Hello and welcome to our little accidental charity website.
My name is Steve and my partners name is Julia, and together we run Pedalondreckly.
Accidental because we are both a little surprised, but happy to be in this position,and hopefully the next few paragraphs will help to explain how it happened.
In search of an adventure, in May 2016 we flew to Nairobi, where we picked up an Oasis Overland truck which took us around Lake Victoria, East Africa, travelling through Kenya,Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
For those who don't know, it's a great way to travel. A group of up to 20 people, a big yellow truck, a driver and tour guide, sleeping in tents at campsites, buying and cooking local food, seeing the sights and generally having a wonderful experience.
Part of the trip was a visit to Lake Bunyonyi, a stunning lake system, and amongst other things to do there, we took a boat ride and a pretty strenuous hike up the hill, and were introduced to the children and teachers at the community, along with Edison the community chief.
There are around 400 families, living off the land, collectively planting, growing and harvesting a variety of food.
Having an engineering background I was asked to come up with a solution to their water collection problem. They currently retrieved water from the lake, or spring feeding the lake, which meant a long and treacherous walk down, then back up the steep slopes.
To pump water from the lake to the top of the considerable hill would be just too costly to build, run and maintain. Mains water is not an option.
Hence we made the decision to fit guttering to catch the rainwater, and tanks to store the water in. However, although simple and cost effective, the systems still cost money to fit, money that is simply not available.
A special mention to our good friend 'Dizzy'
who made a big effort to travel to Uganda to support us. We have known'Diz' forever and his practical help and knowledge were a big help to us. A big thankyou also for all his fundraising efforts since.
We were already planning a bicycle trip across Europe so it made sense to try and get some sponsorship from the bike ride to raise money to help finance the new water collection system. We started our very first blog and a GoFundMe crowdfunding site.
After some 4000 kms from Nantes on the west coast of France, to the Black Sea, we managed to raise, amazingly,£5000.
Touched by the generosity of all those that supported us, we had to then think about how to use the money sensibly. Feeling strongly about giving those who donated the opportunity to see exactly where their money was being used, we decided the only way to achieve this was to take the money to Lake Bunyonyi Community, and involve ourselves with their lives to se where the help was most needed
Paying all our own travel expenses, we flew to Entebbe, and traveled on various buses to get to the community where we were made very welcome, given a mud hut to stay in and spent the next six weeks getting to know everybody, discussing what was needed most, and getting on with it.
As with our cycle trip, Julia kept a blog of our progress so that again, people could see first hand what their money was being spent on, and giving the opportunity to share our experiences.
We found it incredibly rewarding, and made some very strong bonds with not only the children but also some of the many characters that live there.
Since returning, because of people's on going generosity, we have been continuing to help, already sending several eligible children to secondary school.
So you see, from a somewhat spontaneous reaction after meeting a group of children, we find ourselves wanting to carry on, let's see where it takes us !
'Diz' impressing everyone with his moves.
The Big Yellow Oasis Overland Truck. Campsite in Uganda. A great way to travel.
word popular in Cornish dialect meaning at some point in the future, but not immediately, like'manana' but not as urgent.
Following the Euro Velo 6, mostly off road, always an adventure.
Finally arrived Varna, The Black Sea,
Bulgaria. 4000kms, 9 countries, £5000 raised.
Just enough room to pitch a tent next to the River Loire, France.
The long trek back up the slippery hill, carrying water home. Often several times a day.
The Iron Gate, between Serbia and Romania.
Steve and Dizzy. with Edison holding the 'ladder', trying our gutter fitting skills.
Even on the last day there were punctures, except Julia of course! In 4000kms she didn't suffer one puncture! I had...……...loads.
Saying goodbye to some of the friends we had made