The Emotional Inspiration
Having spent many years helping children in Nepal I am inspired by them every day. I have found Nepali people to be incredibly friendly, approachable, curious and enthusiastic and these qualities are almost effervescent in the children. However, there is one child whose memory will never diminish for me and who I dedicate this insane (more on that later) endeavour to.
Mim, it is the memory of you and the desire to stop such cruelty happening to other children that will drive me on in the difficult times that this challenge will inevitably entail.
I first met Mim in horrific circumstances. He had been admitted to one of our Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres - he had been found in the street, beaten, critically ill with encephalitis and severely malnourished. He was 8 years old.
He was a sorry state when I laid eyes on him, he had a head wound and was unimaginably fragile and thin. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, he could not even cry, instead in fear and pain the only noise he was able to make was what to me, sounded like a small animal trapped and terrified, a sort of mewling pitiful noise that was almost as painful to hear as it must have been to make.
I should by this time have been hardened to the plight of so many children in Nepal, but there was something so gut wrenchingly cruel about this situation that I confess I completely lost the plot. I went into another room and I wailed myself - although in a somewhat louder and more dramatic fashion than young Mim. This did nothing other than to make me feel selfish and most probably look ridiculous to the curious onlooking Nepalis!
It transpired that a middle man had arrived in Mim’s village some months before with the promise of an education for Mim and had talked his desperately poor family into paying for him to be taken to Kathmandu for schooling and training. Inevitably this did not happen and what actually happened was nothing more than child trafficking.
Mim was confined to a basement with several other young boys - starved and awaiting their ultimate destiny whatever that may have been.
When Mim became sick he was cast into the street - discarded. What terror and sadness he must have felt in those days in the basement and worse still when he became so ill. Still only a very young child with no one to care for him.
I returned to the centre the next day to see Mim. All night I had wracked my brains for something useful to give him in the long road to recovery ahead. Eventually I settled on a radio. Nepalis often love music and he wouldn’t need to be able to move to listen to it. It was the best I could do at the time.
Mim's story has no happy ending, he only partially recovered. He left his village a cheeky little 8 year old boy with his whole life ahead of him and he left our centre permanently disabled with his life in ruins. Whether it was the encephalitis or the injuries he had suffered, Mim was never able to speak again.
That didn’t stop him expressing himself and when he had otherwise physically recovered he learned to write and sign and make very clear what he wanted. He became an enthusiastic, smiling, gorgeous child.
Having endured all of that, having then been fostered and finally returned to his village to be reunited with his family the ultimate cruel twist of fate...he died aged 15 in a tragic accident as if life had not been hard enough.
Mim I am so sorry your life turned out this way, it’s not how it should have been. You have no idea how many times I have thought of you and how you have compelled me to carry on with NYFs work, you have given me endless motivation and you will continue to do so. I dedicate my participation in this race to you and your family Mim. No one should have to suffer so appallingly, but with your energy behind me perhaps we can make something really good of this.
The Physical Challenge!
The Speed Project 2019 is an insane 340 mile, non-stop, team relay event, starting from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles and finishing at the 'Welcome to Vegas' sign on the infamous Vegas Strip. This means running day and night through very rugged and challenging terrain including Death Valley. I will be doing my best to avoid snakes and heat exhaustion, but probably my greatest fear is the actual running and the pace required. Some of my team mates are incredible athletes which is not an accolade I can claim!