Tom Sawyer lives on in this Dutch youngster
DEVENTER _ Life does imitate art. The spirit of Tom Sawyer comes alive in Wouter Doeven. The 13-year-old left Aug. 23 for a 3-day ride on a wooden raft held afloat by 240 empty juice boxes and helped forward by an Optimist sail. No, not down the Mississippi, but the much more sedate IJssel River which drains into the IJsselmeer, the vast lake in the heart of the Netherlands.
The authorities approved the rafting venture provided Doeven equipped his raft with a small emergency engine _ there is ample inland cargo traffic on the Ijssel _ and some extra flotation tanks. Dad shadowed Doeven in a tender. Doeven uses his trip to raise funding for Serious Request, a Dutch radio station project that began in 2004 and collects money for Red Cross initiatives.