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Monday, 10 March 2008

I Want To Participate

I spent a few hours today helping to outline the The Zimbabwe Fun Ride. 600 miles plus of fund raising fun on push bikes acroos Zimbabwe. I am really keen to take part in this ride if I can get time off work to do it. I have only ever been to Matopos Hills (the place where Cecil John Rhodes, the guy who let the first official group of colonialists in what he later called Rhodesia, is buried. His grave is almost an intrusion into this very tranquil but vast place. If you cannot be moved by your own presence at such a place, then you are either already dead or you are very close. The fact that this ride starts at Matopos is great news for the participants.

In Bulawayo they visit the first orphanage, with 13 children some of whom need special medical attention. It’s a chance to see why they are fun raising. Then through Bulawayo and onto the famous Selbourne avenue out towards Masvingo over 300 km away. Selbourne is as straight as straight can be for 15 km. Its as if they use laser technology to line it up. Bulawayo has the widest streets and avenues on earth. They are lined by the sweet smelling jacaranda trees which flower in the spring.

A variety of topologies bring you to Zvishavane. I have an affinity for this little town. It is the first real life place you see on this otherwise natural landscape from Bulawayo. Stop and have a good look.

From here its downhill to Masvingo, a city built among the best province of Zimbabwe, Masvingo. Zimbabwe gets its name from a monument a few kilometres south east of the city. The monument is unique and anyone passing within 14000 km of it ought to take a detour to go and look and perhaps take some photographs. The riders will visit the place. There is a dame or mane made lake not too far and it would be good to see it because it is built at a very interesting location.

From Masvingo the rders head north along the Harare Road.. 70 km on, they take a 10 km detour to Chatsworth, the best town in the whole world. (my birth place) to go and visit the second orphanage. This, when complete, will take up to 20 orphans from any age to 14 initially. Over thirty of these are currently supported in placement in the community, supported by H.E.L.P. International. Again the riders will se in person why fund raising is needed, in this community where the average income is less than GBP 5 per month, yet the number of orphans is increasing year on year.
Back on the road the riders head for Harare 290km away. It is uphill on a bike but it is interesting terrain all the way there. Stop at Spider Web for a drink, at Fairfield for a dance to high pitched local music, at Mvuma to look at the artwork by locals, at Chivhu to watch the country buses come in or leave with everything except live cattle on their roof racks. Check the tread on their tyres and ask yourself whether it is not a lot safer on your nice bike.

Next port of call is Beatrice (pronounced Beatrice) Every time I pass by this place, I go to the local police station and ask the whatever silly question I can think of. It just breaks the journey a little bit. I suggest the riders do the same. It will make someone’s day. They will want to know how Liverpool FC is doing.
You can smell Harare from Beatrice. You know you are close when you see an endless cemetery on your right. Each time I have passed there, there are countless groups of people, each adding another grave to the place, as if it does not have enough already. If the riders stop here for more than ten seconds in silence, they will fully understand the meaning of the word ORPHAN in Zimbabwe. Just after that, there is a turning on the left, which goes to a large children’s home about a quarter of a mile away. The rider will visit this place, and may be well advised to put up there for the night. It is not a good idea to ask the chap in charge of the place to tell you any stories about any of the children present. I have seen grown men reduced to a tear or two from listening to this guy., and all he does is tell you the true children stories. Americans are supporting this place whole heartedly.

Next port of call, Harare International Airport and before long London, UK. Breathe good air before you leave Africa. The African bug bites many. The Zimbabwean bug bites even more. One you have been, you will always want to go. Maybe next time without your bike.

This was Richard Pantlin’s idea. After the ride, if you have lost a bit of weight from your ten days with him, go back to your friends and workmates, and enjoy the compliments. Tell them its not all good news because there is a constant amount of weight on this earth, so that each time someone loses weight, someone else gains the same amount. Hopefully the guys in Zim have gained some. They need it.

600 miles of The Fun Ride is my idea of participation in fund raising. This one is scheduled just after I get back from Banjul. Question is Can I do both? What do you think? Should we take Charity bets on it?

If you would like to participate in this really interesting venture, please contact

Momentum is gathering, now and the group so far has FIVE people eager to ride. Progress chart will be posted on our website (Asher C Mupasi)

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