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9th Annual Walking for Water 5-10 K
Kelsi Faley, a junior officer in the National Honor Society, can’t imagine having to walk miles to find clean water with which to bath and drink. “We are so spoiled in this country that people just take water for granted,” she says.
Faley, a student at Heritage High School in Leesburg, will volunteer for the fifth time this year in the 9th Annual Walk for Water to raise monies to build wells in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa.The Walk will be held Saturday, May 12th, 8:30 a.m., at Morven Park’s Equestrian Center, 41793 Tutt Lane.
The Walk, sponsored by Wisdom Spring, Inc. and students from Heritage High School Tuscarora High School and Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, and Stonebridge High School in Ashburn, raises money to bring the water of life to indigenous villages in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and other parts of West Africa. This year, a well is scheduled to be built in Kenya.
Since 2004, the Walk has raised over $240,000 to build 24 wells in Burkina Faso, where drought is a continuous reality.
According to African ritual teacher Sobonfu Some’, founder of Wisdom Springs, which raises money for wells, medicine and education in Burkina Faso, the goal of this year’s walk is $100,000. “We want to help preserve the culture of the Dagara people of Burkina Faso, who are very connected to the natural world.
”They are a people who carry an ancient wisdom and an understanding of the great cycles of the earth. Yet, the villagers have faced not only droughts due to a constant shortage of rain, but droughts of medicine and education,” said Some.
The Annual Walk for Water is the brainchild of Kristen Karinshak, a former Heritage High School student, who came up with the idea after hearing Some’ give a talk to students about her village. Presently, women and small children walk up to 6 hours to bring fresh water to their village with which to bath, cook and drink. According to The World Health Organization, about 45% of Burkina Faso’s children die before the age of 5.
According to Susan Hough, the coordinator of the walk, “We are excited that more than 25 teens will be helping to plan this year’s walk. In addition to learning selfless service, they are using their passion to help resolve a crisis in another country along with helping to preserve an ancient culture.
According to Faley, “I don’t think people understand when you tell them that women and childen have to walk miles for water. They ask ‘Can’t they just get water from a stream and put it in the water filter?’ I have to explain there is not water at all because of the drought.
“I can’t imagine being a little kid walking miles to get water, then getting to a wall and finding it dry and then having to walk further. Water is just a basic need, and people shouldn’t have to worry about having access to it.”
Faley said that students can receive credit towards the 90 volunteer hours that high school students must acquire, but “ many of us do it because we want to,” she says.
The students have approached several business for donations, food and prizes for the event, “and some are even coming to set up booths,” said the student. “A church is donating a moon bounce and generator, and we are going to have a fair, with face painting and other activities to get younger kids involved.”
More than 700 participants are expected this year, and people who cannot walk can sponsor a walker at the cost of $20 for adults and $10 for students. Participants are welcome to bring dogs on leashes. A highlight of this year’s Walk will be an obstacle course competition between the two schools.
The 10K and 5K Walk is sanctioned by The American Volkssport Association (AVA), and participants are eligible for credits from The International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV).
People interested in registering for the Walk may register by mail through May 5th by sending a tax deductible check payable to Wisdom Spring, Inc., PO Box 542, Leesburg, VA 20178. People may register online through June 3rd at www.wisdomspringinc.org.
They also may register on-site on the day of the walk.