Science - August 24, 2005

Stroke a puppy for a good cause

The Hoogstraat in Wageningen was not the place to get on quietly with your weekly shopping last Saturday morning. The AID activity for BSc students was ‘Het Grote Ideaal’ (the big ideal), the aim of which was to collect as much money as possible for street children in Peru.

‘A compliment for a good cause, sir? Or perhaps a group hug?’ A shopper looks up briefly, but continues hurriedly on his way. ‘No, our act is not going down so well,’ comments a first-year student with a board hanging round his neck with the words ‘group hug’ on it. ‘We thought it was a good idea.’

A little further along the high street there are two people walking backwards and forwards with great difficulty; they are wrapped up together in tape. A little boy tugs his mother by the hand. ‘Look mum, can I stick some money on them as well?’ He carefully sticks a few cents on the stomach of one of the students.

Another group has decided to rely on the attraction of animals. Two elderly ladies come up to a sweet little puppy and stroke him. ‘Yes, that’s twenty cents for the good cause,’ says the student who is holding the puppy. She explains what it’s for, and the women laugh. ‘I’m happy to stroke a dog for the poor street children.’

Behind them a big horse walks down the Hoogstraat. The horse belongs to a nearby student who has brought him to help the AID group. Children can have a ride for 1.50 euros.

Others are not so happy with the extra crowds. ‘It must be students again with a money-raising stunt. I’m going to be poor if I walk down this street too often,’ comments one passer-by. But even for those who wanted to just shop in peace the students had thought of something. For fifty cents they could buy a white sticker with the words: ‘Nee, ik heb al gegeven. No, I’ve already given.’ The students raised a total of 2113.94 euros for street children in Peru. / RK

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