02 Aug, 2018
10 : 00
Today, Steve Hackman, in charge of developing community and charity work at the Yew Chung Education Foundation, sets off on his 70th day of walking, hoping to reach his final destination of St Peter’s, The Vatican.
Since the 1st June, Steve has been walking the Via Francigena – a 2,000km, two-and-a-half-month long route from Canterbury to The Vatican trodden by Christian pilgrims for many centuries. While an opportunity for personal reflection, Steve is also completing the route to raise money for Kids International Ministries – a partner of Yew Chung’s charitable foundation Seeds of Hope – who are helping with our construction of a secondary school in Manila, The Philippines.
Steve has been posting daily updates from his journey, in which he has detailed the achievements and struggles of the day, as well as sharing stories of people’s kindness and generosity along the way. On Day 50, he explained on social media:
“The environment is less inspiring than in previous days. Endless flat rice paddies full of mosquitoes – but a pilgrimage is a metaphor for life: sometimes you enjoy the vistas of the Alps, and other times you are surrounded by irritating blood suckers!”
From his posts, the kindness of strangers stands out. On a few occasions, Steve has found himself without shelter for the night and, just as he is contemplating settling on a bench, a stranger has offered to drive him to a B ‘n’ B, open their door to a shelter just for pilgrims, or cook him a reviving meal when there are no restaurants:
“I got to the 23km stop to find the one hostel closed and vacant for 2 years (I was tempted to sleep outside on one of the abandoned benches) but I saw there was a B ‘n’ B listed in my guidebook 7km on.
“I arrived to find that too had shut down and a lady on her lawn confirmed it was closed. Next thing I know her neighbours are asking me to sit down and insisting they drive me 10km to Champlitte where I can get a room. While I wait, the husband named Luke asks in broken English “Do you like beer?” …The Camino [the pilgrim’s way] always provides!”
Steve’s route has taken him from England, across the Channel to France, through the Swiss Alps and into Italy. By the end of today he hopes to arrive at The Vatican where he will meet with many thousands of other pilgrims who have all made the journey to visit this holy site for Christians.
We wish Steve the best of luck with the final day of his journey and look forward to hearing about his incredible accomplishment when he returns!
If you would like to make a donation in support of Kids International Ministries, please visit Steve’s Simply Giving page here.
e visit Steve’s Simply Giving page here.