My Walk for Elephants
I began my walk with a lie. Rosie asked me, “Do you walk?” I said yes. Of course I walk. I walk to the fridge, I walk to the bus stop, I walk in and out of stores and restaurants, I even walk a couple of miles a week on a treadmill, but I don’t think that was the kind of walking she was talking about. I lied because I didn’t want to make her nervous. I didn’t want her to think I might not be able to do it. Mainly because I thought I might not be able to do it, and I didn’t need both of us worried.
So why did someone that doesn’t walk decide to walk 70 miles in the Texas heat? I met Rosie Plaia on the Saturday that she started her walk from Austin to Houston. She told me about Crosby Kelly and how important it was to both of them to meet their goal of raising $10,000. Crosby spent her summer walking Town Lake of Austin spreading awareness and collecting donations to stop elephant poaching. I was reminded of myself when I was younger, when I was Crosby’s age the best I could do for animal rights was get a list of companies that tested on animals and call to harass the receptionist asking, “Why do you test your products on animals?” I thought I was making a difference because I didn’t know any better. Even now as I’m approaching 31 it’s hard to know how one person can make a difference, but this 9-year old figured it out. She figured it out and all of us grownups snowballed into action behind her.
I met up with Rosie on Monday night in Brenham, TX. We walked along the highway starting early in the morning until about 3 in the afternoon. The heat caught up with us each morning around 10. Rosie’s mother, Lois, drove ahead of us about 2 miles and waited for us to walk up to her. The trunk of her green Toyota Avalon was stocked with water, fruit, ice, coconut water, blister strips, extra pairs of socks and anything else we might need along the way. The more tired I became, the more encouraging it was to see that car on the horizon. I would think, “Yes! Two more miles down!”
Rosie hurt her leg early on in her trip, while we were walking her hip kept dislocating. The mornings were okay, but as the day wore on she would stop several times a mile because of the pain. I kept asking her, “Are you going to make it?” Her only response was, “I have to.” I was worried about her but in a strange way it kind of kept me going. When I got tired or my muscles ached I thought to myself, “This woman has a dislocated hip and has been out here three days longer.” Then I kept walking because we had to finish.
In total, Rosie walked about 160 miles and I walked about 70. I did eventually come clean and tell Rosie the truth about how often I walk. What’s really important though is that Crosby’s goal of $10,000 for the Gallman African Conservancy was met. Ten Thousand Villages will present our check this Saturday at our Elephant Appreciation Day Celebration at 11:00 am at the store on S. Congress. Besides donating $3,299.38 to Different Rhythm Foundation, they will also be giving 25% off all handcrafts featuring elephants.
I am so happy to have been able to help Crosby meet her goal and I am excited to hear about her next cause!