Stratford teacher cycling to raise £100,000 reaches border of Kenya
PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 March 2012
A Stratford teacher who changed his life to cycle 12,000 miles from London to Africa to raise awareness about the plight of street children has now reached the border of Kenya.
Gareth Morris left his job teaching Years One and Two at Gainsborough Primary School in August to raise a total of £100,000 to help vulnerable children in Africa in partnership with charities, Retrak, Street Action and Street Child Africa.
According to Gareth, the past five weeks have been “the most challenging of the whole trip” for the team of six including a 20km downhill ride down the Blue Nile Gorge, crossing the Nile river, and spending four hours in first gear winding uphill for 30km where they had to be helped out by a passing lorry.
On leaving Ethiopia, Gareth said: “Ethiopia is a beautiful country with not one inch of land void of crops.
“Cereals, fruits, and veg are grown everywhere and as we cycled through people were harvesting crop, sifting the seeds and preparing to make the local speciality of vinegary ‘injera’.”
Ethiopia was also were the team experienced their first visit to a charity project which Gareth described as “emotionally draining” as they saw children as young as six sleeping in corn sacks and in the sewers to hide from abuse.
But when they arrived at Retrak, they met 30 boys participating in a circus skills workshop run by two ex-street children helping them back into mainstream school.
Gareth said: “We met Awanza, who had completed his training and was now working as a hairdresser away from life on the streets.
“It made us realise that our journey is making a difference. Before this trip, I didn’t know much about street children.
“They are the forgotten children of this world but seeing their enthusiasm during the circus skills showed they are still just children; all they want to do is laugh and play regardless of the weight upon their shoulders.”
Readers can follow Gareth’s journey on his blog www.cycletoafrica.org/blog/right-Im-leaving-home, on Facebook or on Twitter @cycleafrica and donate by visiting www.cycleafrica.org.
The team hope to complete the challenge this July.
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