Day 5: Boracay (Ati Village)
Yesterday we made it to our final destination Boracay!
Boracay is a small island just off of Panay Island. This is a unique island as it is very popular with tourists from all over Asia but it also has a strong sense of community as well. It is an absolutely gorgeous island with beautiful beaches and sunsets. Ross’ uncle John lives here with his 4 children and wife. Ross’ brother Sean and his girlfriend Sally are visiting the family there so they were able to make it for the last leg of our trip. Uncle John and cousins Chico and Kya were great hosts to us there on the island and again we thank you for your hospitality. Chico is a big basketball fan and rounded up some troops at the local courts to challenge us to a little game of hoops there. A hard fought 3 game series battle between the 2 teams ended with this photo below. We were able to give away a few pieces of the equipment at the courts to local children after our game.
The highlight of Boracay was spending some time at Ati Village. Ati Village is a government housing complex run by Sister Moth and Sister Marie. They said there are over 80 children living there anywhere from 3 months old to 17 years of age. We were able give them skipping ropes, volleyballs, volleyball nets, basketballs, badminton racquets and birdies. A few of the kids there challenged us to a 5 on 5 basketball game on their dirt court. Team wehaul2play took the nail biter of a battle 7-5. The kids had incredible energy. They were all extremely enthusiastic about playing sports with each other. IT was great to see everyone involved. The young kids, older kids, girls and the boys. As soon as they got some equipment they ran off and got right too it! Didn’t matter that it was 35 degrees outside. They really love to play over here.
As our trip concludes here I want to thank my fellow riders Ross and Isaac for your energy, enthusiasm and perseverance.
Isaac, after every DWI moment, of your pedals exploding or the canucks losing you kept it positive and gave everything you had to the kids. I appreciate your effort and so happy you were able to join us for this ride.
Ross, “Rusty,” your logistical organizational skills saved us on numerous occasions. You were always able to anticipate possible issues and help dissolve them before they could become major issues. You are a true athlete as well and were always willing to give kids tips on any sport that the kids asked for. I thank you again and also appreciate your effort on this ride.
Thank you to Paul Hayes. This is your creation here… Because of your idea we were able to spread the power of sport to the children of the Philippines. Thank you for your advice and assistance behind the scenes with the trip.
Thank you to our readers and supporters!! Because of you we were able to hand out over 180 pieces of equipment in 1 week to close to impoverished children! Thank you to those who came to our bowling fundraiser, the open mic fundraiser at Sino Canada High School and to those who donated on the website. We appreciate your words of encouragement throughout the journey because it was those words that kept us pushing. Friends and family, we can feel your love and support no matter where you are sending it from.
For Ross, Isaac and Cyril, we thank you and love all of you!
Stay tuned, I will be uploading more photos from my camera when I return home.
Day 4: Nabas to Boracay
Our day started nice and early! Cyril met a few kids from the basketball game the night before and told them we would shoot around with them first thing in the morning! When we arrived to the courts the next day we were surprised to see how many kids were there. It is evident that several of the kids here live and breath basketball 24/7. It's inspiring to see how passionate they are and it reminds me of when I was their age. I would be playing street hockey everyday from the time school ended until bedtime. During our shoot around Ross and I distributed more equipment while Cyril gave a brief lesson to a few girls who were keen to learn more about basketball.
After the shoot around we had a quick breakfast, where Cyril and Ross loaded up on pastries. In their defence, they were incredibly delicious. On this trip though we have had our vices. Mine is probably soda. Every shack we stop at I will buy a cola and finish it within a few seconds. Cyril's is definitely pastries and Ross has too many to list.
By 9:30am we were on our way! Today was exciting because our wolf pack of three was turning into six. Ross' uncle (John), brother (Sean) and brother's girlfriend (Sally) were all joining us for the last stretch. At first, we had a challenge finding them. The meeting spot that they gave us turned out to be in the middle of the jungle. Clearly this wasn't a good move to make the three stooges go into the jungle. We biked roughly 2.5 km into the jungle and we couldn't find them. The off roading was fun, but it wasn't good for the trailers we were carrying on the back of our bikes. Thus we decided to change the meeting area and thankfully we eventually found John, Sean and Sally!
