will only swim and lift weights for two weeks.  If you're really good I will swim with the leg buoy...

Oct. 31st - The End.  Walking at least 10,000 steps every day I ended up walking 123.8 Km between Oct. 10th and Oct. 31st.  I slimmed up and muscled up so now a 10,000 step walk really doesn't bother me.  The last few days were difficult, as I was dealing with a messed up foot, but it already seems to be healing.  Most importantly, I gained perspective on the effort and energy  spent by people without access to safe water. It's amazing how time consuming that walk could be and I wasn't carrying a heavy bucket. Tomorrow I will make my donation to Walk4Water - from what I see on their website it looks like you can still sign up and participate. This volunteer project helped improve my personal health more than any other. Hopefully, it raised awareness about the scarcity of clean water in many countries (I know, at the very least, my family members and friends who walked with me now know how far some people must travel for water).  Two thumbs up.

*The only thing I didn’t do on this volunteer project was sign up for a fundraising page. I started to and then that familiar fundraising nausea began to bubble up my throat. I have an extreme aversion to fundraising, or more precisely, asking people for money. It started back in elementary school when my public school would force us to go door to door selling ugly Christmas paper or candy bars during the holidays to raise money for a new computer lab, gym, library wing, etc. Being a child on the government sponsored school lunch program I already felt like a beggar, going door to door begging for money was overkill. Given my psychosis I will just cough up some cash for this walk-a-thon, but for those of you who are great at raising money (and thank God there are those of you who are or nothing would ever get financed) I encourage you to do this project in all its glory - complete with the easy to fill out donations page.