Posts by Mandy Richards for Cycle Tour News:
Out from the smouldering ashes of a twisted and wrecked travel industry came the most epic and outrageously fun of New Zealand cycling adventures!! If you have ever wanted to ride the length of New Zealand (or part of it), or the more adventurous and remote width of New Zealand from East Cape to Cape Egmont? NOW is your chance!!
Humbled and hugely grateful we are to all of you, who through your donations and purchases have helped us support our out-of-work Overseas Crew. Having lost our full year's income ourselves - we've been feeling pretty bummed not being in the position to employ our overseas crew this year - so to the many, many of you who put your hands in your pockets and contributed and helped us to support them... THANK YOU. It has made a real difference! Read More from each of our overseas crew below...
We have been helping with the Orphans Program at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi for the past 12 years. This month we received wonderful news that "Luggard" who we have been helping to foster, has recently graduated from the Nairobi Nursery Unit and been moved ot the Umani Springs Reintegration Unit. Read more this beautiful story and Luggard's journey at Nairobi Nursery Unit...
FOR SALE - Escape Adventures icebreakers, bike shirts & keep cups...
Last newsy we sold just over half our stock of EA icebreakers, bike shirts and keep cups... Now for the remaining stock we will pop $50 per shirt into our Overseas Crew Fund - to help support our out of work overseas crew members around the world this year.
Last newsy we kicked off an Escape Adventures Overseas Crew Fund - by depositing $20 for every Escape shirt we sold into the fund. A few shirts and cups later and we already have $2000 NZD in the fund! Some of you got back to us asking if you could make a direct donation to our overseas crew? The answer is YES! If you would like to help us pay our out-of-work overseas crew this year - please email Mandy. She will be back in touch with bank details to pay your donation into. (We can provide receipts for your donations, however please note that this is not a registered charity. We are simply doing this to help our crew.)
We asked our wonderful interpreter and fixer of everything in Kyrgyzstan how life is in the Kyrgyz Republic at the moment. Here is what Kenje has to say...
Alex is our ‘Senor Informacion’ with extensive knowledge on history, politics, geography and actually pretty much everything in Colombia. Formally a Colombian policeman with the anti-narcotics special division (yikes!)… Alex has been with Escape Adventures (in Colombia) from the beginning providing guidance and support when we were researching our Colombia cycle tour and on the ground for our cycle tours since!
To buy an Escape Adventures shirt or cup and help out our in-country crew... email Mandy with your shirt or cup choice, size and your mailing address. We'll get back to you with availability and payment details.
Joseph (sometimes affectionately known as “Yopsie”) is our man on the spot in Kenya. For those of you who have not yet met him, Joseph has been on the Escape team since 2008. For up to five months a year, he drives support in Kenya & Tanzania while we are biking and also keeps tabs on everything on the ground in East Africa when we are not there so that our tours run as smooth as silk during our season.
Outside our cycle touring season, Joseph works guiding private tours within East Africa and is part of a community volunteer group working with urban villages in Nairobi sharing ideas on how to clean up, plant trees, unblock waste from water ways etc.
So how is life in Kenya right now? In Joseph’s own words "2020 has been a unique year, first locust plagues, terrible flooding and now Covid 19”.
Currently travel within Kenya is restricted to local only. Nightly curfews from 7pm to 5am are in place and all public meetings are cancelled, churches, mosques and schools are closed. On the positive side most of Joseph's extended family live within Nairobi so keeping in touch has been possible and his daughter Cynthia has moved back home during the pandemic. Joseph has been keeping busy homeschooling their son Michael. He says it has been great as he is picking up what he missed the first time round!
Reported cases of coronavirus in Kenya are low. Unfortunately though, with Kenya’s borders closed and the tourism industry at a standstill, both Joseph and his wife Susan are not currently working and have been hit hard economically. They say that worry and uncertainty is what is affecting most people and they are living in hope that a cure will soon be found.
The economic effects of the absence of tourism and of the lockdown in East Africa are huge. There is no government support and for many people what they earn today will feed the family tomorrow - so staying home from work is not an option.
Another big concern facing Sub-Saharan Africa, with tourism at a standstill, is the protection of it's wildlife and National Parks. Unemployment and desperation leads to more poaching and the lack of tourist dollars means less rangers and anti-poaching teams on the ground.
The hope is for tourism to return in the near future to bring back those precious dollars that the wildlife, environment and people need.
April's been a crazy month all right. We thought we were going to be putting the final touches on our newest cycle tour while biking and camping in the deserts of Namibia. Instead, the day Jacinda announced we were going into lockdown we made a quick decision and moved into our unfinished house and new Escape HQ. So we've had plenty to do to keep us distracted from feeling sorry for ourselves! We postponed the bulk of our cycle tours to next year and began brainstorming ways to get through the next year with a positive bank balance and sense of humour intact! I am sure this sounds familiar to some of you?