Walk With Us – a story about a 6 000km journey on foot & $2/day budget
Tom David and Warren Handley, who walked 6 000kms on foot from Kilimanjaro to Johannesburg while living on just $2 a day, have published a book about the epic journey. Available at Exclusive Books as well as from Katie.Andrews@fcb.co.za and on www.facebook.com/WalkWithUs2017/?ref=br_rs, it is the honest, gripping account of climbing the highest mountain in Africa before walking through six countries to highlight the importance of early childhood development.
A story of extreme pain and even greater kindness, it details the challenges they overcame and the lessons they learned, and delivers a message that we all should hear. Explorer Kingsley Holgate, who helped them plan the trip, describes it as ‘an amazing journey’. The pair were inspired by the trip undertaken 10 years earlier by FCB Joburg MD, Thabang Skwambane, who had been so moved by the plight of one small Limpopo child that he founded Aluwani to care for a community of 63 orphaned and vulnerable children … and cycled unsupported from Johannesburg to Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and funds for the organisation. Writing the book’s foreward, Skwambane said: “Walk With Us is an invitation. As you read this book, you choose to walk with Tom and Warren and, in doing so, you choose to explore your own path of privilege, regardless of race, colour or creed. Ask yourself: who do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? What have you done that is greater than you?”
What did the pair discover about themselves and others as they walked southwards? That when you have nothing and you approach people hat in hand, they are intrinsically good and most will help you.
Handley says this was a massive learning for them: “In the highlands of Tanzania, after 52km straight uphill, we reached a small village in total darkness and had no clue what to do. No one spoke English and we were too tired to think straight. We were completely helpless. A woman saw us and noticed we were uncertain; she sent her daughter to us and we followed her blindly …” They were taken in by the family and fed and given a place to sleep – all without any conversation. Would we have done that at home, they both wondered at the time.
Asked to name their worst experiences, they glance at each other and both mouth the words ‘hunger’ and ‘sugar biscuits’. Often, they could not find food and spent one three-day period existing on cheap biscuits, while nighttime temperatures dropped close to freezing. “You learn to embrace these challenges one at a time. Everything is new and uncomfortable. Every day is scary. But that’s the permanent reality for millions of people who live like that every single day.”
They arrived in Johannesburg six months later – determined to never eat another biscuit – but equally certain they wanted to continue the journey in one shape or form: “We are intent on making a difference in our country and hope others will be inspired and start to make a difference of their own. “Walk With Us is our way of asking people to find a way to make their own contribution. Our goal is to make people think and encourage them to consider their own responsibilities to the people around them. If we can do that, then we’ve done something right.”