In late February and early March I undertook the stretch of coast from Barcelona to Italy.
Things were going well at first but on the second week I hit on a problem.
I knew my pension had gone in the bank on the Monday morning but on Tuesday when I tried to get cash from the machine, there was none. What happened after is all in the post for that period.
But for all intents and purpose I had no money for six days and but for a few handouts no food for nearly a week.
Now being a westerner the first thing that struck me was no beer, but soon the reality of having to scratch around for some food off the street was the priority.
When I say off the street, I mean, off the street.
One night I followed a woman who was putting bread out for the birds and I stole it from my feathered friends.
Another night outside a closed greengrocers, I managed to find a half dozen horse raddish and a mouldy orange.
Ther were amidst these desparate acts of survival, moments of generosity.
An old lady had obviously been given some cakes from the shop, that would be out of date the following day. She gave me a bag containing two cakes and 2 croisants. I was ravenous and ate them with mucho gusto.
Another night a passing pedestrian, going home with his stick of French bread stopped and gave me half the baguette and another moment, when the owner of a pizza restaurant volunteered a small pizza.
All these acts of kindness were without asking or begging.
That lasted a week and I knew there was an end to my plight, but what if I was in Somalia or Kenya and I knew there was no end to my plight due to the famine and I And I had to walk tens or hundreds of miles to find an aid camp, with my children who are also hungry. And I had to rely on the genrosity of people who didn't know me, who hadn't even made eeye contact with me before, who apart from a blitz of news programmes, that would eventually fade for more fashionable stories, would soon forget me as 'another situation that has surely been addressed'.
The problem is that it is never addressed, only short term if that and only through the generosity of people like you and me. Is one donation enough I ask myself and it's not. It doesn't have to be a large donation if you haven't enough to give yourself, but a pound or two every week is never going to hurt. A pint in the pub that I can do without one night or skip dining out one night, for people who are dkipping dining at all every day
There are thousands of children who face starving to death in East Africa. You wouldn't want your children to face that. UNICEF is helping, but as it recieves no other funding apart from voluntary donations, the lives of these children is ultimately in our hands. Yes the hands of us, YOU and ME
Facts are that acts of generosity by people like us, CAN ease that suffering especially for poor innocent children and I ask all of you to show that same generosity that people showed me in France and donate to help the children there