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Labour of love for cyclists on a charity mission

Monday September 9 2019

EDUCATION

The cyclists riding from Busia to Mombasa in a drive to raise money to finance the education of needy students take a break from their journey at Sultan Hamud, Makueni County, on September 2, 2019. They raised over Sh2 million. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SIAGO CECE
By SIAGO CECE
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So how long does it take to travel from Busia to Mombasa on a bicycle?

Well, if you ask Samuel Kibiko, Fredrick Njoroge, Ian Gichohi, John Odor, Peter Gitu and Samwel Kagiri, they will tell you 10 days.

They should know, too, because they have just made history by covering the 1,103km distance on the two-wheelers in a bid to raise funds for bright and needy students.

The six finally arrived in Mombasa Saturday morning and were received by Deputy Governor William Kingi at Pembe za Ndovu.

“We are happy that you decided to end your journey in Mombasa. This is a tourist city and what you have done is part of sports tourism,” said Dr Kingi at Treasury Square Gardens.

The four Starehe Boys Centre alumni, one parent and a friend of the school started their journey in August 27 and arrived in the coastal region in September 7.

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FUNDING

Their expedition was geared towards raising funds for needy Starehe Boys and Starehe Girls students.

Mr Samuel Kibiko, the brainchild of the journey, said he was happy they had surpassed the Sh5 million they had targeted to raise.

“Starehe’s international donors are pulling out. Not many people are aware of this, yet the girls and boys need to stay in school. It’s up to the alumni to help,” he said.

For their effort, the team raised Sh2.7 million in cash and Sh16 million in pledges. The contributions were sent to M-Pesa paybill number 949494 under the account name Gokibiko. But what did it take?

“The journey was long. It was not that easy, and we had many challenges but it took teamwork and determination,” said Mr Kibiko. Bad weather, especially heavy rains in the highlands, was particularly taxing.

They also had to struggle with traffic while being careful not to be hit by rogue drivers, with a narrow escape on one occasion.

TEAMWORK

From Busia, they cycled to Eldoret for a brief rest through Bungoma and Webuye.

They later headed to Nairobi through Kericho, Bomet, and Narok, arriving on the fifth day before resting at 67 Athi River Hotel.

For the remaining days, they passed through Tsavo National Park and Samburu until they got to Mombasa.

Mr Kibiko says they got a scare at Narok when they had multiple punctures and had to send for spare tyres and new tubes from Nairobi.

He said working as a team gave them the motivation to continue. He added that support from the online community, which they kept updating, inspired them.

MECCA TRIP

And what’s the end like? “It’s a cocktail of emotions. It has been like two weeks of being together and I cannot believe that this is the end of it. I want to go back to my family, at the same time stay with the new family I have made in these two weeks. I feel relieved but also regret that I will not be sitting on the bike to cycle the whole day with the team tomorrow,” he said.

They were accompanied by a team from St John’s Ambulance and a committee that organised their food and accommodation. This is the second time Kenyans have cycled to raise funds for the needy.

Last week, a team of four Kenyans returned from Mecca in Saudi Arabia after cycling 3,500km to sponsor needy children and help fund the completion of Al Furaq towers in Namanga.