Friday, February 13, 2009

Covering the distance for charity

Simon Gardner and the 20+ strong group of cycle-maniacs are going well through Ethiopia. There are obstacles to overcome but generally its life-changing, awe-inspiring lessons on life.
Simon last blogged a few days ago but his entry is an eye-opener (almost a split-eye-opener).

I NEED to share another lesson with you, from rider Randy Pielsticker who was helping to set up a refreshment stand at the time of writing while recovering from a bike injury. Please pass this on to anyone you know would be interested.

"a group of Polish tourists [stopped] here trekking in the Simien Mountains. I was explaining the nature of our cycling expedition when suddenly the van was surrounded by a mob of insane locals. One of the passengers in the back had opened up the window and began handing out single Birr bills. They left shortly after I expressed my concerns. I had to move the refresh stop to get away from the mob.

The tragedy is that their intentions are genuine but their methods are wrong. This is the cause for begging children. There is no longer famine here. Every inch of the countryside is cultivated, irrigated or designated grazing land..... If people want to make a donation they should go directly to the headmaster of school or to a church to ensure that any gifts are distributed properly and throughout the community." .. read the full post here.

image c/o

In just under 3 weeks the group will reach Kenya where Simon and the group will meet Pius & Norbert from Yala district who are currently studying hard for another year of secondary education, funded by monies raised by Simon's epic journey. Tour d'Afrique will be staying overnight at the Sagana campsite and have kindly offered to house and feed Pius & Norbert along with their guardian, Edward Wata, accompanying them on the 600km journey from their school to the foothills of Mount Kenya.

We'll keep you posted.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rapid, stressful but effective project management

We've extremely rapidly moved to air-freight stage on the original 2 boxes of donated goods.

Handlers in UK, on the advice of Kenya Airways, have now issued an airway bill number which means we are "good to go".

TTXGP spent hours running around Heathrow ensuring the paperwork and boxes were all handled correctly and we're now waiting for flight arrival details in Nairobi.

Kenya Airways wonderfully offered us FREE air freight though its important to share to others that there are still surcharges to pay per kg (airway bill issue, NES entry fee, handling, fuel & security charges ... even one for war £0.78p!!) in UK. As far as we are aware (????) there will be a small charge to pay at Nairobi's customs of minimum $10.

Given the correct info we have a grace period of 72hours to pick up the boxes. Everyone is hoping that customs allow the boxes through without a hitch or additional charge. Kenya Airways understand that these goods are going to help people who live on less than $1 a day.

Fingers crossed !

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