I sponsor a boy called Girma in Stand by Me’s school in Bekoji, Ethiopia. He loves football and is pictured wearing a shirt I bought him. A planned visit to help with some practical projects has understandably been postponed, but I hope to visit him soon.
Stand by Me rescues children from terrible circumstances and cares for them through homes, schools and care centres. Due to the coronavirus, Stand by Me’s schools have been closed for the safety of the children. But this means that the children are missing out on their lifeline of daily meals they usually receive at school. With their families too poor to provide food at home, malnourishment and even starvation are a very real danger. To ensure that no child goes hungry, Stand by Me is distributing essential food parcels to each family in their care. The parcels contain a month’s supply of food, soap and charcoal to cook with and cost £40. Stand by Me has already distributed over 1000 parcels but they hope to continue to support families for the next 6 months so that the children and their family can stay safe at home through the pandemic.
With a population of only around 20,000, Bekoji has spawned an astonishing number of long distance runners who have clocked up approaching 20 Olympic medals and over 30 World Championships.
I can’t run any more but I can row a bit. In lockdown, my conservatory in Chester now doubles as a gym and I’m having a go at long-distance rowing. Over several weeks, I aim to row 1,000 km. That’s the distance from John O’ Groats to Land’s End as the crow flies (‘puffin’ is probably more appropriate!). Okay so you have to cross a lot of water by that route, but I’m rowing so that’s fine! I’m averaging a half marathon each day, 5 days per week, progressively stepping up the distance to row a full marathon (42.2km) on the last day. If I stay healthy and my bum can find forgiveness towards me, I aim to arrive in Land’s End in early June.
I’m 40 years younger than Captain Tom but still no spring chicken and I have a reputation for being allergic to rowing machines (10 to 20 mins max until now). So I’m ‘pushing’ out of my comfort zone – quite literally. But it’s a small discomfort if I can inspire you to join me to Stand by Girma and many others to help feed them through this crisis.
Thank you for any support you can give. Dave.