Oct 7 2010

ëMagic belt’ makes Ecuador walkerís pain disappear

Bill Hansen, accounting manager at CFCA in Kansas City, joined Bob and the walkers in Ecuador during Aug. 15-21. An avid runner, Bill had every intention of completing the route without incident, but had a surprising setback at the end of the week.

Bob Hentzen and Bill Hansen

Bob Hentzen, left, and Bill Hansen, center, continue along Walk2gether with their “magic belts.”

I joined the walk in Quito. Just outside Quito, we crossed the equator and had about a 6-to-7-mile uphill walk.

The terrain got steeper as we approached the top. On the other side of the mountains, we saw trees and mountains. It reminded me a lot of the Missouri Ozarks.

For the next two days, we walked through the Andes and fortunately, it was all downhill.

We saw cows. I donít know how they would get on top of these mountains, grazing, or how they would get down, but it reminded me a lot of Switzerland.

For two days, we didnít see any houses or any people. We saw traffic, of course.

When we arrived at the bottom of that mountain range, we entered the Ecuadorian rain forest. I saw a lot of palm trees, banana trees and coffee plants.

Thatís when we started seeing people. We saw poverty, too. We were walking seven 5K segments, or about 21 miles a day.

On Friday, we came to a community called Porto de Quito where we started walking uphill into the Ecuadorian pineapple growing range. Thatís when I had the experience with my back.

Iíve been running for about five years and I have never had any problem with my back. Everyone told me to watch out for blisters.

I was watching my feet, wiping them off, putting lotion on them, changing socks and I had no problems at all. I was in good shape and feeling good.

When I first felt the pain in my back, I thought I could walk it off. Sometimes when youíre running, you get a cramp in your muscle.

You run through it and it goes away. But this wasnít going away. By noon on Friday, my back had had it.

Magic belts

During a rest period, I was waiting in the van, discouraged and very depressed.

When I started planning my participation in the walk last February, it never dawned on me that I wouldnít be able to do the whole week. My back has never bothered me.

I prayed and told God how I felt.

ìWhy did you bring me this far just to stop it here?î I asked.

Bob came out of the camper to start the walk again. I knew at that point I wouldnít be able to go any farther.

Before I could say anything, Bob came up to me and asked, ìHow are you feeling?î

ìMy backís had it,î I said. ìIím really, really sorry.î

ìWait a minute,î Bob said.

He went into his camper. That was really strange because when Bob gets out of his camper to go again, he doesnít stop for anything. I knew something was up.

He brought out this back belt with two straps that go around your shoulders and an elastic band that goes around your midsection.

You tighten the elastic band around your midsection and it feels like somebody is pushing up on the small of your back.

The minute I put it on, it was instant relief. I didnít feel the pain at all. It completely went away.

We started walking, and I thought, ìWow! This is great.î It was the key.

I walked all day Friday and all day Saturday. I wore the belt both days and had no problems whatsoever. I would not have been able to finish the walk without that belt.

Some people call it the ìmagic belt.î It really is a magic belt. I was able to finish the whole week. It was an answer to prayer.

Bob Hentzen comments:

I believe the magic part of the belt is the fact that it was given to me as a gift in love and concern by our CFCA co-workers in Ocotepeque, Honduras.

Experience has taught me that on these daily long treks, one’s back can suffer from the constant muscular effort made in the same direction.

I have found two solutions: change one’s stride on a regular basis, and use some kind of support for the lower back. This is what I believe helped Peter (Ndungo, Nairobi, Kenya, project coordinator) and Bill.

It also helped Maria Mejias from Venezuela, and presently it is being used by Don Juan, a 61-year-old walker from Peru.

There are two belts. One I use, and the other magically finds its way to whoever needs it.

Greetings to all.

0 thoughts on “ëMagic belt’ makes Ecuador walkerís pain disappear”

  1. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your patience as we researched more about the belt! We actually don’t have the name of it since the Ocotepeque, Honduras, staff bought it as a gift for Bob.

    For those of you who are interested in something like this, there are plenty of online places that sell back support belts. A Google search for “back support brace” will bring up many results. As Bob says, the magic part of it likely stems from the love and support that went into the gift.

    Shanxi Omoniyi, web editor and writer
    Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA)

  2. Hi Bob,
    Our thoughts and good wishes go to you and your walking companions. We also have a bit of envy for the exercise and adventure you are experiencing.
    Our best to CFCA.
    Paul and Madeline

  3. I’m please you are traveling through Ecuador. My sponsored student, Luis Alberto, live in Quito. If you see him, give him my love.

  4. Never will we forget the beauty of you and Christina coming over the mountain in Honduras on the walk in January, Bob. It still brings tears to my eyes when I picture it. So wonderful to see you, Christina, Miriam, Luis and Juan Ramon as you walked with God’s special people. We love you all and are so proud to call you our friends.

  5. Keep up the good walk…many prayers go out to Bill, Bob and all the people who walk with them.
    I too would be intrested in this magic belt, where do you get them?

    1. Hi Ken, Bill, Ed and Nancy,

      Thanks for your interest in the “magic belt”! We appreciate your prayers and support.

      We’re in the process of contacting CFCA staff in the field to find out the name of the belt that Bob uses. Once we have more information, I’ll let you know.

      Shanxi Omoniyi, web editor and writer
      Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA)

  6. Thanks for the great article about great CFCA people. It would be wonderful if we could be provided with specifics on the back brace and where it may be purchased.

  7. we’ve following you since the beginning of your walk. what a wonderful gift God gave us. Everyday we prayed for your safety. You are our inspiration why we live happy.what you support us will never fade away it’s already in our blood. We miss you, your song together with sir paul everytime we talk about you we laugh and poverty fades away. We love you and we’ll wait for you.

    Thank you,

  8. God Bless you Bob. I hope you are doing well. I hope you saw our blog entry about our Nicaragua MAT in August. God Bless you on your walk and those who are with you. Paz.

  9. Hola All,
    Wow Ecuador, there is somewhere I would like to see. I was just in Costa Rica so I know how you could fall in love with that country. You are all doing such a great job and showing the world what people who care look like!~ SO PROUD!

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