If I Could Walk Five Hundred Miles

My life currently revolves around how many steps I make. I no longer ask the children to run up and grab my phone, purse or ipad from next to the bed. In fact if anyone mentions that they’ve left anything upstairs I’ll quickly offer to get it  “I’ll get your shoes, it’ll kill a few a steps”. There is a mystified silence that takes over the room. I can almost hear them wondering what’s happened, if this is some sort of cruel joke. Where’s my real mother?

I park the car as far away from school as I can.

“Why did you park so far away?” one of the little travellers will moan dramatically while their feet drag along the ground.

All it takes is a raised eyebrow and one of them will say “oh yeah, 10,000 steps.”

I left a friends house the other night, while everyone else turned right, I turned left – “If I walk the long way it’ll kill a few steps.”

10,000 steps in my very comfortable life, requires planning. 10,000 steps means walking the dog, getting on the treadmill for 45 minutes, and then walking the dog again. 10,000 steps means walking after dinner while the kids ride their bikes in circles around me. 10,000 steps means running up and down the stairs four times before the movie starts.

On Sunday I walked 12,000 steps and proudly shared my athletic self righteousness with anyone who would listen. And then I read the story of Ang.

Ang lives in Laos and is a 45 year old widow, she has three children and agreed to wear a pedometre for a week. Here’s her steps:

Day 1: 95,511 steps (around 60 km)
Day 2: 51,000 steps (around 30km)
Day 3: 81,000 steps (around 50km)
Day 4: 63,690 steps (around 40km)
Day 5: 62,650 steps (around 40km)

The first day, the day when she walked nine times further than me, was to collect rice. That wasn’t the hard bit though – she then had to pound the rice by hand to remove the husks before she could feed it to her family. The other days, the “easier” days, are the days she walks for firewood, water and food.

As I wandered around the compound last night with G by my side and the children bouncing a basketball between them – I truly wondered how it all got so out of whack. How is it that I have a cupboard full of food and a choice of four supermarkets in a five mile radius? 95,511 steps? For rice?

I’ve got 4 more days to go. I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated. And to anyone else who wants to join in, every little bit counts, $5 is a huge difference.

Here’s the link to donate if you feel inclined to do so.


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  1. Wow. Great post. Really made me think.

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