A serious charity challenge

7 09 2009

I get occasional emails from folk doing mad things for charity, asking to be featured here.

But I’m afraid they are all gazumped by Jean Béliveau whom I met in Malawi two years ago. He is taking 12 years to walk around the world (yep) with the simple aim of promoting the UN proclamation of the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World”.

He’s a tad eccentric, obviously, but also a rare, inspirational man.

He gave his wife two weeks’ notice that he was going to do it. But she has stayed with him (in spirit, in their home in Quebec) and updates his website for him.

Having walked the length of Africa, Spain, France and Ireland since I met him, he’s just arrived in the north of England, which marks his halfway point and I hope to meet him again when he arrives in London in a few weeks’ time.

His view on the real Africa – where, as everywhere, he relied on the generosity of locals for his food and shelter – is the best informed and most thoughtful I have heard. He also knows a lot about boots.

See his progress here.

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