We live in a time where many of us feel more isolated and disconnected than ever. For Amani, COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented dip in donations and the cancellations of nearly half our sponsorships. In the absence of airplane travel and face-to-face gatherings, the distance between Amani Children’s Home and the rest of our community can feel insurmountable. At yet, one man found a way to literally walk to close that gap.
But first, a little background: Jordan first visited Amani in 2018 and stayed at the children’s home for several weeks. “I was overwhelmed by how welcoming the staff and kids were and their amazing attitudes and positive outlooks truly left a lasting impression on me and I have kept in touch with Gideon [the site manager] and the kids since.” Like many of us, Jordan was saddened by the way the pandemic prevents in-person visits now. “I would’ve loved to go and see them again, but this year it was definitely not possible.”
So, Jordan began planning more creative ways to support Amani. “I came up with the walking idea to Canberra as a way to both challenge myself and help Amani this year, given we can barely leave our states here in Australia at the moment.” He set up a GoFundMe, laced up his walking boots and he and his pup, Craig hit the road! Over the summer, Jordan Taylor walked from Sydney to Caberra, Australia – a distance of 350 km (that’s 217.48 miles)! As he and his dog Craig crossed the distance step by step, Jordan raised awareness and funds for Amani Children’s Home. In recent conservation, Jordan reflected on the moments of kindness he experienced during his journey. “I also met a lot of really helpful people along the way. One example was a police officer that stopped me – I thought I was in trouble, but he stopped me as he had passed me walking for two days straight along the highway and wanted to know what I was doing. I told him and he ended up taking the GoFundMe page details to donate! I also had no accommodation options in the town of Bungendore, but I met someone along the way who knew a local there and they ended up getting the keys for the church for us, setting up a bed in there, taking us for dinner, and booking us a message!”
Jordan and Craig traveled 20-40 km (about 12-24 miles) a day, in all types of weather and across all types of terrain. “For a lot of the walk, we walked along the dirt maintenance roads next to the railway lines, which were a lot more peaceful being out and nature and less broken glass than the highways … we just had to watch out for snakes a bit more!”
The pair completed their journey earlier this autumn. How is Jordan now? “My feet are still recovering a bit from it (my toes are still black!) but otherwise my body held up a lot better than I thought it would!”
And his pup? Jordan says Craig handled the walk even better than he did! “He was getting a bit slower towards the end and he enjoyed a couple of lethargic days in the end, but he was fine and happy to go walking each day. He is a husky, so he is made for long distances and the temperatures were still quite moderate at that time of year for him, which was an important consideration. And now he is the first-ever dog to walk from Sydney to Canberra!”
In total, Jordan raised $6,767 of emergency funding for Amani. This funding will be applied towards food, childcare, and the cost of education for nearly twenty students whose sponsors have withdrawn during the pandemic. During this incredible time of hardship, all of us at Amani are honored by this incredible display of kindness and dedication.