Walk in Her Shoes

I first heard about CARE Australia’s Walk in Her Shoes Challenge a few weeks ago.

It’s an annual challenge to raise funds for CARE’s work in supporting women and girls living in poverty. Participants sign up to walk a certain amount over the week of 17-24 March. There are 3 levels:

  • 5,000 steps per day,
  • 10,000 steps per day or
  • 20,000 steps per day.

I’ve done a couple of 10,000 step challenges in the past and found them pretty easy – one year I managed 15,000 steps a day for 10 weeks, which was a stretch on some days, but fairly comfortable overall (until I got sick near the end).

So I thought if I was going to do this, I’d have to make it a challenge that would be difficult (i.e. A Challenge) and, since 15,000 steps a day wasn’t an option, I’d have to aim for 20,000.

This is double what I’m currently doing and according to the website is equivalent to 3 hours of walking a day.

You can probably imagine the internal debate that went on in my mind over this.

I won’t be able to do it. It’s too much time. No one will sponsor me anyway. I don’t have enough time to walk for 3 hours a day. It will probably rain for the whole week. I’LL FAIL!

My constructive side tried to shut off the negative little voice and started to think of the days where I already walk close to 20,000 steps and how simple it would be to add a few more minutes on those days and make the target. Then it started going through the other days, day by day and identified how I could fit more walking in on those days too.

“It’s only a week,” said this little voice, which is a much nicer one to have going off in my head than the negative one. “That’s only 7 days you have to put yourself out for. It’s for a good cause, and you’ll be committing to something that will be hard but that you are perfectly capable of doing.”

Then I remembered one of the statistics on CARE’s webpage that really caught my attention – their statement that “on average, in developing countries, women and girls travel over 6 kilometres every day collecting water. They carry around 15-20 litres per trip.”

It made me think about how really lucky I am to live in a country where I don’t have to walk somewhere to get water.  Many girls and women in communities that CARE help miss out on getting an education and working because they have to walk to collect food, water and firewood for their families.

So for a purely personal reason, even if I don’t raise a lot of money for this cause, I think that pushing myself physically will remind me of exactly how lucky I am and perhaps help me to be more grateful for what I have.  Looking at it that way, a week of my life is a small price to pay. And if I can contribute in a small way to helping some women and girls in developing countries, then that’s a good thing.

So I did it. I signed up and committed myself to the 20,000 steps challenge and now I’m a bit terrified I won’t make it.

I have a couple of weeks to see if Nice Voice’s ideas will work. If not, you might be seeing me walking round the streets late at night, checking my pedometer to see if I’ve got there yet.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have some training to do.

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