Attracting 4,500 runners and raising $250,000, last weekend’s Run for Water event was another resounding success, funding projects to provide clean drinking water for villages in Ethiopia. Once again, the big race day took place under persistent showers, but as in previous years, participants turned out with resolve and smiles.
This has become one of Abbotsford’s signature events, showcasing the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, and the generous spirit of thousands of globally minded people.
Invariably, though, there always seem to be some folks who struggle to understand why such effort should be undertaken here to help less fortunate people thousands of kilometres away, rather than in our own community, or even country.
Compassion for one’s fellow man aside, perhaps an observation of the pragmatic effects of such aid would encourage a more global view.
The basic necessities of water, food, shelter and health care are critical in order for the people of a developing country to elevate their standard of living.
Many Ethiopian women and children must trek for hours to fetch water for their families. In doing so, they miss out on an education.
Given that vital opportunity, those individuals are potential engineers, doctors and skilled tradespeople who would be key contributors to their country’s advancement.
A generation later, their children may well be providing vital assistance to other people needing a hand up.
Canadians are very generous, and there are countless initiatives and campaigns to meet the needs of our own citizens.
It doesn’t, nor shouldn’t, mean our eyes and hearts are always focused inward.
There is special value in thinking and acting globally. Sometimes the rewards are immediate, such as a sense of common human spirit and kindness. Other times, the objectives and results are long-term.
Ask the thousands of people who participate in Run for Water what it means to reach out.
They get it.