The weather has been fabulous as we had sunny and warm conditions. The forest is lush and green and the rains are over and we have been enjoying clear skies.
Mission Malawi 5 (MM5) Cycling Expedition
In May this year, Kayak Africa put together and supported the fifth Mission Malawi Cycle Tour. Mission Malawi is a biannual charity challenge raising money for HIV/AIDS projects run by ActionAid in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. To date they have raised over £350 000.
Malawi is particularly hard hit by the AIDS crisis as almost 15% of the population is HIV-positive. Mission Malawi works directly with ActionAid so that all the funds raised go as grants directly to projects in Africa.
This May, the participants cycled over 400 miles along dirt roads in central Malawi: from Lilongwe, to Nkhoma Mission, to Dedza Pottery, to Mua Mission, to Phirilongwe Forest Reserve, to Nanchengwa, ending off in Cape Maclear. The team visited ActionAid partners along the way who are working with people living with HIV and AIDS to see first-hand the difference they are making to people's lives.
Kayak Africa planned and 'recced' the route, provided the support vehicles, guides, tents, mattresses and all meals along the way.
After MM5 cycled from Lilongwe to Cape Maclear as their final destination, they still needed to complete the last 24 km to fulfil the targeted 400 km. With this distance in mind, Kayak Africa organised a cycle race between sixteen local cyclists from Chembe Village, Cape Maclear and sixteen cyclists from the MM5 group.
This took place on Sunday 20th May. The race began at Kayak Africa's reception in Chembe Village and the cyclists raced over the mountains to Nsaka Village and back.
After the race, Kayak Africa invited the local cyclists together with the MM5 cyclists for a special lunch at the Kayak Africa reception. Kayak Africa also rewarded the local participants with MK 2000 for participating in the race. MM5 gave each local cyclist a Mission Malawi 2012 T-shirt. They also donated clothes, shoes and one lucky cyclist received a mountain bicycle as a particularly fine reward for his cycling skills!
Both the local cyclists and the Mission Malawi members thoroughly enjoyed the race, as did spectators from both the villages of Chembe and Nsaka. An unusual and fun end to an excellent and worthwhile fundraising expedition!