Monday, 9 March 2009
What an incredible last few month it's been; more orphanages are on board, lots of great new contacts have been made, and the main artery of my route is mapped all the way from London to Cape Town. The tangible change energy around the plans for Better Life Cycle seems to be an infectious one, bringing with it great new ideas, opportunity, and enthusiasm from all quarters. The focus of the last month has been on the logistics and planning; putting fundraising to one side for a the mother of all blitzes in the final two months, before the off. I have shored up the charity with whom I will raise the sponsorship; Good Karma. I met two of the founders Jonny Knowles and Matt Sayer a few months back to ask for their advice. They successfully founded an orphanage in India of the back of their Good Karma Drive; driving from London to India. Inspiring stuff! Now we're working together. Planning the aid A number of people have rightly enquired how the funds raised will be spent, so I've been scrutinising the plan with the help of some people with first hand experience. All the orphanages I’m visiting have been recommended by networks of friends, who have worked for and can vouch for their good management. I’m in contact with them and am discussing with them in what would be best to include in the educational aid box I hope to deliver. The surplus funds will be used for longer term projects -paying local suppliers directly to try to minimise funds being misappropriated. Ultimately education seems to a good focus because it helps people become more self-sufficient and is sustainable. I have deliberately avoided food and medical supplies as a short term initiative like mine would only breed greater dependency. I’ve tried to be pretty conscientious in the management of the ‘giving’ – hoping to avoid just making myself feel good to the potential detriment of the cause. It’s not perfect but feels to be and seems to be received as a positive goal. Filling in the gaps Other practicalities of the ride are falling into place - I've had all sorts of jabs; Meningitis, Rabies and Cholera. I most approve of the Cholera vaccine; a drink that tastes like summer pudding; now that's innovation! I'm still short a courier sponsor - I've made some good contacts but no real headway with TNT or DHL who appear to be the only couriers servicing all the remote areas I'll be visiting. So if you know anyone or have any ideas as to how I may get a courier firm shored up, please get in touch. OK - this blog post is getting way to long. Thank you to all the folks I've met recently whose enthusiasm has been so motivating. Next steps: event planning, website re-launch, and spending some quality time with 'Cecile'... the bike!