Subscribe to receive an email alert when we publish new articles. If you've already subscribed you can also stop alerts by choosing stop below.
Published on 12 January 2012
By India Petrucco, 13, Coast to Coast walker
Just a day away from reaching the end of their incredible adventure, the Petrucco family has arrived in Chennai after walking almost 800km from the west coast to the east coast of India in support of ChildFund. Dad Nick has been detailing every step of their walk on their Coast to Coast blog. Today his 13-year-old daughter India has agreed to share some of the highlights from her journal.
My Big Hairy Audacious Goal
So I’m sitting in Singapore airport with my family waiting for my connecting flight to Kochi, India and I am thinking, how the hell did I get here? How did I go from feeling sorry for the people living in poverty to walking 800km in 6 weeks across India? What brought me here? The simple answer is my Dad. He came up with the idea to walk across India to raise money for disadvantaged children and families living in India. He was also the all inspiring reason I was the first to sign up to be a part of the full-time walk team, the reason why I chose to give to others as I am given to myself. Another reason is that I am simply trying to make myself deserving of the wonderful and leisurely life I have been so kindly given. Another key piece of the puzzle is my amazing mutti (mum) who gets me back on track when it all becomes too much and I have a mental breakdown. She reminds me why I do what I do and puts me back together when I am broken and need fixing. She’s my rock and Dad’s my inspiration. I need one just as much as I need the other. So back to how I’m sitting in Singapore airport with my family waiting for my connecting flight to Kochi, as much as this is just a pointless moment out of infinity in time, it is the moment I set off for one of the biggest journeys of my life. I say ‘one of’ because judging by the conversations on our training walk, this won’t be the last (huge) adventure. This is the ‘Mooch’ signing off for now but not for long. I have 50 days of journal writing ahead of me! Gotta go catch a plane to India!
Mysore Village – Top of the ‘Best Experiences’ List – Day 8
Today we went to a send off or welcome into Mysore and visited a village where some of our funds we raised are going. I raised money for 28 (and still counting) bicycles for young girls to help them get to different places safely (like school). We walked into one of the small communities in Mysore to have a welcoming ceremony and afterwards around a hundred kids walked about 8km with us. It was amazing holding hands and talking with all the kids. They only knew how to say ‘how are you?’ and ‘I am fine’ and ‘my name is’ and 'what is your name?’ but just having photos with them and looking into their beautiful faces was enough for me to be able to understand the double meaning and true thanks of their words. All the children kept telling me how beautiful I was yet I was almost jealous of their extraordinary faces and big eyes. I feel so lucky to have an experience like that, it was one of the best days of my life.
Blessing Ceremony – Day 10
I felt like a celebrity walking down the red carpet. ChildFund India had set up a huge hall filled with 500 people and flowers and candles everywhere. It was beautiful. There was a long red carpet going to the stage that we had to walk down as a family. The room was filled and the ceremony started. There was a prayer dance and the four girls who danced dressed in reddish, pink and orange dresses, with loads of jewels and make up, they looked extraordinary. There was a handing out of flowers and a few plays from other kids. Different people talked including the Bishop of Mysore. The best part was at the end when I got to do an impromptu speech and give out the bicycles I was raising money for. It was excellent seeing the extremely grateful look on the girls' faces as I presented them with their bicycles. The press took photos of every single one and I cried because I was so happy and proud of it all.
Snake Valley – Day 13
The walk today was probably the most fun and eventful of them all. About 1km into the walk, we met a boy with his fly zipper on his pants undone. 3km in, dad and poppa had their heads shaved! I was going No, No! the whole time but I am slowly getting used to the whole new hair cut after 13 years of my dad having the same haircut thing. Anyway, about 9km into the walk dad was looking for a big stick to walk with, saw a long blackish, brown one, bent down to pick it up and then, and only when it scampered at the speed of light into the bushes, did he realise it was a snake! He yelled ‘Uh Snake!’ And we all just about had a heart attack. Eibhlin yelled ‘F*&$’, mum jumped so high I thought she was levitating and poppa yelled in a very high pitched, girlish voice ‘What is it? What is it? What is it?’ It was hilarious once we knew it was gone and it hadn’t bitten dad, it was all good. Had my first chocolate (Cadbury) in ages with a pineapple juice. Eibhlin gave me a leg and a foot rub and I was ‘yelling’ so much that I sounded like a yapping dog.
From all of us at ChildFund Australia, we would like to say a HUGE thank you and congratulations to the Petrucco family, who truly have undertaken an extraordinary challenge in order to help raise awareness and funds for children living in extreme poverty in India. Together they have raised over $55,000 and are continuing to collect donations here. An incredible effort.