After a two-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the non-profit organisation Le 5e monde resumed its traditional hike: Run For Boko. The walk, which is now in its fifth edition from 6 to 10 April 2022, is part of the non-profit organisation’s sports and cultural solidarity project. The organisation members were asked to get involved by collecting donations from their friends and family in Belgium to support the hospital in Boko financially. The aim was to walk 20 km per day to the final destination Boko. The walkers started from the hospital of Saint-Martin de Papané to reach the hospital of Saint-Jean de Dieu in Boko, after a walk of 80 km.
Ten thousand euros for the hospital in Boko
The hike generated just over ten thousand euros. These funds will be used to finance the orthopaedic mission in December 2021 at the hospital in Boko: 19 surgical operations, 17 patients treated (children with deformed or malformed legs).
Day by day
The trip to Benin was rich in colour, and discovery, as in previous years. It was a time for mixing, exchanging, sharing experiences and networking between Belgians and Beninese. Follow the photo report of the 4-day walk.
Run For Boko 5 started at the hospital in Papané at 06:30 sharp, taking a diversion leading directly to the railroad tracks in Tchaourou. On day 1, the group was made up of 15 members of the Le 5e monde organisation, the director of the Saint-Martin de Papané hospital, a few agents of the Papané hospital, and a few curious people, not forgetting Chams-Dine Baguiri, the communication manager of the Hubi et Vinciane Foundation in Benin and the author of this report. After about 6 hours and 30 minutes of walking, the joyful delegation arrived in Guinirou, the first day’s stopover. On the first day of the hike, the sky was overcast, and the heat was not so intense. The whole group was highly motivated to start the second day.
On day 2, the enthusiastic group set off from the old train station at Tchatchou. Walking in small, scattered groups, the members of the Le 5e monde do not feel the length of the route despite the blazing sun. Mostly passing through vegetation, the walkers stopped to recover and quench their thirst until they arrived in Badékparou.
On day 3, the penultimate day of the trek, the director of the Saint-Jean de Dieu hospital in Boko and some of his colleagues join the group. They left Badékparou together just before 7 am, passing along the high-voltage lines to reach the rails and the stone-crushing quarry in Parakou and reaching their destination, Coteb, before noon.
Day 4: Last day of the trek.
The team of the day before, with some agents of the Hubi & Vinciane Foundation, teachers of the Wansirou public primary school, and other sympathizers, start the last circuit at about 06h40 in Tourou. Determination and endurance animated the walkers who completed the 80 km of the hike on their arrival at the Saint-Jean de Dieu hospital in Boko. Joy, relief, and smiles could be seen on everyone’s faces.
Breast pumps and baby scales for hospitals
After a few moments of rest and refreshment, Jean-Marc Dumont, representing his company Partenamut, donor of breast pumps and baby scales, proceeded to the symbolic handing over of part of the equipment to the director of the Boko hospital. This was an opportunity for the latter to express his warm thanks to Jean-Marc and his company Partenamut. It should be noted that the hospital in Papané and other health centres will also benefit from this equipment.
Some pictures of the walk to see below.
Some of the participants give us their impressions after the Run For Boko 5
Emilie Vermylen, Run For Boko 5 coordinator
This 4-day trek under a scorching sun and the fact that we had to get up very early was a real sporting challenge. Beninese and Belgians all pushed their limits to finish this long journey proudly. This year especially, we were accompanied by the agents of the Papané hospital, Boko, the Hubi & Vinciane Foundation, and many others. We walked side by side. We had a great time with them, passing through villages to meet people in the heart of their daily lives and other sites to satisfy our curiosity. The warm welcome of the Beninese was no exception, as usual.
Yves Aloukoutou, surgeon at the Saint-Jean de Dieu hospital in Boko
My impressions are good because beyond the humanitarian aspect of this hike, which is to support the hospital in Boko and help the vulnerable, the poor, and the children, there is the physical and sporting aspect. We were able to sweat through walking, which is good for our health. Run For Boko is like a symbol, reflecting the love and perseverance of the partners to help those in need. We thank them for all their sacrifices.
I feel very emotional that the march is over and we have reached our destination. It symbolises everything we did in Belgium to get there. I am very pleased; everything went well, and we had no problems. What’s more, we were very well accompanied. It was lovely.
This is my second time in Benin as part of the Run For Boko. The first time was on a bike, and this time it’s on foot, and it’s not the same thing. I am proud of the team’s achievement. My legs still hurt, but I think it was worth it. On foot, we were able to exchange and discuss with the Beninese. We learned from them and vice versa.
This is the third time I have come to do a Run for Boko. We have just finished, but I still feel up to continuing tomorrow. The 2022 edition was my favourite because, while walking, we were able to share our life experiences with Beninese citizens and vice versa. It was nice.
I must admit that I am tired. This is my first participation in a Run For Boko event, but I am not disappointed. It was a lovely and solid experience because there were two objectives: humanitarian and sporting. Running kilometres in the heat is not easy, but we took up the challenge by waking up early in the morning to hit the road each time. It allowed me to make exceptional discoveries, and this mix of Belgians and Beninese all united for the hike, I appreciated this mix; it was impressive.
Jean Agbégbanou Director of the Saint-Jean de Dieu Hospital in Boko
This sporting achievement was particularly good for me. I did the last two stages with the group. I was stunned because in two days I walked about 40 km. My colleagues thought I would give up, but I held on until the end. The Run For Boko initiative is a good thing. I want to thank Pascal Laviolette, the initiator of this walk, who was able to prepare the next generation. For her first time as coordinator of Run For Boko, Emilie succeeded brilliantly. A big thank you to Emilie and the whole team of the Cinquième monde association. I want to express my gratitude to Jean-Marc Dumont and his company Partenamut for donating breast pumps and baby scales.