The following is from Natasha Sims, CFCA web editor, who is currently in Central America participating in Walk2gether.
Jan. 11, 2010
Today the El Salvador mission awareness trip participants and I joined Walk2gether. We didnít leave at 4 a.m. like the walk team and Bob did. We met them about 15 kilometers in, right around 8:35 a.m.
The 10 of us trickled into the line, meeting some CFCA staff and families for the first time. The morning weather was still slightly chilly from the unseasonably cold night, but the sun was quickly working the chill out of the air.
I didnít know what to expect when we began the day. I was still trying to decide how to best cover the walk and share it with those who cannot experience it in person. In the end, I just decided to let the walk lead me, and a story would find me. And, a story did find me, many stories in fact.
Take Veron, for example. Veron is the project coordinator for CFCA’s Manila project in the Philippines. She is walking through Central America with Bob, both to represent her country in the walk and also her son, who is unable to walk. When she speaks about her 6-year-old, thereís a soft look on her face that tells me she is not entirely in El Salvador, but also 14 hours away at her home in the Philippines.
Veron overcame many obstacles to participate in the walk with ìSir Bob,î as she calls him, and now she adds a steady, soothing presence to the walk.
ìAnother 40 kilometers done,î she said at the end of the day.
Then there is Harry, a sponsor from Wisconsin. Harry has met Bob on several mission awareness trips. He is fully committed to CFCA and his sponsored children. I pulled out my audio recorder to document a sponsorís view of the walk, but he was so choked with emotion before I finished my first question that he only managed to say this:
ìThis is the biggest thing I have ever done in my life, and Bob does this every day.î
Harry and I spoke several times during the walk and the rest stops, trading stretching tips and chatting about light topics. At the end of the walk, however, he smiled at me with tears in his eyes and said he might not be able to do that interview after all. Thatís OK, Harry. Your eyes say it all, anyway.
At the 20-kilometer mark, I spoke briefly with Jose Francisco, a quiet man and the father of four sponsored children. ìWhich children?î I asked. He pointed at the two children I had just taken a picture of. They were giggling over my notepad, writing their names for me. I told Jose Francisco that I would like a picture of him with his family, meaning the two children. He sadly told me that only four of his 8 children were there. So I took a picture of him with his four children, and his wife and mother-in-law, who were also there, as it turns out. I took several photos of them but the one I like the best is the one in which I caught them laughing with each other. It isnít perfect ñ the grandmotherís eyes are closed and Dina isnít looking at the camera, but you can see the love they have for each other.
The final 10 kilometers of the walk were along a busy, noisy highway. We walked single-file, which gave us time for some internal reflection. I thought about all those I had spoken with through the day, and decided that Bob was right.
Walk2gether really is about the people.