Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I’ve now got more details of the project I’ll be working on in Belize. I’ll spend 3-4 months drawing up a financial plan for a non-profit organization that “improves quality of life through the provision of a comprehensive eye service in Belize”.

The organization does brilliant and necessary work with visually impaired people, allowing people with visual handicaps to live full and successful lives, and educating people to better understand the difficulties faced by the visually impaired.

The charity has expanded over the years and now takes services out on the road to make eye care accessible to remote communities. Despite this good work, there are real concerns that the charity could lose grant funding in the future. Like all CWW projects, the intention is to build capacity and sustainability to allow local charities to work more effectively themselves and my task will be to develop a plan to ensure financial sustainability.

While project costs are kept to an absolute minimum – I’ll be staying with a local family who will put me up for 3 months and provide meals (I hope they’ll be forewarned about my appetite) – the cost of my placement will be £2,000-2,500.

So… with three months to go before I head out to Belize, I’m looking to do something ‘big’ to raise a bit of sponsorship money to help finance the project.

What I’m going to do is:

- walk 500 miles, as in the Proclaimers song…
- …over 10 weeks, starting this Sunday, 18th June and finishing about a week before I fly out to Belize;
- …without going the same way twice. So hoping to cover some interesting ground including The West Highland Way, the canal path from Glasgow to Edinburgh, round about John O’Groats and the route of the London Marathon.

–500 miles is… …almost 20 marathons… …Edinburgh-Calais… …2000 laps of a football pitch–

I’d be grateful for any donations, in person or on the CWW donations website:

I’m also grateful for support in general - volunteers to accompany me on short stretches of the walk would be welcome! (I already have a number of victims signed up.) or you could just post a cheeky message on the website.

Now I’m off to look out the Ralgex…