A Letter From Mozambique

I had intended to get on my gym bike today but I decided to give myself one more day to stop wheezing from my recent cold. I didn’t used to be this cautious but I rushed out on my bike once, the first chance I got after a chest infection and I ended up unconscious at the side of the road! 😯 I may have been stupid enough to do that once, but I certainly am not going to risk doing it to myself again. A few extra days rest won’t have harmed me, but I’m starting to ‘chomp at the bit’ now.

Anyway, about that letter…

I make a regular monthly donation to a charity working in various third world countries. It helps educate and equip the poor people in those countries to be able to eventually feed themselves and their families. I prefer to help this way, rather than giving to crisis appeals because I feel that this is the long-term answer to third world poverty.

I receive letters a few times a year explaining what the charity is doing. Today’s letter was a bit different, because it was about an individual in one village, a 60 year old woman who has been taught to read and write, and has been helped to start her own little poultry business. It’s heart-warming stuff, though a little voice in my head does question how much it costs to mail the newsletters out to the donors. Hopefully, they have worked out that the charity makes more money by doing this and keeping donors interested, than by saving the money and risking donors giving up because they don’t know where the money is being spent.

Included with the letter was a photograph of the woman feeding her chickens.

A letter from Mozambique
A letter from Mozambique

It struck me how supple she looks, stooping down to tend to the birds. This is in stark contrast to how I am with my permanently stiff, sore back and tight hamstrings. Once more, I decided that I need to do something about it. I have now placed a pile of old cycling magazines next to the wall downstairs, the top of the pile having been arranged to be one magazine thickness lower than where I can comfortably place the palms of my hands, when bending down with legs straight. I’m going to stretch down to these magazines after every bike ride and walk, keeping my hands in position for 30 seconds or so. When I start to feel comfortable with that, I’ll remove one magazine from the pile. Eventually, I’d like to be able to get my palms down to the floor, but that may never be possible. I’d certainly like to be able to touch my toes, something I haven’t been able to do (with legs straight) since I was about 9 years old.

By the way, as you can see from the first paragraph of the letter, the charity is called Action Aid and if you can possibly spare a few pounds/dollars/euros (whatever) a month to help them with their work, I’m sure that they would love to hear from you! 🙂

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