What do you do when you are paddling from Oslo to Athens and you end up with an extra kayak?
If you are on a mission to prove the power of small acts of kindness, you give it to someone who needs it more than you. Mark Fuhrmann of the Piece Prize has done just that, presenting the craft to the Corfu chapter of The Smile of the Child, a national organization with 13 chapters providing homes for 360 children all over Greece.
Mark is on the last leg of an epic journey, paddling his kayak from Oslo to Athens. Along the way he has stoppedto recognize “Silent Heroes”, those who give in their communities without asking anything in return. Most of the trip has been solo, but Mark reserved six weeks of the tourfor anyone who felt the call to join him on his mission.
“Travelling alone, I was dependent on the kindness and compassion of strangers, for five months and 5000 kilometers,” he explains. “But the Piece Prize motto is ‘Together we are better’, so I wanted to show that individual determination can be rewarded with companionship and support, even though it may seem impossible at times.”
The first of Mark’s paddling companions joined him in Venice, where they purchased the kayak with a partial donation from The Piece Prize. The last fellow traveller returned home once they reached Corfu. “When the last one went home I had to figure out what to do with the extra kayak.Rather than send it back to Oslo, I was looking for a worthy recipient here on Corfu, my first stop in Greece,” says Furhmann. “As soon as I learned about The Smile of the Child, I knew I had found the right place.”
The Corfu chapter houses 21 children, providing support to an additional 230 children on the island. “We are so pleased to have met Mark, and thankful for the generous gift from The Piece Prize and Mark’s fellow travellers,” says IordanisTsompanakis, head of the Corfu office. “I wish Mark health, strength, and kind winds, on the rest of his journey, and in the future!”
Mark is now continuing solo to his final destination, Athens, where he will speak at the local chapter of The Smile of the Child.