Sunday, June 23, 2019

29. The Walk

This weekend I did my sponsored walk! I have been practising in the gym in the evenings with my family. This week, I had been using my walking frame to do small laps in the garden, so I knew I could go the distance. At the weekend, the plan wasn't to use my frame, but for me to be supported by my mum and dad, which I was fine with. I have just started practising walking with one person, the physio on my left side, so I knew two wouldn't be a problem.

My dad had already done this year's walk 3 times as he  helped organise it, and scouted out the route. It's in aid of WatSan, a small charity working in the North Kigezi and Kinkiizi districts of west Uganda, organised and run by local people, with a fund-raising team in England headed up by my dad's godparents. The Walk for Water happens every 2 years in England, (I've been in 4 out of 5), and has been mirrored locally in Uganda. Dad was actually doing the Walk's first recce when he received the news that I had been admitted to hospital. Being out of mobile range in rural Somerset, the message was batted around, until his godfather happened to stray into a wifi zone, and was able to pass the word on. They finished the walk as quickly as possible and one of his friends drove with him up to Sheffield.

Nine months later, to the day, I said I would walk 100 steps. At 8:00am-ish, the people who planned to walk 20 miles set off. There were tea-breaks, skillfully managed, every 5 miles, so we were able to meet up with the group, and both my mum and sister got to walk 5 miles each (they were mainly accompanying me). Dad led the whole thing. Our designated lunch spot was on the green of a local national trust property, whuch had some roads my dad said would be good for me to walk on. Once dad arrived at the house, we got started. We had all the walkers as an audience (and a few other random visitors to the house). The path was actually not ideal, as it sloped gently downwards, which I hadn't practised before, so I was a bit nervous.

I could tell something was wrong as soon as I started walking. Tense, my left ankle was really playing up and twisting inwards. Good job a physio wasn't watching, as they would have been squirming. I think going downhill was not helping. Despite wearing an ankle support, I ended up walking like I had a bit of a club-foot. The support probably stopped me from spraining my ankle which I was one of my concerns. I walked 120 steps in the end, across a handy line built into the road, and under the WatSan Walk for Water sign. It was very encouraging hearing cheers from the crowd, (most of whom didn't know me or know what I was doing). The property's café worker even took a photo for the national trust, it being put out this was the furthest I'd ever walked.

There were other parts of the weekend I enjoyed. We stayed in log cabins, (an adapted one), in an outward-bounds kind of camp. We got to hear about how WatSan works practically, on the ground. Two of the charity's organisers joined us from Uganda, and told us about how they are building water pumps and latrine blocks, and giving sanitation and hygiene lessons. Joanna and I won a quiz about water consumption. We'd love to say it's our intimate knowledge of our water habits in Europe Vs rural Africa, and not just brilliant educated guesses at multiple choice. We were told if we were to remember one fact, it was that the provision of supplying safe drinking water per head in rural Uganda was around £20 each (as opposed to thousands here in the UK). The cost is mainly due to the price of cement, and transporting it to remote locations. The weekend weather was amazing. It was a lovely walk, and about 50 people took part, children and grandparents included. In total, my family has raised about £1,000 in doing this walk, and the total target sponsorship is  £25,000.



  1. Thank you so much Elizabeth. 1st news of you since your dad stopped sending the blog.I'm so please at the progress--well done you! You must be a very strong & determined young lady. Thanks be to God for your recovery. I'm praying on for you. Love Ruth( your dad's parents led me to to Christ in 1966. X

  2. Well done Elizabeth! Excellent and very comprehensive report, and lovely photo. Glad you mentioned the cost per head of Watsan projects.Just one point, the aim of the Walk is to raise £25000 for Kihihi Hill school water and sanitation improvements. Not clear yet if we will achieve this ambitious target.
    Thanks so much for coming and for this wonderful report.

    Ian & Ellie

  3. Waooo...I must say with all humility that I felt speechless after reading all the words in the post. I am so thankful to God that I could see you my dear sister Elizabeth being joined by your sister Joan, Dad and Mum as you did the walk. To be sincere, I almost gave up the walk because I reached a moment and could hardly walk. But when I saw you particularly walk the 120 steps I purposed that no matter what i will have to move on and press on to the end. More so, Your Dad, Andrew also challenged me in a way that after seeing you in such conditions that he was determined to give us the direction through the ups and downs.. what a challenge from the Starr family that was!!!! May God continue to use you for His glory.

    Correction On Paragraph 2: a small charity working in the North Kigezi and Kinkiizi Dioceses of west Uganda, not "Districts"

    Otherwise, thanks and pledge to keep following you and praying for you always. Many Blessings