Raoly Serves Realness
I first met Raoly post-water journey. It would have been her second of the day, the terrain was a steep mountain, and she was no less than seven months pregnant.
She was understandably exhausted, so we let the olympic mountain-scaler catch her breath and I was thinking about how much less someone at home would exert while they were pregnant. Doctors at home would shame you into bed rest if they'd heard you were climbing treacherous cliffs in your third trimester. If you were any of the females in my life, we'd be throwing you parties and you'd be sending out cards to thank people for a bunch of things you don't need and will probably return. Not Raoly. This woman was fierce. She wasn't glowing, she was beaming.
Raoly's features are delicate and kind, but she has a tough, quiet strength. Despite what I'd consider a schedule that would put most westerners on stress leave, she was an amazing mother. Listening to her stories made feel the urge to avenge her.
In Madagascar it felt like everyone was an ally. Everyone cared about each other and there was community in a way we only dream about. It felt safe and I felt loved. Raoly checked me - she has two sons, is about to give birth, has a TLC certified scrub of a husband, and is still hiking an impossible 6k everyday with 20 kilos on top of her head. I, though I have known strife of my own, am in a position to change someone else's life forever. It doesn't take much. I can rally enough support to make sure hers and all of the villages around her have safe, clean water outside their doors.
The change this would mean for Raoly makes me feel great. Selfishly, I want to continue to imagine Raoly getting to spend time feeding her cow flowers with her daughter because it's such merry bliss:
Most of all, I want Raoly to have time to do whatever the f#@k she wants, and I want her beautiful, temple of a body to be safe from harm. So, this year, I'll be doing auction bidding in her name. Our souls are connected and so I know she'd want me to treat myself if we can reach our 25k goal.