Year 2 week 21

21st – 27th May 2017

Last week was such an amazing week, with lots of fun and laughter. My time in Rwanda was so busy and was spent meeting new people, going to new places and of course completing my challenge of running a half marathon. 

Since coming home it has been a bit of a come down from last week. It’s been a bit of an anticlimax. I thought I would enjoy the rest and catch up on some sleep. I thought I would enjoy getting back to normal. But I have to say, now, I find that going back to my old routine is totally boring. 

I never found it boring before I went. I think it’s because, now that I have accomplished my goal of running a half marathon, I find that I need a new focus – something to keep me going down the same path. I just need to keep moving forward one step at a time. 


While in Rwanda the food was mainly things like rice, pasta and potatoes – all things that I shouldn’t eat to much of. They even provided spaghetti bolognese for breakfast!!!

Since coming home I have been trying to cut down on the amount of carbs and eat more salads and fruit. I am finding this extremely difficult. I found it easier to do a half marathon than cut back on my food intake! If anyone offered me an apple or a biscuit at the moment I think I would choose the biscuit.

Since coming back from Rwanda I am even finding it hard to exercise. I went for a 5k run and I was so tired when I got back that it made me wonder how I ever did a half marathon at all.

So I think I need a new focus to aim for because staying on that right path is hard and challenging at the moment. All I know is that I can’t go back – I need to keep moving forward. I just have to!!!

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Year 2 week 20

14th – 20th May 2017

This week has been amazing. My time in Rwanda has totally exceeded my expectations. 

The run up to my trip to Rwanda I was worried, apprehensive, and very unsure about going at all. It has turned out to be the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done. 

While in Rwanda we went and saw some of the things Compassion do. We went to some of the projects where Compassion help children, mothers and babies and families out of poverty. 

One day we visited a child’s home who is sponsored by Compassion. We saw first hand how Compassion helps each and every person and family who goes through their program. 

I also had the opportunity to meet my sponsored child. It was such a special moment and something totally worth doing. I think it will be something that we will both remember for a long time. 

I was so much more impacted by the whole experience than I thought I was going to be. At first I thought I was just going there to run a half marathon but it became so much more than just that.  

On the run up to going I would get nervous every time I would have to do a long run. The night before I would not sleep with worry knowing what I was to do the next day. 

In Rwanda I didn’t worry at all. The run was on the last day and I hardly thought about it all week. I was just enjoying each moment as it came along. 

The night before the big day I slept really well. I had such a peace about what I was about to do. I had spent the last few months thinking and worring about this and when it arrived I didn’t have one concern. 

In the morning I was eager to get going. Up until that point I had been counting up the miles. This was the first time I could start counting them down, knowing I wouldn’t have to do them again if I didn’t want to. 

The day was misty and overcast at first but warmed up through out the run. I had no injuries or problems on my way around. It was such a special moment. I ran with another lady from our team the whole way around. We had kids come and run with us. They would hold our hands as we went. It was such a lovely moment. 

The last few miles were the hardest. We were getting tired and starting to slow down. All we knew was that we needed to keep moving.  We did and then we heard it in the distance – we heard drums. Those drums were there to welcome us across the finish line.

To hear those drums was the best feeling ever. It showed us that the end was in sight and we had almost reached our goal. It helped us and motivated us to run faster. 

We ran across the finish line with the drummers playing in the background. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Straight afterwards we hugged each other and just cried. 

We had both been down such an amazing journey to get to that point and to find that we had actually done it was so overwhelming. 

I will never forget that experience of crossing that line. It has been the result of a lot of hard work and pain. But the more work you put in the greater the reward and my reward was great indeed.


One thing that made it extra special was that over the last few days of the trip Matt came out to join me. Knowing that he saw me cross the finish was wonderful!

I have learnt quite a lot from this experience. I learnt that I can and should go out of my comfort zone more often than I do. 

