It was my first time in South Africa and it was probably the best way to discover this vast and beautiful country. It was so rewarding in so many ways. I have never had to raise such a significant amount of money before, and even though the bike ride was probably the most physically demanding challenge I have ever undertaken – it was definitely worth it! I would say that the most emotionally challenging aspect of the trip was at the end when we visited the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. There were a few tears from a number of us. And to think that there are less than a dozen nurses and doctors taking care of over 1000 children passing through this hospital per year!
We arrived from London with bags full of little teddy bears which we gave to the kids. I didn’t know what to say : I thought I had just accomplished a mammoth of a challenge in the past few days with all that cycling, but it all seemed insignificant when I gave my teddy bear to a little girl, barely 7 months old covered in bandages. I could only see her eyes, nostrils and mouth. Just imagine what challenges she has , is , and will face in her life – incomparable to what I had just done. Visiting the kids put everything into context and I was very happy to see what my efforts had gone into.
I am very happy I took part in this bike challenge and helped these burnt survivors. The rest of the team were great as well as Day Trippers for making the journey go so smoothly – except for the “occasion” hills, mountains, bump, rain, wind, and so forth… One could really feel the team work, determination and encouragements following us until the end.