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   Welcome. You're about to hop on the Appalachian Trail and become part of the 2009 thru-hike of Chris Hennig, whose trail name was "Feed Bag." While Feed Bag took in all the personal benefits of spending hours alone in the woods (getting in better shape, crying, pondering the meaning of life), there is a purpose greater than that for which he hiked: to make the world a better place for children. And you can be a part of this journey starting now...and help make a difference!

Start Date: 3/29/09 End Date: 9/5/09



State of the Hike Address

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 8:28 pm July 29, 2009

Good afternoon. Thank you. Please take your seats.

It’s that time again to let you know how things are going. But before we begin with the address this afternoon, a word from a friend of mine. Scott will get the honorary trail name “Orange Blazer” because he lead the way; I actually sponsored my first child through Scott way back when!

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Scott with sponsored child Mantoto

As a fellow World Vision representative, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the work they are doing around the world and in our own country. Sponsorship is perhaps the best way for us to connect to that work if we are not able to devote ourselves to full time missions. It connects us to a real person with real needs, and helps keep our country’s current “economic crisis” in humbling perspective. I’ve seen my small sacrifice of about a dollar a day make ripples that benefit more than just the children I sponsor. It blesses their entire communities as well.  Talk about making every penny count!

Thank you, Scott.

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I have so many thoughts and things to say about everything that has gone on the past several days. I thought I would organize my thoughts into the following categories as they relate to my hike: 1.) Hydration, 2.) Nutrition, 3.) Health/Hygiene, 4.) Education/Inspiration, and 5.) Finances

1.) Hydration: I had a big scare the other day. My water filter all but quit working. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s a pump-mechanism: easy to use, normally quick too. But all of a sudden, it would hardly pump, and not much was coming out. I cleaned the filter as best I could in a gas station bathroom, but I wasn’t optimistic. I wanted to quit hiking because of a broken filter. That and it was raining really hard and unusually cold. Thankfully I got through a few more days, including one stop at a person’s house who lets hikers fill up from their spigot. When I got to the next major town the outfitter was out of replacement cartridges, so I had to buy an entire new filter. He gave me a 10% discount which was nice. Total cost: $70

2.) Nutrition: The biggest change to my cooking lately has been…curry. I add it to all my dinners now and it’s amazing! Starting this week I’m changing to a non-cleaning cooking method. I’ll only use my pot to boil water, then pour that water into a Ziplock Freezer bag which will have my noodles and potatoes in it. Put the whole bag into an empty, plastic Folgers cup (like a cozy), 10 minutes later…dinner is served! Eat it right out of the plastic bag! Cost of food: $50-100 a week

3.) Health/Hygiene: Health has been ok, but I’ve been experiencing pain in my toes…just my big toes. I think it’s my stupid boots. A few weeks back it hurt so badly I took off my boots and hiked 4-5 miles in my flip-flops. Immediately felt better. I may try to buy ONE last pair of trail shoes and hope they get me to the end. Cost of new hiking shoes: $75-125

4.) Education/Inspiration: Some days are inspired, most are not. It’s very frustrating. So far this has not been as enlightening an experience as I had hoped for. I’ve downloaded some new books on my MP3 player, so I’m excited about that. I hoped hiking the trail would be like a “seminary in the woods” type learning experience. It’s more like…boot camp or something. Back to the basics. There have been more low days than high as of late, some were realllly low…but I’m trying my best to keep my head up. And the rain, mud, and bugs are trying to keep my head down. By the time you read this I’ll have about 25% of the trail left. If the first 75% of the trail looked like this ^–^—^–^—-^—–^—^ then the last part looks like this ^-^-^-^ LOTS of climbing ahead. Cost of new books on MP3 player: $10-30

5.) Finances: Finances are not good. The trip is costing much more than I thought. While planning the trip I had a “If you build it they will come” mentality. I won’t go on about this because I’ve already addressed it in blogs past, but hindsight is 20/20, now I know what I would have done differently. I’m just praying for steady work after I finish so that I’ll be able to pay off debt as quickly as possible. Aren’t we all?

All of the above: my choice. I decided to hike knowing it would cost me something. I will finish, Lord willing, you praying, sometime. Hopefully this year, if not in the near future. But the biggest burden I’ve carried is my own fault and that is my debts. I appreciate all of the help I’ve received, but any more and I would also carry the burden of guilt and irresponsibility. With that said, the end is in sight.

Now…can you imagine meeting someone’s needs and easing their burden for $1 a day? At this point what I have can’t be considered a need because, again, I chose to hike the trail. And I don’t want anyone to pay my way.

But for the billions (yes, billions) of people who only live on a few dollars (yes, $1-10) a day, they aren’t being fairly compensated for their hard work. Poverty is as complex as the United States is rich. And millions die every year basically because they are poor. They can work as hard as they want (if they’re healthy enough to work), but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll live. If we share just a little (what percent of your wages is $1 a day?), the tide can be turned.

When you sponsor a World Vision child, you are meeting those needs I mentioned above!
1.) Hydration:
Making sure the community has clean, pure water.
2.) Nutrition:
Addressing any food and agriculture needs.
3.) Health/Hygiene:
Making sure people have access to health care and education about proper hygiene.
4.) Education/Inspiration:
Providing educational opportunities they otherwise couldn’t afford.
5.) Finances:
Seeing to it that we are not just giving a community hand-outs, rather we give them the opportunity to take ownership of community development, supplement already existing businesses, and strengthen the local economy.

And you’ll get to hear first hand from one child who is personally benefiting from your giving. They are the most thankful “bloggers” of all.

So, this is not my final plea but a strong one: choose to be blessed by blessing someone else. Click below…search for your birthday! Or pick a country you’re interested it. Look at the faces. Choose! (Yes, it’s hard to choose, but do so with confidence!) Sponsor. You win. They win. JOY!

Too much reading for a trail report. I’ll save it for next time :)

Thank you all for coming, this blog wouldn’t be anything with out you.

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