I have learnt that it is a good thing to go all out and aim for your goals however hard it may seem to achieve it.  It’s good to reach beyond ourselves, to stretch ourselves and push through. 

I have learnt that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. That’s all that we were on that trip – just ordinary people but all wanting to make a difference. And doing things for others rather than just thinking of yourself  brings its own rewards. 

And we did learn that the money that is donated to Compassion actually goes to help people out of poverty.  We can’t necessarily help everyone all the time so it might just have to be one child at a time – but with enough children being reached maybe we can all make a difference. https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/414/debbie-wattis

I have made so many great friends on this trip. I don’t think you can go through something like that without making friends.  

If you are interested in a challenge, in pushing yourself, in making a difference in your life and the lives of others, then I definitely recommend you think about doing a Muskathlon. You might even see me there! https://www.4muk.com/

Year 2 week 19

7th – 13th May 2017

So this week I have been very busy packing for my trip to Rwanda. 

The day I was to leave I had changed my mind and I decided I didn’t want to go. I am comfortable with my home, with Matt and my family around me. I was going to Rwanda alone, and it’s totally out of my comfort zone.

When I was a teenager I was very adventurous. I can remember catching a plane by myself at the age of 15 to go to Zimbabwe on mission for the summer. 

Over the years I seem to have lost that adventurous spirit. So that is why I found it so hard to go.

However this time I wasn’t alone – I was meeting 23 other people most of them I had never met. Speaking to them they felt exactly like me! 

So I stepped on that plane, and as it flew off into the sunset I actually started to feel excited, excited for the adventure I have ahead of me. 

We landed in Rwanda safely and I spent time getting to know my new friends. 

We went to the genocide museum. This is a place that really makes you think about what went on, and the pain and suffering that still continues today after 23 years. It has put my problems into perspective I can tell you!

While I am here I am happy to be helping people who were affected by that. It makes me glad that I can help them in my small way. 

If you feel you can help too click the link

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/414/debbie-wattis

Year 2 week 18

30th April – 6th May 2017

It’s less than a week now until I go to Rwanda and I face a pretty big physical challenge for me.

Training for a half marathon has been really hard. If I think about it now, I think I must have had a moment of madness. It seems a crazy thing to have done.  When I signed up it was something that was totally out of reach – at that time there would have been no way I could have ever done it.

I think one of the reasons I did sign up was because I wanted to continue on this journey I have been going down for the last 16 months. I was finding it hard to stay focused on my goals and I felt I needed a challenge to continue. My focus changed from myself to all the children I will be helping along the way. 

It has taken a lot of grit and determination to train for this event. I don’t think I could have done it though without a few people helping me along the way. 

Matt has been great – he has trained with me on some occasions. He has also been a great encourager. 

There are also a few ladies that I train with once a week. One of those ladies has gone out of her way to help me. One week we went and with no warning I said I wanted to go 8 miles. She was brilliant and totally up for the challenge. This week I told her I wanted to do 10 miles – she went out of her way planning what route to do. 

We did pick the hottest day, but we did it. We actually went 10 miles. Sometimes I think I dreamt it, but I didn’t – we really did it. After, when I got home, I was so happy that I was dancing around the house. I don’t know where I got the energy from. 


For the past 6 weeks I got myself a running coach because I felt I needed all the help I could get. He has been brilliant, he has shown me a few techniques that should make it easier for me when I am running. He has told me where to position my feet with every step, how to swing my arms, to look up, how to breathe and so much more. 

You would think that these things would come naturally that you would automatically know how to swing your arms and breathe. But no – apparently there is a wrong way. So the training with him has been vital and I think I have come on a long way since he joined ‘Team Debbie’!

I think when it comes to doing the half marathon I will have his voice going around in my head telling me to lift my head and control my breathing – much to Matts dismay I’m sure. 

Thank you everyone who has sponsored me too. It shows how much you are all with me in this. If you haven’t yet but want to, tap on the link

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/414/debbie-wattis