It’s well into an October evening. I’ve just finished an interview for my website (which you can find here, if you’re interested) and a final question is ringing in my ears. Unexpectedly, it was one that was asked of me: Why don’t you volunteer?
I’ll think about it, I’d said. To the trained ear, this is code for there’s no way I can do it, there are so many reasons why not.
I have a trained ear, mostly for other people, but nowadays more so for myself as well. I went through my reasons in my head, dismissed all but one of them as excuses and almost immediately decided that I would volunteer. The one that stuck: fundraising. I can barely ask people for money for the work I do, when I’ve genuinely earned it. To ask people to donate to a good cause, when there are so many around… how am I ever going to do this?
I needed a challenge. Something that was ultimately do-able, but was something that I’m wavering on whether it was possible for me. As soon as the idea came to me, I immediately tried to forget I’d thought of it, I tried to push it from my mind. A sure sign that it is the right target to choose.
It went something like this. So, how far is Africa from London? Now, Africa’s a big continent and I didn’t know exactly where I’d be volunteering, so I picked on of the countries: Cameroon (probably the closest, thereby making things a bit more manageable). Roughly speaking, in a direct line, Cameroon is 3000 miles from London. I am going to run, walk or cycle 3000 miles in a calendar year.
To break it down, that’s roughly 58 miles a week. I’m a runner, that’s a long way, but I’m fairly active so I can walk to places. I’m not a cyclist. Yes, I have a bike, but it only comes out in fair weather and usually only for a few miles to get into town if I think parking might be tricky. This will have to change. This is a challenge for me.
A little bit more about the why. Cricket without Boundaries (CWB)is a charity that combines many of my passions. Most importantly using sport to give benefits that are more far-reaching than for physical fitness: maintaining and teaching a sense of play, learning life lessons and how to be in a team. CWB work in sub-Saharan Africa to use cricket to deliver important health and social education messages around HIV prevention, female genital mutilation and inclusion. Volunteers coach children over two week periods, and also coach local coaches so that this education can become sustainable.
If you think this is a good cause, that by donating, you could help a child develop skills and live their life to the fullest, then please do here. That child could change the world. You can change the world.