Words by Imogen
Sunday 28th March marked the completion of CAFOD’s 40 days of Walking for Water, that is 400,000 steps since Ash Wednesday (17th February 2021). It’s been tough, enlightening and wholesome, and by far my favourite Lent so far. On the 13th February, I jumped on a Zoom call and met three other wonderful ladies who had decided to embark on the same journey – Bronagh, Rosalia and Kathie. Then over the course of 40 days we’ve sent each other photos, motivational quotes and humble reflections. They’ve helped make this meaningful time all the more enjoyable.
Rosalia has lived in Burley for 11 years with her husband and three sons, and has raised a brilliant £525. Due to the busy everyday lives of having three sons doing dancing, football and singing with the Leeds Cathedral choir, the pandemic and Walk for Water became an opportunity for Rosalia and her husband to explore every nook and cranny of Burley. Throughout the 40 days Rosalia has put really thoughtful reflections in our Whatsapp group about how eye opening this experience has been.
‘’This has definitely been the most thought-provoking Lent I’ve taken part in.’’
Below are a couple of my favourite photos that Rosalia has taken on her walks. It’s been so lovely to not only see how the walks are impacting others but to also get a glimpse of the world through their eyes as we walk for the same cause.
The same goes for the wonderful Kathie, her husband and their cute dog Noodles who have lived in Bramhope for 8 years. Their long walks for Walk for Water and the pandemic have meant that Kathie and her family now know each and every path by heart. When reflecting on the journey her and her family have taken over the 40 days, you could really see how grounding they’d found the experience.
‘’I’ve begun noticing the scenes around us in different lights and appreciating the tranquillity of the colour of nature and the beautiful birdsongs. It’s impacted who I am in the day and has reminded me of what really matters. I feel so appreciative of the simplicity of life, it was almost like a curtain lifting and now I can see beyond this daily bubble that we’re in. It’s made me feel more grateful to God for his help and what he’s gifted us.’’
Kathie has raised a fantastic £546, and below are a couple of my favourite snapshots from her travels. How cute are those lambs!
For the lovely Bronagh, Walk for Water has helped her and her family to also appreciate simplicity, particularly at a time when the media wants people to be more materialistic to increase happiness. However, friendship is more important and even Bronagh’s kids talk about Abdella in Ethiopa, every day on their walks, discussing the struggles he has to endure to access water.
‘’Whenever anyone asks where we’re off to my kids always say ‘oooh we’re walking for water’!’’
From very early on in the walk Bronagh reflected on how grateful and amazing it is to have so many sources of water so nearby for us in Yorkshire, you don’t have to travel far at all to find a puddle, a beck or a river. Abdella on the other hand has to travel for hours on end for access to a puddle that is also being shared with other communities and the animals nearby.
‘’I’ve realised that I’m really spiritual and that these walks have almost felt like pilgrimages, which is really cathartic.’’
Bronagh and her family have raised an amazing £1210! When choosing my favourite photos that Bronagh has sent over the walk, it wasn’t tricky to pick this wonderful postbox with a hat. So stylish.
The last 40 days have meant a lot for me. I chose to take part because I thought it would be a way for me to help make a difference, safely. Little did I know that not only would I meet a sweet group of ladies but I’d also finish the challenge with a refreshing new outtake on our world and my life.
I’ve really enjoyed trying to notice the small, beautiful things that make our beautiful environment. In particular the ‘Burley Banksy’ objects with painted electrical boxes, and signposts that made my walks more colourful. I was very aware that Abdella is probably so at peace with his environment, as he must take the same route day after day. Due to this, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just absent-mindedly walking but taking notice of all the surroundings and being really in touch with how each 10,000 steps has made me feel day after day.
Also, because I am in my first year of university, I noticed how tricky it is to do so much walking and still have enough energy for the rest of the day. It becomes very apparent that people like Abdella would really struggle helping their family to survive whilst trying to have a life of his own.
I of course couldn’t finish this blog without first showing you my favourite images from my own camera roll. Meet Steve the Dinosaur.
So, after 40 days of sporadic weather, sore feet, and blossoming daffodils, we’ve been left with a beautiful view of life and a grateful attitude. It’s been so lovely to see Walk for Water bring the community together, not only with people taking part but with donations and so many people sharing the message of helping others.
‘’It’s amazing how one small decision to take part in this event has led to so many bigger and wonderful outcomes.’’