Thursday, April 29, 2010

La Grandeur de l'Âme Humaine

We slept in a little village called Gimouille near Nevers, at a small inn by the name of La Grenouille. We ate supper last night in an absolutely spectacular village by the name of Apremont-Sur-Allier, which was built in the 15th century, is owned by a single family, and hasn't really changed since then. Walking through the village, you are transported 500 years back. . We ate at Brasserie Du Lavoir owned by a delightful fellow from the Basque region of France, combining local dishes and Basque cuisine. We left very full, very happy and very amazed by the  surroundings.

This morning when we were leaving Gimouille, we went over a pont-canal over the Loire (a pont-canal is exactly what it sounds like, it's a bridge over the Loire which actually contains a canal so boats using the canal system in France can cross the Loire without actually getting caught by its currents and shallow bottom), and then asked a fellow on a bike how to get to Chevenon, where we hope to find the Vélo Sur Loire bike path. When we asked him for directions, he told us he wasn't in a rush and he would take us to the right road, and he proceeded to pedal with us, finally leading us to the road to Chevenon. On the way, we learned his name was Jean-Pierre Brière, that his nickname was Coco, that he has two artificial hips and loved to cycle. We told him about our trip and our cause, and he was not only interested, he indicated that he would be interested in making a donation. We gave him the blog address and parted ways once we were on the road to Chevenon. We were all amazed at the way he was willing to share part of his day with us to help us out.

We then continued on to Decize where we had a delicious lunch from a boulangerie and after lunch, Serge, Dr. Jean Roy, Helene and Diane went one way onto our destination of Bourbon-Lancy and Dr. Denis-Claude Roy and I followed the bike path along the Canal du Nivernais, and then we were going to take a different route on to Bourbon-Lancy. As we were pedaling along the beautiful canal, Denis-Claude's front tire went flat, and we found ourselves with a flat tire, we had no extra tube, no patch kit, and were in the middle of (a beautiful) nowhere. We found our way to a little town and asked for a bike shop, to no avail. We then decided to look for a garage, and we found Garage Francois Lanoizelée and met François. Luckily for us, he had a patch kit which we purchased for 5 Euros, and while Denis-Claude was patching his tire, I started talking with François. He asked where we were going and I explained our trip. When he learned that I had survived leukemia, that Denis-Claude was one of my doctors, and that we were making the trip to fundraise, he gave me a second patch kit and then gave us the five Euros that we had given him for the first patch kit as a donation. He then helped us complete our tire repair and off we went to Bourbon-Lancy, and a total of 106 kilometres for the day.
We were all moved today by the way people went out of their way to help us once they learned our story. Perhaps it is kindness responding to kindness, perhaps it's simply the good in people, whatever the case, it is a privilege to be here, it is a privilege to meet the people, and it is a privilege to share acts of kindness.

We all can become cynical about human nature, and assume the worst in people. Today however, has shown us the best, that a little kindness goes a long way, and that there is hope.

Please help us by donating online. Your acts of kindness and generosity will no doubt be answered and reciprocated.

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