Emily Steffan and Emily Jane MacDougall truly embraced the spirit of the African Water Walk on Friday when they placed a bottle of water each above their heads and were the only two people who walked the entire two kilometre distance in that position with their school.
Despite being tired and feeling their arms start to slip, Steffan and MacDougall kept their arms up high for the entire walk.
“I felt like my shoulders just dropped to the ground,” said MacDougall referring to what it felt when they arrived back at the school and could put their bottles down.
MacDougall was empathizing with the African women.
“I just wanted to feel how it was to be an African lady.” ~ Emily Jane MacDougall
“I just wanted to feel how it was to be an African lady,” she said.
Steffan added that women in Africa walked for over five hours in search of water.
The walk, which included all students at Russell Langmaid Public School, saw approximately 100 students parading around Streetsville with bottles of water to symbolize the buckets that the African women would carry. Some parts of the walk included an ascent of a fairly steep slope.
Teresa Suppa, the Halton/Peel regional representative of World Vision, said that the walk was a pilot project and “something for students to actively participate in” and for them to know “what it feels like for people in Africa to carry water across a distance”. She hopes to include most schools in the region by September.
The whole of Cooksville Creek public school’s 540 strong student population had also participated in a similar walk earlier in the day.
Students donated a Toonie for the chance to participate in the walk and the money raised went to help the drilling of water wells in Africa.
Steffan also said that she would try a longer walk to “see how long [she’ll] last”.