Friday, September 18, 2009

Adrian's Tour de Zambezi

On the 15th August 2009, I, Adrian Scarlett with several Zambian family members, embarked on a 300 mile sponsored cycle ride across four countries in Southern Africa. We set out from Livingstone in Zambia and then spent the three days cycling through Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia before returning to Zambia and cycling back to Livingstone. The trip involved six days of cycling.

The Liverpool Echo featured us, and the charity we founded, the Thembinkosi Foundation, on 3rd July 2009, after I was assaulted whilst training for the Tour de Zambezi. As a result of my injuries my training was interrupted for a month but my strength of character and willingness to succeed in the face of adversity saw me recommence my training regime and ensure that the sponsored cycle ride was done.

I did not cycle alone. I was joined in completing his trip by his brother in law, Fungai Madondo and DJ, a cousin of my beautiful wife Betty. Two of our 15 year old nephews, Nawa and Kaone, also cycled a fair proportion of the challenge and our son, Bongani also joined in the fun. Bongani was a real star cycling up to 15 miles on two of the days in the intense heat!

The cycle ride began at the site of the Victoria Falls. We, the intrepid cyclists, began the Tour de Zambezi by crossing over the Zambezi River and entering into Zimbabwe. Once at Victoria Falls town we were met by two armed Game Wardens who remained with us as we cycled through a Game Park that is heavily populated with elephants, giraffes, zebra and lions! The first day was arduous. The terrain was undulating and the heat of the African sun sapped our energy. The scenery was breathtaking however and after six hours we reached the Kazungula border crossing and entered into Botswana. Our whole party, which also consisted of my wife Betty Scarlett, her sister Constance, brother Jabulani and Auntie Irene, then camped overnight in Kasane.

The following morning saw us venture into the Chobe National Park and cycle to Ngoma and the Namibian border. In normal circumstance cycling is not permitted in Chobe due to the fact that it is densely populated with game. However, the Botswana Wildlife officials granted us a dispensation and allowed us to cycle through the park. Rather worryingly they were unable to provide us with Game Wardens to protect us from the wild animals. As a result only three of us cycled through Chobe. Those of the party under 16 had to ride in the support vehicles. The Chobe leg was in many ways the most exciting especially when we encountered a herd of elephants on the road. Fortunately the elephants were busy going about their business and left us alone!

The third day saw us cycle through Namibia from Ngoma to Katima Mulilo. Thankfully the terrain was flat and there were no wild animals to be avoided. The day was brightened by the reception we received as we passed through many small villages on route. Children cheered us on and some local cyclists joined us for parts of our journey. Once in Katima Mulilo we spent a rest day at a very relaxing camp site!

The next three days of cycling saw us gradually cycle the 150 miles through Zambia back to Livingstone. Again our journey was brightened by the children in the villages. The last day proved to be the most difficult. Fatigue had taken its toll and once again we encountered many hills. We stuck it out though and dug deep into our energy reserves. When cycling through Kazungula district we stopped for drinks in a small village and spent some time chatting and dancing with some of the locals. Eventually on the afternoon of 21st August we arrived back in Livingstone. The final 10 miles were a joy as we approached the Falls to complete our circuit.

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation met us for the final stages of our journey and that night we were featured on the early evening national news. They even interviewed me!

One of the great features of our sponsored ride was the fact that one of the bikes that we took it in turns to ride was made from bamboo. The bamboo is grown and harvested in Zambia and the bikes are assembled by local employees. Zambikes, who lent us the bamboo bike, as well as two other bikes, shares a commitment to sustainable development with the organisation we were cycling on behalf of, the Thembinkosi Foundation.

All the cyclists and supporters who took part in the Tour de Zambezi wore tee shirts sporting the Rotary International logo. One of the most memorable moments during the Tour de Zambezi was when we stopped in Kazungula and spent time with some of the local people who will benefit from the building of a school in their district and from a range of outreach programmes that will see water, sanitation, electricity and better health care for many in the district.

Please support us by supporting us financially in any way you can!

Acc Name: Thembinkosi Foundation
Bank: Barclay bank
Acc # 63226387
Sort Code: 205094

Registered Charity Number: 1128661

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fundrasing Update

We are really busy at the Thembinkosi Foundation. Will, Betty and I are now back at work and Karen is looking after two babies. It makes it difficult for us to devote our time to fundraising on behalf of our charity. However, we have mustered up unprecedented energy levels and we are working tirelessly to raise the money we need to build our school in Zambia.

My recent sponsored cycle through Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia has raised about £1500 at this stage but some monies are still outstanding. We're hoping to secure over £2500 by the time all the money is in. Our next big fundraiser is Dave Postletwaite running the Dublin Marathon on the 26th October. Dave can be sponsored at Please be generous!

We are also in the planning stages of organising a Zambian Night for the end of October, three Sportsman's Dinners, the first of which will feature the former Everton and Manchester City manager, Howard Kendall, several Band Nights and a Black Tie evening. More details of these events will follow.