September 3, 2006
For Michael Farley, walking the driveway of his Louisa County farm is a far cry from the rugged terrain of Northern Africa. In his last 3 trips to the AIDS-ravaged country, he's walked an impressive 170 miles to help the children left orphans by the AIDS pandemic.
"Children are children the world over and these children just happen to have been born into a situation where they have no families, no parents. I think it's important, I think we all have a moral obligation to take care of those less fortunate that we are," Farley said.
These "proper walks," as they're called, have received such national attention that Farley has graced the pages of National Geographic. However, for him, the notoriety is nothing compared to helping these children have clean food and water, receive medical attention, and even be placed in loving homes, rather than orphanages.
"They're still in the community so they're able to be part of that community and have a family, I don't think there's enough bricks and mortar in the world to built all the orphanages you need in sub-Sahara Africa so this foster care arrangement really seems to work well," Farley explained.
Despite the monumental impact Farley continues to have on the hundreds of children left in the wake of the disease, he says he's the one thankful.
"Every time I go to Africa I get a new perspective on life and the challenges that a lot of people face in this world that we don't necessarily face here," Farley said.
To take part in these proper walks, Farley goes through the Makindu Children's Program and he says his sights are now set on tackling the largest desert lake in the world in Northern Kenya in 2008.
To take the trip to Kenya, each person must raise $10,000 each time. For more information about the trips or to make a donation, check out their website at www.makindu.org.