Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Walking, wondering and not walking at all

We all walk.

I walk every day. I also lie. I don't walk every day, as in I don't take the dogs for a walk every day. Poor boys, in this season of tax returns and desperate seeking of extra work and working to pay the tax bill, they are the losers. Four-legged-friend was looking distinctly skinny in his hind legs, when I brushed his coat while he wolfed down his supper this evening (he tries to eat the brush if I take it near him at any other time, so meal times have become grooming times). Oddly, I lose out on the walking too, but this fails to have the same effect on my 'skinniness'...

Anyway, we all walk.

We walked on Christmas day -

Littlest and I walked at the weekend -


Time to appreciate the trees. Time to encourage the smelly boys into the freezing water. Time for the sun to go down. Time to walk very, very slowly - Littlest's finger phone was engaged throughout in deep discussion with the zoo warden - daddy bear apparently - and in giving him instructions to feed the giraffes and heffalumps. And to check his cupboard for hot chocolate powder. Imagination is a wonderful gift.

So I walk, Littlest walks, Bertie Baggins and Four-legged-friend walk. We all walk. Most, if not every, day.

But we don't. My 'all' ignores those who can't walk. Those whose limbs don't work. Those for whom exercise isn't something to choose whether or not you have the time or can be bothered to do, but is instead a dream. A dream that would allow them to be as free as the rest of us. That would liberate them from a lonely life at home. In the developed world, those of us who can walk can rest fairly comfortably in the knowledge that those who can't do have access to the aids that make their lives and the journeys through their lives possible. But in the developing world, those who can't walk face a bleak existence. Where transport is hit and miss at best and often dependent on jumping onto a 'matatu' or taxi-van and holding on, with no nod to any thoughts of health and safety or disabled access, and health care is both limited and distant , being unable to walk is a life sentence to isolation from community, friends and tragically family. Unless ...

Unless you are a teenager with a dream. Yes, that isn't a typo - I do mean teenager. And specifically you dream of setting up a charity to take wheelchairs to these 'people who can't walk'. And in the Oriana Project your dream becomes a reality.

Loads of things make me cry: the last ten minutes of Notting Hill do it every time, the end of the Lumpy Movie (a disney version of Winnie the Pooh plus heffalumps), Les Miserables (I'm reaching for the tissues with the first note), when the internet collapses half way through submitting my tax return and I have to start again and it's too early in the day for a gin, when my children sing 'Castle on a cloud' to me (I have a thing about Les Mis) - all these and the story of the Oriana project. Read it. Cry perhaps. And be inspired.

And wonder at how until now you took walking for granted.

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