Week 1 of Run India

Welcome to Sam's weekly blog. Hear from Sam about what her experience has been during Run India this week:

It's been an incredible and challenging week, and whilst you can spend years looking at a map, nothing can prepare you for this.

Starting the run in the desert, we knew the conditions would be tough. The first night was extremely cold, and we barely slept due to the whirring of the motorhome generator. It's a noise we will need to get used to. This is our home for the next 77 days.

Photo Credit: Marceau Photography

With minimal sleep we awoke to swampy, humid conditions and the impact on the body so far has been incredibly taxing. Definitely feeling the sore knees, ensuring the physio skills of Ross have been regularly required.

The monsoon season provides even further challenges, as the roads in Rajasthan are simply not made for the rain. There was also an election on and some streets were closed. So as we approached our first World Vision community in Barmer, amidst flooding roads, we made the final stretch of our Day 3 journey. After the trials of the day, we were incredibly moved to be joined by the World Vision staff who joined us to run the last kilometer together. It lifted our spirits as we made our way over a bridge to meet the rest of their team.

Photo Credit: Marceau Photography

From the end of the run, we travelled for more than 30 minutes by car each way, as well as travel time in between. To meet this remote community, we needed to travel into the depths of the desert, something these families would do regularly. We were so excited and nervous! We were rewarded with the most delicious meal to replenish the soul - a mixture of chapati, rice, curried vegetables and goat curd.

As we learned more from the World Vision staff about the challenges facing these communities, they explained the issue were not just education, but particularly the quality of education as the remoteness of this community can mean they are limited in what they can access.

Photo Credit: Marceau Photography

Once in the community, we went to meet an under 5 children's group. I couldn't help but notice they seemed very nervous, maybe even a little apprehensive and made me wonder whether they've encountered many western white women considering how remote this community is. The group also included older children and women who led the group in songs which were a beautiful introduction to the community. There were just four teachers with more than 100 students at times.

Photo Credit: Steve Young

What followed was the highlight of the visit for me! We progressed to meet the local school, but not on foot - we rode in on camels! The whole time I was thinking...don't fall!

As we entered the community, drums were beating, women were dancing and the children were waiting so patiently in the scorching heat to greet us. It was around 38 degrees, and often it can get as high as 50 degrees, yet these children were so incredibly patient and gracious to meet us which was so humbling.

Although there have been challenges, as we expected, this has been such an incredible journey already. The community visits we have planned motivate me to keep moving forward.

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