When I was at the Prosthetics Outreach Foundation at the beginning of my campaign I heard stories about people in Sierra Leone who lost a limb during their violent 10-year civil war. I saw a picture of a man who’s leg had been violently amputated by a machete by the rebels. He had been left for dead, but his indomitable spirit kept him alive. Today, with support from the Prosthetics Outreach Foundation’s sustainable program to make and provide legs to the many amputees in Sierra Leone, this man is walking and working again and contributing to his community.
Because of the earthquake in Haiti, an estimated 4,000 people lost a limb. The POF has added Haiti to their list of world-wide countries in which they provide limbs to people who need them. I think of these Haitian amputees nearly everyday on my walk. Are their wounds healing well? Do they have crutches to use while they wait for a leg? Can they get around at all?
I am humbled by the amputees in Sierra Leone and Haiti. I can’t even compare myself to them. Their trauma has been so encompassing, so wide-reaching. I try to imagine their lives and I can’t.
Sometimes I wonder how a woman in Bellingham, Washington can make a difference in the lives of these people. But I have to believe I can. If I doubt my ability to make a difference then I don’t know what I will tell my children when it’s time for them to go out into the world to make their mark.
I do what I can, one step at a time. One of my favorite songs is “Calling All Angels” by Jane Siberry. In her angelic voice, she sings, “It’s one foot then the other as you step out onto the road.” That’s all any of us can really do, walk our personal paths of passion, one step at a time, with faith that the path ahead will lead us to our destination. I trust that walking my daily mile matters. Even though they don’t know that I’m doing this for them, for me, it’s enough to know I am walking for the Haitians and all the other amputees who otherwise won’t walk again.