Hikers sought for tough firewood trek to raise funds for Ethiopia

Seven experienced hikers are being sought to carry bundles of firewood across several kilometres of rough terrain on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula to raise thousands of euro for people in Ethiopia.

So far seven people have signed up to the challenging 14km five-hour walk, which emulates the daily trek of an Ethiopian mother-of-five who collects wood for a living.

The West Cork walk will take an eventual team of 14 firewood-carrying hikers, along with some 150 other walkers, across a spectacular landscape of hills and wild seaside terrain.

Seven more wood-carriers are being sought to participate in the event, which aims to raise more than €8,000 for the charity Christian Aid’s work in Ethiopia.

“We have interest from people from around the country and as far abroad as America as well as the UK to participate in the annual hike — we want to raise this money, which is the equivalent of buying 40 heifers,” said Bandon-based Andrew Coleman, Christian Aid fundraising co-ordinator for the Republic of Ireland. He is currently organising the event, known as the Christian Aid Sheep’s Head Hike.

Last year, more than 160 walkers participated raising €6,000.

“We are looking for experienced hikers to take part in the wood-carrying,” he said, adding that the other hikers who choose to participate in the event can choose between two walks — the 14km hike and a shorter 5.5km trek — which take place on Saturday September 5.

“Last year was our largest walking event, with many new walkers on a wonderful day and we are hoping that this year will be the biggest and most enjoyable on this annual and very enjoyable and fundraising hill hiking event,” said Andrew.

It was hoped this year, he said, more people will walk in solidarity for Ethiopia and to raise funds for the work of Christian Aid partner HUNDEE.

The firewood-carrying walkers will mirror the efforts of Loko, an indigenous Ethiopian woman who walks alone for eight hours a day gathering firewood to sell so that she can feed her children.

“It’s a job she dreads, but she has no choice; she must continue, week after week. If she doesn’t, her children will starve,” says Andrew, revealing her gargantuan efforts only raise enough money to give the children one small meal a day.

Registration for all walkers, on the day of the event, is from 11am in Kilcrohane Community Hall.

Hikers interested in carrying firewood should contact 023 8841468 or cork@christian-aid.org


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