• The mouse Wallonia.be looking at her future trek across the BRICS countries

Discovering the BRICS13/06/2016

After having spent nearly ten years in South Africa, in Cape Town, our small Belgo-South African family are off to discover the BRICS countries. We are setting off in August 2016 and will end our journey back in Belgium towards the end of July 2017. Until then, the 11 months spent travelling through South Africa, Brazil, India, China, and Russia will have enabled us to acquire a better understanding of these countries, who make up nearly 50% of the global population and whose combined economies have already exceeded those of the G7 countries in terms of size. We are therefore full of curiosity to transcend the narrow stereotypes which imprison these countries in a certain vision that we have of them from our regions, but we also have a deep-rooted desire to give our two young boys (6 and 4 years old) the opportunity to see how vast the world is, and how many perspectives it can offer depending on one's vantage point.

The opposite is also true: we hope to be able to incite curiosity in others and serve as ambassadors who can tell everyone in these countries all about our lovely Wallonia. We will be taking a little mascot around with us. Just like Amélie Poulain and her garden gnomes, we are going to help grow the wings of a little Walloon mouse who we will photograph throughout our journey into unusual places, breath-taking landscapes, or right in the middle of curious onlookers who may be wondering what the little flag proudly hanging from its tail represents.

For the time being, we are still at the preparation phase. In mid-August, we will start by travelling the length and breadth of South Africa by car. After that we will head for Brazil, in mid-October, where we hope the post-Olympic hangover will be just a distant memory or, on the contrary, that the euphoria will not yet have dissipated. Brazil is going through a complicated political crisis, which will almost certainly not be resolved before October. It will be a good opportunity to understand close-up the upheaval affecting Brazilians, what gives them hope and what they aspire to. In January, we will head for Mumbai and travel through India by train, from the south to the north. We will cross the border into Nepal, right in the heart of the Himalayas, towards the end of March 2017, and will press on to Lhassa, and then further to X'ian, the port of arrival (or of departure depending on the case) of the ancient silk route which connected Europe with China back in the day. From there, we intend to go in a big loop towards Shanghai before heading to Beijing, from where we will go all the way to Vladivostok, the major port which connects Russia with the Pacific basin. Just like in India, we will rack up all these kilometres by rail, and it is also by train that we will finally head back to Europe, by taking the Trans-Siberian railroad to Moscow!

There's a taster. I hope many of you will follow our tribulations. In return, we promise to proudly represent our little Walloon region and to tell all the inhabitants of the BRICS who we will meet on the way.

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