The amazing cycle ride
TOP CAT 2017 (Tackling overwhelming poverty, cycling across Tanzania)
Liz, Paul, Nick and Helen tackle heat, sand and exhaustion to raise money to bring Hope in Action.
Liz says "Imagine a 10-year-old kid looking you straight in the eye and saying "I come to this centre so that I don't get killed like my brother did...and because they teach me how to be a good person"...it gets your attention...hope is everything.
Here Liz gives a flavour of the ride.
"Well, we survived - just about in one piece, albeit pretty battered and bruised.
"It was SO much tougher than we'd envisaged! Nearly all of it was off-road, with the thought of tarmac a distant dream. The training we'd done around Warwickshire didn't nearly prepare us sufficiently for the ankle deep sand tracks or the switch-back, alp-style climbs!
"The heat was just about bearable, a mere 35 degrees most days, and the tiny tents we called 'home' for three of the four nights provided refuge from the persistent mozzies at least, and, thankfully, the lions (there were prints some 20ft away from our tent one morning!)
"But it was the terrain that proved the biggest challenge - both mentally and physically. Imagine cycling down a bumpy, sandy beach for 10 hours a day. At times it felt like running in treacle…but we did it...and at least being sand it didn't hurt so much on the occasions that we fell off, and fall of we did!
"The worst open injury sustained was, bizarrely, burnt lips! The dryness of the sand meant we were constantly, unconsciously licking the regularly applied sunscreen off. Some cried, some prayed, some (mostly Liz) crafted excuses to regularly take a break (stopping to give the Maasai children jelly babies!), but through sheer determination we reached the Ngorongoro Crater.
"We were really lucky that the other seven riders were fantastic people who spurred each other on with words and acts of encouragement and somehow made even the toughest days enjoyable.
"Would we recommend it? To our enemies, yes. Seriously, it was certainly a 'challenge', but we fell in love with Tanzania - the vast mountains, arid landscapes and particularly the people. Anyone who doesn't mind a sore bum, is very strong willed and wants an adventure should add this to their ‘to do' list! Make sure you use Ahsante Tours though - our support crew were second to none.
Our young singers
Follow some of our young men who started singing at the Mbekweni Centre, as the travel to Cape Town to record their music.
Tim and Alex
Tim and Alex, two young professionals from the UK, wanted to be involved in helping young people realise their potential. Tim is a qualified football coach and psychiatric nurse. Alex is an architect and experienced craft teacher. They opted for the "real" experience by living in a township with host families and close to the people with whom they were working. Whilst they were there Tim worked with the young people who had physical and intellectual disabilities. He produced a manual of how to help coaches and trainers to work with young people irrespective of their ability. Tim developed football games for those with sight impairment. Alex used her craft skills to develop the creative abilities and produce art work which is on display in the centres. Their time there, nearly 6 months, had a major and lasting impact with the community who were impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm shown. A truly life changing experience for Tim, Alex and the young people to whom they gave so much.