January 17, 2010
January 16, 2010
From Orange County, Florida
Our walk is dedicated to Augusto, Sebastian and Jonathan our modern day HEROES.
A few days ago, I had a set back: I hurt my hip and my sciatic nerve, which started shooting pain from my hip down the length of my leg. The morning started just like any other. I wrestled in the sheets not wanting to get up. Who in their right mind gets up every morning at 5:30 in the morning in 40 degree weather? I always try to get in as much sleep as possible, but it is usually difficult when you have Felipe saying “we have to go, we have to go!”. So before Felipe gets mad at me, I wake up and try to get ready as quickly as I can manage. I duct taped my feet (yes we use duct tape), put on my socks, shoes and got ready to go. We stretched and started to walk.
After the first mile something started to feel funny. I didn’t pay too much attention, since I seem to experience a new type of pain everyday. I rejoice when I have new pain because it means that I am exercising a new area in my body. However, this time the pain was not the usual one. My hip felt like it was on fire! After the third mile, I couldn’t walk anymore. The pain started to shoot down my leg to my knee; I knew I was in trouble.
The group decided that they wanted to use the restroom and we stopped at a Walgreens. As I laid down on the floor to stretch my lower back and hip, I knew I couldn’t continue. I didn’t know what to do or say. I was in excruciating pain but I didn’t want to let the team down. Felipe noticed and suggested to Juan to buy a heating pad. Felipe grabbed me gently, looked into my eyes and said, “Gaby, the team needs you to stay and get better.” Juan called Profe right away and asked him to pick me up. I looked at Carlos and he portrayed concern in his eyes. What a disappointment, I was in pain and it was going to be impossible to continue. It was difficult seeing them walk away and disappear in the distance. We have become a family and we love each other wholeheartedly. The pain we feel everyday is a constant reminder that we are being courageous and strong.
Thanks to God I am walking again now. Martha from Voices for Justice was able to secure a visit to a chiropractor and Dr. Carlisle put my hip into place. This afternoon we did 10.5 miles for a total of 19.5 miles for the whole day. We are walking fast and strong! And along the way we are meeting incredible individuals.
Today I met a young student, who brightened my day simply with her smile. Sunshine, as I nickname her, gave us quarters and laundry detergent to clean our clothes. More importantly, she shared with us her stories and dreams. It was so moving to hear her speak about her passion, caring for people. She is studying nursing, and trys to do everything within her power to put into practice all the beauty within her that she learned from her mother and that was instilled in her from her culture. She said to us, “my culture taught me to always help out those around me. When I see someone on the street, I am reminded of my country and how we always provided warmth, food, kind words. That’s all I’ve wanted to do here, and I dream of achieving that purpose as a nurse.” She also told us about the racism she has encountered in this country when a patient told the doctor at the hospital “I refuse to be cared for by a colored woman.” It was painful for all of us to listen to her story, unable to understand how anyone could reject the love and hospitality of such an angel. Moving forward now, we will all think of her constantly, trying to realize her dream along with our own because EVERYONE deserves the opportunity, regardless of nation of origin, gender, or skin color. We held her tightly with a hug and will keep that embrace in our hearts as we take each step tomorrow.
Thank you Sunshine for refueling us and proving to us that our cause is not in vain.
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
-Gaby Pacheco & Juan Rodriguez