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My Long Walk and the Pain Behind It

August 2006

I am in pain. Some of that is from having recently walked from Boston to Provincetown, about 120 miles, in 37 hours — my left thigh is numb, my left calf is strained and my feet are blistered and sore. The physical pain that I am feeling now is nothing compared to the pain that was there before I even took a step. Actually, that pain is why I walked.

Although I have long been troubled by violence in general, the situation in the Middle East has been a focus of my attention. I yearn for the day when the people of Palestine, Israel and Lebanon can live their lives with access to water, land and food and without a constant fear of being attacked.

The recent escalation in violence witnessed Israel instituting collective punishment on the people in Gaza. The bombing of the only power station, primary roads and bridges over which aid could reach Gaza, and of residential centers has resulted in a humanitarian crisis of increasingly severe proportions. The suffering was conveyed not just in the limited media coverage but in detail via emails from people we work with on the ground in Gaza. They suffered, yet they endured and kept working.

When Grassroots International had the opportunity to ship $500,000 worth of donated medical supplies to Gaza, only needing to raise $20,000 to ship it, I jumped at the chance to help. I did so in my capacity at Grassroots but I wanted to, actually needed to, do more. I decided that extreme conditions called for extreme action so I came upon an idea of doing something that would push my limits — and it did! Walking through two nights and one day with only about one hour of sleep was the most challenging experience of my life. I was often not sure if I could or would make it to Provincetown. The last eight hours were truly a mental effort as my body had become severely fatigued. As we drew closer, I actually increased the pace out of desperation to finish. With close to two miles left, I actually broke into a brisk run in order to finish faster.

I walked to help fund the shipment of humanitarian relief to Palestine and increase awareness of what is going on there. I am excited that Grassroots has raised the needed money for the original shipment and is now planning a second shipment. All told, one million dollars in medical aid will be shipped to Gaza! I’ve received calls from Cape Cod, Washington, D.C. and from the West Bank about my walk so I know that the message is being shared. Beyond that, I just hope that my small actions inspire others to take action on their own.

Marty Wrin
Boston Activist and Grassroots International Staff Member

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