Page 5, 31st May 1991

31st May 1991
Page 5
Page 5, 31st May 1991 — Bigamist's confession of divided life

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People: John Medcalf
Locations: Surrey, Lima


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Bigamist's confession of divided life

St Peter's Catholic Community Shoreham-by-Sea Dear Friends I have been a bigamist for most of my adult life, and I continue in that happy state. What's more I am pleased to note that most of my parishioners are now bigamously inclined.

I refer of course to England and to Latin America, to whom I feel wedded and united in different but equal ways. In the top drawer of my desk I have two passports — British and Peruvian — and there are days when their stiff front-covers look up at me like two jealous wives.

Peru is in desperate need. Even with inflation reduced to 50 per cent a year, half the people live below the poverty line, 25 per cent in total destitution. In Lima only one in ten has a full-time job.

And now there is cholera. Infected water is killing thousands and threatening millions. This illness is already creeping into the USA and Europe, but it is in the city slum and the mountain villages of the Andes that the hit-andrun killer will run riot.

We can easily become "donor weary" or give in to "compassion fatigue". Alternatively we can and should let the reality of the world set our agenda and fix our priorities.

On the weekend of June 8-9 a group of us will walk 37 miles from Guildford to Shorehamby-Sea, along a disused railway line linking the North and South Downs ways. Train buffs will close their eyes and smell the steam as they walk!

We shall be sponsored (we hope) at £3 per mile and hope to raise several thousand pounds to provide vital medicines for those already stricken.

As we walk near the purified rivers of Surrey and Sussex — the Wey, Arun and Adur — we shall be gratefully reminded of the drinking water that we in Europe take too easily for granted.

Just a month after this Downs Link Endurance Walk I shall be in trimmer shape to lead a group of ten young persons (including four seminarians) to Peru. For most of July we shall share the poverty of the shanty-towns and of the isolated Andean villages and our sponsorship money will be converted into medicines and serums.

Those bigamous readers who share my belief that we can and must have divided hearts are invited to walk with us, or to sponsor us with cheques payable to Downs Link to Peru and sent to me at 43 John Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. Affectionately and bigamously,

John Medcalf

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