POST FROM CLAIRE EVERHART
Sunday January 16, 2011
Today as we ran through the Sidamo region I tried to imagine my life as an Ethiopian. Am I a child? Did my mother wake my 7 brothers and sisters and I from our curled positions on the dirt floor of our hut and tell some of us to go fetch water from 10 miles away? Are we lucky enough to have a donkey to help carry the water jugs? How many jugs are we blessed enough to have? Will the wheel my older brothers fixed yesterday make the trip there and back? Am I a single mother struggling to support 5 children alone? Am I a coffee farmer working to support my family, while being paid very little for the beans I grow?
With the help of an interpreter, one of the Ethiopian runners with us, Bekelish, told us through tears that she once lived just like the impoverished children we see every day. Her mother died when she was very young and her father struggled to support her and her five brothers and one sister. She was too upset to say more. Just as easily as I have been born into my life, I could have come into this world in Bekelish’s situation, and she into mine. Who am I to never have to worry about my next meal? Who am I to always have money for toothpaste and a toothbrush? Who am I to afford running shoes? I do not deserve these things more than Bekelish. (She is on the far right in this photo.)
Bekelish’s story is one of millions, and many are much worse. As we run through such poverty every day, a feeling of helplessness often overtakes me. Our world is too broken. There are too many suffering people, there is too much to fix, it just cannot be done. I am reminded of an applicable saying, “The fact that we cannot solve all of the world’s problems does not absolve us of the responsiblity to fix the ones that we can.” Building schools through On the Ground’s “Run Across Ethiopia” is a huge first step. But let us not stop here. Our responsibility extends much further.
To return to our website click this link, www.runacrossethiopia.org