My name is Tom and I’ve been invited to be this month’s guest editor. I’ve been volunteering in CAFOD’s North Wales office for 12 months, performing a wide range of tasks, from something as simple as putting a new contact into the database to preparing resources for an important event. It is safe to say each time I go into the office there is a new challenge waiting to be tackled.
Category Archives: CAFOD North Wales
Inspired by Potato Day, Michael Richards, 15, from Rhyl in North Wales, recently braved the elements with his friend, Amy Davies, to do a 10-mile coastal walk in aid of CAFOD.
When I first heard about CAFOD, I wasn’t very sure what it was about, Then I met Katja (CAFOD North Wales Manager) and she told me about an annual event held in Noddfa called ‘Potato day’. I went to my first Potato Day in 2011 and I enjoyed learning about how we as Christians can help the poor. We learnt about CAFOD’s campaigning for poorer countries’ need for fresh, clean water, and we learnt how to dowse, to find water. We also learnt that a lot of people die each day due to not having enough clean water to drink.
In the first year of actually being involved with CAFOD I didn’t do much fundraising. I think it was because I wasn’t ready to give to other people. However, when I went back to the Potato Day this year I thought to myself: ‘why should people be going hungry when I sit at home every night eating a nice tea?’ I thought: ‘I’m going to try my best to help the poor now and to spread CAFOD’s campaign, ‘Hungry for change’ and the interesting facts we learnt about how our government is failing the poorer countries.’
So upon leaving this year’s Potato Day, me and Amy Davies got straight to thinking of ideas of how we can fundraise for the poorer countries. We decided on doing a 10-mile sponsored walk from Colwyn Bay to Rhyl, this was arranged, I think, for a month or two after Potato Day. We spoke in Mass in St Mary’s Church in Rhyl to let the Church goers know about our walk and what they can do to support CAFOD. On the 25th November we took to the challenge of walking the 10 mile stretch from Colwyn Bay to Rhyl along the coastal path. Along the way we met many other Christians from other areas, one from Wigan. By doing this walk for CAFOD, we let more people know about the amazing work it does and we raised £250.
We are currently thinking of more ideas on how to fundraise for CAFOD in the months to come.
Want to do something to highlight world hunger like Michael? Act now. Email the Prime Minister for a fairer food system: www.cafod.org.uk/hungry
The reason I’m so involved in CAFOD is definitely down to my mum because, for as long as I can remember, she has been organising and baking for CAFOD coffee mornings in my church (or “cadoff” coffee mornings, as it used to be when I was so young I couldn’t say CAFOD properly). I have done so many things for CAFOD before (like fundraising cake sales, and helping out at events), I can’t remember them all, but I can fairly say, thanks mainly to my mum, I’ve had a very active role in helping CAFOD.
At the end of July, I worked in CAFOD’s Wrexham office, with diocesan manager Katja Jewell. In school, we are permitted one week of work experience, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn more about the organisation. When I was first told I’d be leading an activity in a high school, I was extremely nervous, because I’ve never done anything like this before! I managed to face the fear, however, and one Thursday morning saw me standing up in front of a class of 20 students in Blessed Edward Jones School in Rhyl, explaining the “All to play for” game.
I had prepared this game over the week from the “All to play for” presentation that you can download from the CAFOD website (http://passiton.cafod.org.uk/Olympic-Activities), and had been slaving away to come up with everything we’d need, and, more importantly, to understand the game myself! The game is based in a slum called Korogocho in Kenya, where there is a sports society called St John’s that CAFOD supports. The activity is a game of handball with various twists that means it isn’t only a fun game, but also a way of learning about the poverty in Korogocho.
The groups we had (five sessions of 20 students in each) had all heard of CAFOD and what it stands for, and they all seemed to be aware that it is a charity that helps people in poorer countries. We found out from the teacher that they had been involved in raising money for CAFOD, and in the classroom we were in, we could see on the wall a CAFOD display. (I suspect that is why they put us in that room!)
From experience, I can honestly say that nothing is more boring than sitting in a classroom for an hour, sitting through a lecture on a charity in which you are expected to do nothing more than be still and quiet. This is why I think the activity we did was perfect for that age group (11-14), because the majority of the time was spent moving around, and having an active part in the session. All the groups seemed to enjoy themselves, which I think is the most important thing; the more fun you have, the better it will stick in your mind.
