Capital to Coast Charity Cycle 2016

Mother Teresa, her face painted in black and white and her words bold, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” commands a presence within these corridors. Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, are all immortality sharing their wisdom with the children that live here as well. This is part of the library section at Child of Mercy Orphanage Center. To one side, the books are carefully arranged – different categories suitable for different ages. At the center of the room lies their newly acquired batch of second hand bicycles, some already in need of mechanical service (you know how kids can be rough on their bikes).

Further down the hallway is the girls’ dormitory. Once it was hosting all the 43 children (boys and girls) in a tightly squeezed set up. However, since a month ago, the boys have been transferred to a separate dormitory. The one right outside the building. The one which Baiskeli Adventures, in 2015, raised funds for through the first edition of Capital to Coast Charity Cycle (C2C).

Child of Mercy Orphanage Center (COMOC) opened its doors in 2008 and has since seen not only a gradual increase in the number of children it accommodates but also an upsurge in its capacity. Jessica, the director, speaks of a humble start and a continued growth by the grace of God. From two children to 43 – orphaned, destitute, neglected, molested and those whose families are unable to fend for them, COMOC has grown into a family unit of its own. The children, under Jessica’s and her staff’s care, can gleefully and properly be children and grow up into decent adults before exiting at 18 years of age.

When I first came to COMOC in 2014, having cycled 600km in 4 days from Nairobi to Mombasa, I was just a young jaunty man out for adventure. I was in search of new experiences, fresh from college and newly employed. Nothing could have ever prepared me for what I was to experience at the orphanage when I walked in with a friend of mine, my pannier-laddened bike in hand. The warmth. The joy. The innocence and the love that I saw in these children’s eyes made my four-day painful and lonesome adventure all worth it. I could see myself in them. I could see my childhood as an orphan in their smiles behind which lie the horrendous loss (for most of them). I could see a spark of hope, a hunger to be better tomorrow than today and that got me. But I had nothing to offer them except my life story and my bike since I had eaten up all my money on the road.

Fast forward, one week later, having shared my visit and interactions at the orphanage with my friends, I came back to the orphanage on 1st January, 2015 with shopping worth Ksh. 25,000! And it didn’t stop there…

Four months later, Baiskeli Adventures was born. Born out of a desire to create and share cycling experiences with the world. Born out of an inspiration to transform lives through passion, experiences, love and laughter. The goal was and still is to make each adventure more than just cycling but a wholesome experience involving and impacting on people from all walks of life. And with that, the concept of C2C was initiated to give back, particularly to the orphanage from which the inspiration sprung – COMOC.

In December 2015, a group of 19 cyclists hit the road from Nairobi to Mombasa, retracing my cycling trail, and in 4 days made it to COMOC. Despite the heat, exhaustion, strenuous distances and body aches, this group of happy and jubilant cyclists made the first edition of Capital to Coast Charity Cycle a reality and with it, a total sum of Ksh. 600,000 was raised. All of which was our little contribution towards the completion of the new dormitory (budget totalled approximately Ksh. 3million).

The ride was done. We had done our part and there wasn’t more we could do, or at least I thought so, but plan another C2C. Eight months pass by, we are engrossed in our weekly routine of cycling adventures in different parts of the country, occasionally checking up on the orphanage in preparation for the second edition of C2C. The progress being made on the dormitory slowly starts to come to light. Turns out, C2C 2015 in itself may not have managed to raise the whole amount needed but opened the door for the friends/networks of the participants to come in and push it further than we hoped we could.

Now I’m seated here, almost one year later, in the newly completed ground floor of the boys’ dormitory. Junior and Lewis are marveling at the new book I just brought them, the one I hope would be a great addition to their library. We are sitting on the veranda with the tastefully painted walls all around us. Everything looks bright. The future looks even brighter and more likely achievable. I will soon go out to play with the kids and then later go to the beach but they all keep asking me one question: “mtarudi tena na Baiskeli?” {Will you (and your friends) come back again cycling?). Yes!

Capital to Coast Charity Cycle 2016 is the second edition of this amazing adventure that gives adventurous cyclists an opportunity to tour the country, challenge themselves and make an impact. This year, unlike in 2015, we will cycle approximately 700km in 6 days through 7 counties and across 2 countries (Kenya and Tanzania). It’s an adventure that will take cyclists from the heart of Kenya, Nairobi, to the original Administrative Capital of the country, Machakos on day one; To Makindu via the scenic Wote route on day two; To the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Loitoktok on day three; To the breathtaking surroundings of Lake Jipe and the Tsavo beyond the Taveta border on day four; and finally to Diani via Maungu, Samburu and the Shimba Hills on days five and six. Picture yourself running into the welcoming arms of the evening waves on Diani beach knowing the six days of adventure are over. Then the following day, we spend time at the orphanage and hand over our contributions. How does that sound? Epic, no?

So many projects at COMOC need well-wishers’ support and Baiskeli Adventures’ primary concern is to fully complete the dormitory to the first floor. Any assistance in that regard (monetary or in kind) or for any of COMOC’s projects is highly welcomed and appreciated. Intrepid individuals can also sign up for this highly rewarding cycling challenge here.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi (on the library’s wall).

About Author

Rakesh Young
A wandering photostorycyclist with a poetic incline. The Founder and Lead Adventurer at Baiskeli Adventures. I believe in transforming lives through passion, experiences, love and laughter....and cycling! :)


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