Saturday, 28 August 2010
Today for the third year running that supporters of Wish For Africa united together to champion, celebrate and shout out loud their loyalty to the cause.
I picked up Femi and we drove to Thamesmead to prepare for the walk. We had already been blessed the sun was shining after a week of rain. Folakemi and Lola were already there so we began to set out the publicity banners and prepared the T-shirts ready for the arrival of the walkers.
Soon everyone started to arrive and adorn their Wish For Africa, a sight that Morrison shoppers could hardly ignore. The photo shoot began to capture to excitement and mood of the day.
At round 10.15 the first cluster of walkers set off for the 5 mile walk along the Thames Path. Letting them go ahead the second group set off by 10.30 at a steady pace. We were a mass of red, white and blue strolling along by the Thames with sounds of talking and laughter.
I was in the second group which also included Dayo Olumo, Obonjo Comedian, among many others. The children on bikes and scooters were surging ahead excited and happy. As soon as we got to the Thames Path Danni Cooper set off to run the course, we sent her off with a cheer.
As we got to about the half way mark Danni came running back past us. When we approached the Woolwich skateboard park once again we could see the dominant red of the walkers awaiting our arrival.
Everyone was in a buoyant mood and it was so nice to gather and meet with many of your Facebook friends. Crisps, chocolates, Chin chin (a Nigerian sweet biscuit that I had not had before), drinks were handed out to all that had walked at the refreshment stop.
Femi then took centre stage and reminded everyone the importance of the day. He talked about the struggles and issues of health care in Nigeria and how backing Wish For Africa can help make a world of difference to those that can’t even afford to eat let-a-loan purchase health care. How Wish For Africa wants to make health care local to those that need it, so the poor don’t need to travel miles to see a doctor. After Femi’s inspirational talk Mr Dayo Olumo also motivated us to believe that as individuals, all different, all unique, yet each in our own way can make a difference.
On a lighter note Mr Obonjo Comdian of the Lafta republic made us all smile with his unique style of humour. Jacqueline Wabara then spoke about her support through fashion shows. I then spoke about the good work that I had seen for myself that Femi and his staff do back in Nigeria with the support of Wish For Africa and how I have been so impressed that I have now self funded 2 trips to Lagos and also become a trustee of the charity. A few more words of praise and encouragement were shared and then we all headed back.
The whole group left together on the return leg of the walk, although we naturally went at different paces with some ahead while others strolled behind. A number of people along the way asked us what we were doing and we were able to share about the charity. Several of us in the front half were so engrossed in chat that we completely missed the turning back to Morrison’s. Soon we received a phone call from the others informing us of our mistake. It felt like we had walked an extra mile as we turned around to retrace our steps.
At the slope we should have gone up everyone was waiting for us which made a nice ending to the walk and meant we all arrived at the car park together, united.
The amazing thing about this walk is that friends, from many African countries, from all over the UK from Nottingham, Hertfordshire, Surrey, London, Kent, both black and white, Christian and Muslim all together with no prejudices, all happily enjoying each others company in support of the same thing. Everyone in agreement that things several hundred miles away need improving and in the belief that together we can help make a difference. By supporting Wish For Africa we can help make changes happen.