Narrator – On foot through France


After I arrived in France through the Mont Blanc tunnel, I continued my journey by train to “Annemasse” just before the Swiss border near Geneva. Even in midsummer the Middle/High Alpine mountains north of Chamonix were not my world. Later in the snowy world at the beginning of winter I almost slipped to another world in a dream. In the icy stillness I felt completely at home within the enchanting white dream world. Carla Drift let me come back to life from this icy world.

[1]

My limited travel papers would not be good enough to cross the Swiss/French border twice. From “Annemasse” I walked along the Swiss border to “Les Rousses” to continue north via the GR 5. Luckily the trail north of “Les Rousses” was passable.

[2]

After the train trip no money was left. I had to get food one way or another. I did not have enough time to start working for my food, because I wanted to arrive in Amsterdam before the autumn.

On October 2, 1996, a former Bishop of Breda – Bishop Martinus Muskens – said in a VPRO television program that stealing (and eating) bread is lawful in case people are hungry and have no other way out to survive [3]. Herewith he forwarded the moral teachings of the Catholic Church in which life is more important than earthly possessions. Already in the Middle Ages this “food dilemma” was resolved by a monk who did not have to obey the abbot “in extreme necessity” by delivering food according to the command, but he should give food to a hungry person [4].

[5]

Fortunately, I had never seriously suffered hunger along the way. Very occasionally I had sinned by picking one or two pieces of fruit from a tree without the permission of the owner. I also had occasionally caught a fish or hunted a small animal – a noble act for the nobility and raunchy syrups for the ordinary man – and prepared on a small fire. With my background from a Maasai pastoralists tribe without borders and where all the land is for everyone, I could not see this use of the environment as theft; eventually the fruit, fish and small animals always spring from the world of everyone. Later in my life I started using the ethical [6] starting point that every manifestation has equal right of existence. But as a choice between two manifestations is inevitable, then a more complex manifestation – in this case, a creature that has a higher place in the hierarchy – deserves the preference [7].

Usually on my trip to Amsterdam I exchanged applicable stories of my ancestors for food or for a meal. Herein I followed the footsteps of my father.

In the European countries with material wealth and spiritual poverty, there is a great need for stories that provide interpretation. Politicians, managers, bankers, service providers in mental health, well-known film actors obtain an excellent income with their interpretations. In many cultures, these kind of exchanges are regarded as “wind trade” or vanity trade.

With the stories of my ancestors I could easily fill my stomach; I was never hungry on my way to Amsterdam. By exchanging stories against food, I actually lived of the wind – वात or vāta in Sanskrit – my father was my constant companion and guardian.

A roof over my head was not necessary in the summer; I slept in the open air under the stars. In bad weather I only needed an extra set of clothes and a plastic sheet.

So the first part of my hike along the GR 5 began in France.


[1] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

[2] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Rousses

[3] Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Muskens

[4] Source: Dougherty, M.V. Moral Dilemmas in Medieval Thought – From Gratian to Aquinas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 77

[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger

[6] “The underlying meaning of Greek “ethos” was “personal disposition”. It ultimately came from the Indo-European word “swedh-“”” wherein we recognise the words “sva” and “dha” meaning in Sanskrit “self, Ego and human soul” and “to place, to give”.

Source: Ayto, John, Word Origins, The hidden History of English Words from A to Z. London: A &C Black, 2008 p. 199 and Source: electronic version of dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta.

[7] See also: Origo, Jan van, Who are you – a survey into our existence – 1. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012 p. 80 – 81

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