Emmaus International

Do you know the story of Louis Harenger? He was a companion at the Neuilly-sur-Marne community who travelled around the world by bicycle to meet all the Emmaus communities and companions around the globe who dedicate their lives to the most disadvantaged. He published his experiences in a book entitled "La planète des pauvres" with a preface by Abbé Pierre.

Efrain Olivera

He left his community on 2nd March 1997, with his bike and his bags packed full of material, to travel the roads of France, Spain and Portugal, where he took a flight to Brazil. He then got back on his bike to travel across South America and took a flight several months later to New York, Boston, then on to Canada. During these months of encounters and adventures, he is struck by the outpouring of solidarity he finds, even in the most impoverished places. With his warm and caring nature, Louis is welcomed on every step of his journey, despite facing some hardships and difficulties along the way.

Emmanuelle Larcher, his guardian angel, who helped give him the idea, charted his progress and guided him onwards, at a time when mobile phones and the internet didn’t yet exist. She supported him throughout his entire journey, sharing and publishing the stories he sent her as he went along. Every evening, he recorded everything on his tape recorder and with the help of Emmanuelle and the enthusiastic support of Editions n°1 publishing house, in 1999 he published his experiences in a book entitled "La planète des pauvres1", with a preface by Abbé Pierre.

After two years of travelling, with two continents still left to explore, he told Emmanuelle that he would go back to live in Brazil with Socorro, the woman he had met during his stopover in Fortaleza in a local Emmaus group, and with whom he would finish this remarkable adventure: the adventure of life.


Extract from his book “La planète des pauvres1
“I thought I was alone on the road, but at the end of these two years, I became aware of the existence of all of these people, many of whom would become my friends; friends for a moment sometimes, just enough time to give me a push up a steep hill or to have a warm cup of coffee together under the rain, but who will always remain in my memory.
They form a human chain of companions around this planet of the poor; their smiles are worth all the gold in the world, their only wealth is their solidarity. Because being rich is having nothing to lose.” Louis Harenger

Planete des Pauvres

Title in French. In English The planet of the poor. No translation available.
Book available in french and italian version only.