There was the concern of health and safety with this game because we were only in a normal classroom and there is running around involved. A couple of classes were quite rowdy, but no major breakages occurred, and we didn’t have to send anyone away in an ambulance, so all in all it could have been a lot worse!
I think the game, with all the causes of poverty, the solutions, and the problems that people in the slums face that were part of it, encouraged the students to think more about poverty and its causes. They all now know that CAFOD doesn’t just give money to those who need it, but supports projects and community activities, to help people to come out of poverty for the long-term.
Although it was extremely hard work (I shall never again in my whole life think badly about the work a teacher does – I’m shattered after one day!) I really enjoyed the whole day, and it’s given me so much more confidence to speak in front of people of my age. I would definitely love to do something like this again, which I’m sure I’ll be able to, and I’m so grateful to CAFOD’s Katja for giving me the opportunity to try it in the first place!
Mary Carroll from Solihull tells us about her recent walk for CAFOD :
‘When I started planning the trip along Offa’s Dyke ( 182 long Welsh miles!) I was told it crosses the English Welsh border up to 22 times as it winds its way from Chepstow to Prestatyn. I started out with my brother who had offered to come and camp with me on the weekends but our initial enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by heavy rain which caused him to fall and injure his foot. So on second night we had to abandon the (now wet) tent at Monmouth ( when he went to collect it following weekend his car broke down but that’s another story!!)
I continued on Day 2 and 3 alone across the Black Mountains to reach Hay on Wye. Here I was met by my sister and a friend ( who thoughtfully brought along her foot spa!!)
Day 4: back on the road alone to Kington Youth Hostel where I shared a room with a well-travelled little lady with an almost fairytale air about her with her trailing skirts hanging off the bunk bed – but she kindly gave me some tea bags which I had run out of !
Day 5 took me along the road to Knighton but today I was joined by a good friend who came by bus with her dog , Angel, to walk with me. Angel was straining at the leash to get close to the sheep and with the path being so slippery my friend described the experience as ‘like water skiing’ as she was dragged along!!
Day 6 took me to a farm where I was to camp the night with my brother ,niece and a friend – the problem was I arrived at 4pm after 8 hours walking and the tent did not arrive till 7 and the farm was deserted and cold. But the owner soon returned from tending his cows and made me a tray of tea( see picture!!),found me books to read and opened the toilet so I could start my washing ( a daily task as we were travelling light-mind you had to beware not to tip talc in the bowl as one white powder in a plastic bag looks much like another!) From that point on, I had company on the walk as I journeyed towards Chirk and then LLandegla .
But then we met with Black Wednesday as we climbed the Clwydian mountains……some of the worst weather I experienced in my life where the wind threatened to throw me against the wire fence and I had visions of being sliced on a wire cheese slice!! The rain was torrential and went through everything despite our waterproof suits, but we battled on for about 8 miles thinking there was respite ahead at Clwyd Gate only to be told by a local man, that it closed down 12 months ago. At that point we knew we needed to come down to lower ground and headed about 5 miles into Ruthin - where we nearly flooded a cafe! From there we moved on to a launderette where we spent £4 drying our clothes and the lady even let us use her toilet to ‘rotate’ our clothes into the dryer!
Now we were ready to carry on but first needed to visit the library to study a map as we were seriously ‘off our route’ by now . Ah well, just 5 miles down busy A roads ( with no footpath) would take us to our next stop near Bodfari so we were happy to receive a warm welcome there in front of their Aga . We also met a couple from Alaska who had turned back on the Path and said they had never seen weather like it even in Alaska!
Our final day we thought we would pick up provisions in Bodfari….but no shop….never mind I still had an uneaten cheese sandwich ( 2 days old) and my friend had a can of sardines, some crisps and a chocolate bar or two !! We scrambled into Prestatyn over the last steep muddy hills( after another 8 hours walking) and made our way to the beach where in a howling gale I took off my socks and entered the icy waters . Joy !
When my brother asked would I do it again my answer was ‘Yes….but in Morocco in the dry season!!’
Mary walked through rain and wind to raise funds for CAFOD’s Lent Appeal, to support her please go to www.justgiving.com/Mary-Carroll2
On Saturday morning at around 10.45 am myself and my three companions for the day Jed Johnson (whose house I’d stayed at the previous night) Peter McGeachie (CAFOD regional manager of the Horn and East Africa team) and Bishop Edwin Regan arrived at St. Winefride’s Catholic Church in Holywell.