A day of dinosaurs, choir concerts, cold toes and red wine

The fact that I didn’t forget my pedometer this morning is frankly fantastic, especially seeing as it was 5:30am when I left the house (after working until 11pm the night before) and it was freezing outside, which only added to the blurriness inside my head.

During the day I work in a Zoo as a PR Manager. This morning we welcomed eleven large animatronic dinosaurs in to take up residence from the beginning of the Easter holidays, right through to September. I had issued a press release inviting media to come to take pictures of their grand arrival. As I stood shivering at 6:30am I wasn’t remotely surprised when only one photographer turned up.

Over the course of the next four hours four large trucks turned up and unloaded the new Zoo inhabitants. I’m not a fan of the cold but remembering my pedometer I strolled around the car park, jumped from one foot to the other, did starjumps, kneelifts anything to keep me moving (much to the amusement of the large group of high-vis wearing men unloading these giant beasts). By the time I got up to the office I was shattered, but I had made a good dent into my daily 10,000 steps target.

The benefit of an early start is an early finish. At home I threw my bag on the sofa, still shivering from the morning and desperate to warm up before the school run. However, the sitting I longed to do wasn’t going to raise my number of steps and the day was seeping away.

I clipped the lead on my dog and took her over to the field. The wind had grown fingernails and was scratching at my cheeks, making my eyes water. Every step I took my body felt colder and wearier.

Back at home I dropped off my dog and picked up my car keys for the school run. I checked my pedometer and it read a reasonable 7596 steps. Reluctantly I put my car keys back in my pocket and started the fifteen minute walk to my sons’ school. I could no longer feel my face when I got there (although, as my eldest son interestingly pointed out – can you ever?). I was rewarded by my effort by a front row seat for my youngest son’s choir concert. As he stood before me awkwardly singing Miley Cyrus’s The Climb the warmth started to come back into my cheeks.

Back at home I was ready to call it a day. The red wine was open and the heating was on. With a few hundred steps to go I ran around the house, much to the delight of my children and my energetic dog who all tore around after me until finally the target had been hit and I could claim my rightful place on the sofa, under a blanket with a glass of wine in my hand.

10,000 steps is a hard slog, even during a ‘busy’ day. I can’t imagine having to go this far simply for water and it’s taken me a whole day to complete it. I discard my pedometer at 8pm, checking it off my mental ‘to do’ list. However the women that we’re mentally walking with and supporting don’t get to check it off. This distance, this pursuit is necessary to keep them alive.

Keys, wallet, phone, pedometer….

It was International Women’s Day on Friday. If you’re active on social media, read the news or are, indeed, a woman you would’ve found it hard to miss. One day where women everywhere are celebrated for their strength of character and courage of their convictions. It’s impossible to read stories about women struggling against adversity without feeling moved. Often it’s hard to know what to do with that stirring beast of empathy. We want to be activists but we fear for our lack of knowledge / time or resources.

Walk in Her Shoes is a campaign set up by CARE. The idea is to walk 10,000 steps a day for a week in March, which is how far women in poverty have to walk simply to get water. A force of women, if you will, all wearing matching t-shirts and taking steps (literally!) to do more than sigh in empathy at our computer screens.

In truth, day one of the Walk in Her Shoes blog was supposed to be Friday. I was meant to wake up with a spring of purpose in my step, strap on my pedometer and go about my day mindful of each and every step and marvel at the ease of simply walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water instead of the relentless 10,000 steps to quench my thirst.

Instead of this I swept my bleary eyes open with mascara at 6:30am and stumbled out the door to head to work with my pedometer safely, yes you guessed it, on my chest of drawers.

Rather than lament my initial failings I’m going to take the opportunity to tell you a bit about who I am, what I’m doing and why. I’m Catherine. I’m a PR Manager for a Zoo (no I don’t spend my days playing with animals, regardless of what my children think), a student of Human Rights (MA) and a passionate believer of women’s rights and women’s education.

I remember several years ago now one of the Mumsnet co-founders, Carrie Longton, when to Malawi to look at the issue of maternal mortality and maternal care with Oxfam. Carrie started a thread about her trip and the experiences it gave her. Like many other members I was completely absorbed. I found a deep passion in me for developmental issues and how we can continue to motivate and activate awareness and support for said issues.

I went on from there conducting my own research into different charities and government initiatives linking to eradicating poverty. I discovered that the issue of aid was complex, multi faceted and, yes, deeply confusing!

I remained unsure about how to get involved, let alone what to get involved with, yet I continued researching and making contacts and somehow came across CARE: http://www.careinternational.org.uk/

At CARE I met Jo Broughton (@Jo_CARE_Intnl). A human cyclone of passion, energy and experience Jo is a great ambassador for CARE and the more I learnt, the more I felt I was finally on the right track. We talked about everything from cake to travel to aid issues, and finally we rested on the Walk in Her Shoes campaign: http://www.careinternational.org.uk/walkinhershoes/

Encouraging, no willing women to get involved the task is to ‘Walk in solidarity with women and girls in the developing world who walk miles every day collecting water for their families‘. It’s the ultimate sisterhood, for us to walk alongside (metaphorically – no free flights here I’m afraid) women and girls in the poorest communities.

So that’s my three w’s (who, what, why – come on, keep up). This blog is about so much more than me being bad at mornings, or even counting my steps on a daily basis. I’m going to share amazing stories of women and girls around the world who spend their days trekking miles for water. What of their aspirations? Ambitions? I mean what could possibly be more inspiring than that?