CAFOD Middlesbrough’s community participation coordinator CAROL CROSS introduces this year’s Lent Challenge, Walk for Water…
It’s raining outside today, it’s cold and grey and my garden is flooded. I look out of the window with a sense of sadness and irony, just a temporary inconvenience.
I have an abundance of water within and outside my home unlike Abdella, the focus of our Lent story and the inspiration for our Lent Challenge – Walk for Water.
When my colleague, Mark Chamberlain met him in 2019 in Afar, Ethiopia, one of the hottest and driest places on earth, he said: “I am wasting my life. I am a young man, I should be doing something else.”
These were hard words to hear. Abdella, lives in an extremely remote and mountainous part of Ethiopia. It is one of the hottest places on earth with temperatures soaring into the mid-40s as the sun rises.
He spends nearly all his time collecting water just to keep his family alive. He walks for ten hours a day and is shattered. He has no time to lead the life he wants, he must keep walking.
Abdella told him: “The journey for water is so long. We have to leave early from the village while it is still dark. I feel tired, I feel hungry. It is very boring. It is hard but I have no choice. I walk through the dried-out riverbed, then climb into the mountains, then down into a valley, then climb another mountain to finally get to the water.”
Each journey takes him five hours and he does it twice a day. He has no time or energy to do anything else.
Abdella is 23 and he has big dreams. He dreams of starting a small business. He dreams of starting a family. He knows that if there was water near his home, his family wouldn’t have to worry any more about getting enough to stay alive. And he could start on the dreams he has for the rest of his life.
The journey for water is so long. We have to leave early from the village while it is still dark. I feel tired, I feel hungry. It is very boring. It is hard but I have no choice.Abdella
CAFOD is working with people in poverty around the world. There are millions of people like Abdella – one in three people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water.
With your help, we can reach out and make a powerful difference to many people. By supporting our Family Fast Day through your parish or school, you are giving hope to many people.
Family Fast Day is on Friday February 26.
Will you go the extra mile this Lent?
Could you join Abdella in solidarity and Walk for Water?
Would you sign up to take 10,000 steps a day for 40 days throughout Lent to raise awareness and funds? They can be walked, run, skipped, hopped or even danced if you prefer. Maybe you know someone who would like to join you too?
If you are unable to take on the 40-day challenge, perhaps you might join our Big Walk for Water on Saturday February 20 at 2 pm, walking alongside Abdella as part of our virtual event? Maybe you encourage others to join, your friends, parishioners or family?
Let’s get involved in the fight against poverty. Visit cafod.org.uk/walk for more information and to see other ways you can take part this Lent.
If you wish to make a donation you can text LENT 10 to 70460 to give £10 – enough for a sturdy water container to store clean water safely.