10.22.2006

Gulu Walk


(Above) The Wonderful Volunteers who helped organize the Gulu Walk for Cincinnati, OH. Okay, so my dog, Vladdy, didn't actually help organize, but he walked all 4.8 miles with us so everyone insisted that he be in the picture!

With the numbers still rolling in, it'’s already clear that on Saturday, October 21, GuluWalk Day, over 30,000 people, in 82 cities and 15 different countries took to the streets to urge the world to support peace in northern Uganda. From Beijing to Birmingham to Boston, people across the world walked together to urge international support for the peace talks in Juba. In the coming days, we'll feature news stories and photos from many of the walks.

- Uganda-CAN

The Gulu Walk in Cincinnati was a great success! We had between 130-150 people (the official count isn't in yet) and the event was wonderful. People were warm and friendly and had fun! Oh, and nothing beats chanting "Gulu Walk, walk for peace!" in the middle of downtown Cincinnati and getting stares. We got a lot of supportive car honks and I hope that we got people interested in the issue. I really am not sure how many walks are done in Cincinnati like the Gulu Walk, but for some reason I feel like not many. We made a stop at the Freedom Center, which, ashamedly, I have not visited yet, and it was a great opportunity to check it out. It was also very symbolic to stop there since we're trying to raise money and awareness for the freedom of the children of Uganda. I'm really proud of all the volunteers who made this event possible and for the first Gulu Walk in Cincinnati I think it was a huge success!

Adding to the significance of this walk for me is the fact that I was accepted to attend the Summit in Uganda January 2-January 17! I found out last week a day before the Gulu Walk and I'm so excited I can't even speak. I mean, fuck, I'M GOING TO AFRICA!! The Summit is called Global Kimeeza II: The Role of Youth in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda (Kimeeza - pronounced: chee-meh-zah is the Luganda word for "big table") and is organized by the Global Youth Partnership for Africa.

This fall, peace talks brought about a cessation of hostilities in the 20-year civil war in Northern Uganda; now is a critical time to examine the political situation and engage in the practice of reconstruction and reconciliation. The goal of the Kimeeza is to provide a platform for Americans and Ugandans to explore the important role that youth play in post-conflict reconstruction by sharing ideas, approaches, and strategies.

-GYPA
I've been deeply interested in Uganda and the war that has stolen the lives of so many children for some time now and will very likely follow this passion and interest into my career following Graduate School. I cannot believe that I'll actually be In Gulu and meet the families and people that have been through the war, and possibly some child soldiers that have survived the war. It will be an amazing experience that I'm sure will change me for the better and forever. Anyways, when the time comes I'll definitely be keeping you updated on my packing and preparation for the trip and of course the trip itself! Thursday I do my first official preparation (other than send a fatty check to reserve my spot for the trip) by going to receive about a million shots to make sure I don't die immediately stepping off the plan in Uganda! Ugh, I absolutely Hate shots. The last time I had to get a shot I asked if I could hold the teddy bear that they have in the room for children and they said No! Okay, so I was twenty-years-old at the time, but come on, I can't hold a freaking teddy bear for comfort? It was a horrible experience and I am scarred because of it. So Thursday will not be fun, but you gotta do what you gotta do. After I get my shots I can then apply for the Visa for Uganda, which is always so much fun going through that whole process!

More pics from the Wonderful and Successful Gulu Walk!



At the beginning of the walk... I'm the one with the dog!


Walking in downtown Cincinnati!


Some fellow walkers spreading the love! Everyone was so wonderful, except for one guy who criticized how much we were asking for merchandise! Um, hello, it's a charity, all the money is going to the cause! I mean, much of the merchandise was paid for out of our own pockets!


The walkers at the Freedom Center.


Vladdy and I resting at the Freedom Center before the second half of the walk. He was quite the good walker, though I do think he gotnervouse when cars would honk at us in support, he wasn't quite sure what that noise was. He sure was exhausted for the rest of the weekend though!

Thank you again to all those who supported me for the walk! You will definitely be kept updated on my future endeavors with this cause and hopefully we can make a difference.

Man, I am a non-profit guppie after all. I always knew I had it in me. :)

3 comments:

Brett Battles said...

Great job, Mai. We're all proud of you. And congratulations on going to Africa. I can't wait to hear about that. I'm sure it will be an extremely emotional experience.

Mas said...

Congratulations mai wen, you must be so excited - and probably a little nervous too. I would be.

Yes, I look forward to hearing what you have to say before, during and after your trip: I know shamingly little about Uganda.

mai wen said...

Thanks guys! I'm excited and nervous, definitely. I seriously am scared to death of the shots I have to get on Thursday... I'm just going to take it one step at a time, if I think about everything at once then I'll freak out! So shots, then Visa. :)

 

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