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On October 4, 2011, a group set out from sunny San Diego on a 10-day trek to Los Angeles to do what no other group has done before them: carry 40-60 pound bundles of wood on their backs in honor of, and to bring awareness to, the hundreds of millions of women in this world that cook every meal over an open fire. In much of the world, women and even their daughters are walking up to 10 or 15 miles to collect wood for their families to cook. With all this effort to collect wood, women and their children return to their homes only to cook over a dirty, inefficient fire forcing them to go back to collect wood again a few days later. Amazingly, cooking every meal over an open fire causes the death of nearly 2 million women and children every year from lower respiratory disease.

The journey in honor of those women and the children affect by open fire cooking will consist of challenging and sometimes grueling days of “woodwalking” through Southern California, a place that couldn’t be more different and distant from the world that the 3 billion energy poor in the developing world know so well. Teams from different organizations (Invisible Children, The Modern Gypsies, People of the Second Chance and others) and friends from all over the world will bring the experience of everyday “woodwalkers” right to the front doors, grocery stores, playgrounds, frozen yogurt and coffee shops of the Southern California community.

The purpose is to raise awareness in a compelling way, to engage the community on their home turf and to raise funds for The Paradigm Project to develop its work in East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi) and to end open fire cooking through clean burning rocket stoves.

The walk started on October 4th and stretched 136 miles from San Diego to Los Angeles.

Greg Spencer, marketing director for the Paradigm Project, writes in the blog, "Day 1 of the Woodwalk. 11.2 miles from Sea World to UCSD. It felt like 50 miles. My back, shoulders, feet and even my little pinkey finger hurt like they never have. We actually weighed the bundles we had today and they ranged from 35 to 70 pounds and I somehow ended up with the 70 pounder–poor choice on my part! And yet, this is what women go through just to collect wood to cook for their families. That is humbling like no other and what an honor to to be doing this for those ladies in Northern Kenya and all over the world that go through so much just to cook."

You can still sponsor the walk by visiting the website, and find out all the other great work the Paradigm Project does!