The distance from Nabas to Boracay is only 20km, so we thought that today's bike ride was going to be fairly easy. Unfortunately, we underestimated the hills and the heat. A deadly combination. Each day that we have been biking it feels like it's been getting hotter and hotter. Due to the heat, Ross and I have some pretty epic tan lines. Someone should have told me not to wear my sunglasses for the entire trip.
Once we hit the hills Sally put all five of us guys to shame. She made climbing hills look so easy. Her hair and makeup looked perfect while I was almost passing out trying to catch her, Sean lost his tire and the rest of the guys were slowly making their way up.
After we passed the stretch of hills we made many stops to hand out equipment. This was the first opportunity for John, Sean and Sally to hand out equipment and play with the kids, so it was extra rewarding for them. It never gets tiresome to see the joy and excitement of the children when they receive a simple piece of sports equipment. Furthermore, it's been really awesome when we have had the chance to spend time with the kids and play with the sports equipment we gave them. We are all hopeful that the sports equipment will be shared and last for a while. Cyril and I had a small debate about whether we buy high quality equipment and hand out less or buy lower quality equipment and hand out more. I don't think there is a clear answer, but hopefully what we are doing will inspire lots of people that in the future we can afford to buy large quantities of high quality equipment for Wehaul2play trips.
By 3pm we reached our final destination. It pains me to say that Cyril technically won the final yellow jersey. In controversial fashion if I may say so. All of us were making a stop to drop of equipment and Cyril told us he was going to bike ahead to handout more equipment. 10 minutes later we reached Cyril and he's standing underneath the final sign with a smug look on his face. He claims he didn't know the sign was up ahead but we have already coined him the Lance Armstrong of Wehaul2play.
The final stretch! Boracay is our final destination! However, we will still have a couple more days of distributing equipment while we are in Boracay. Overall this experience has been incredible. I've learned so much and everyone we have met along our journey has been so tremendously kind to us. The beauty of the Philippines has left us in awe and to top it all off I couldn't have picked two better guys to do this trip with. We have had many laughs already and there's been a good balance of chirping and supporting each other.
Love ya Ross and C!
Day 3: Kalibo to Nabas
Day 3: Today we rode from Kalibo to Nabas.
There were a few decent hill climbs here.. Hayes remembers how much I love these from our last trip through Laos. It's Day 3 of riding so the bodies are a little sore but we try to keep it positive. After every turn on a hill I hear Rusty say "never trust the corners."
Meaning around the corner is most likely another hill.
Each district on Panay Island likes to officially welcome you into their zone by putting up a big "Welcome" sign. So what we did was we said the first person to reach a "welcome" sign has captures the "yellow jersey" (like in the Tour de France bike race) and is the unofficial mayor of that town.
So since I'm riding with a bunch of guys with no grit, I have a few yellow jerseys on the day.
However Rusty took down Nabas sneakily to end the day which is unfortunate because since we're staying in Nabas I've had to get him waters all evening.
There was one funny exchange though... So usually there is a welcome sign for entering the district and another welcome sign up ahead for entering the town.
So after Ross took the Nabas District, Isaac just bolts! Looking for Nabas Town.
Ross is still celebrating behind us but i decide to go get Isaac. I gun it for him. I reach Isaac and stay very close behind him and use Isaac as to block the wind. I am expending far less energy cycling right behind him since Isaac is absorbing all of the wind. In the cycling world they call this "drafting."
The best part is Isaac had no idea I was drafting behind him for like a kilometer, so I'm riding right behind him as quiet as possible ready to make my move... You should have seen the anguish in his face when he finally took a look back and realized I was there... Unfortunately there was no welcome sign to Nabas town but I am now in Isaacs head. He knows he can't break away from me. I will always catch up. Haha!
Fortunately wehaul2play is not just about bike racing, it is about assisting and promoting physical activity to impoverished areas. so when I wasn't taking down yellow jerseys I really tried to make some observations as to how these communities are functioning. I asked myself a few questions during today's journey:
What are the kids doing before we hand them equipment?
Keep in mind right now is the summer holidays for the kids in the Philippines so most of the schools are empty. Most of the kids we see are between the ages of 8-14 years old.
I was very encouraged to see that most kids are with other kids socializing or playing. I rarely saw kids by themselves. Now the kids are very resourceful when it comes to play. There was a group of boys playing on concrete circular construction structures just jumping up having a good time and playing a little hide and seek.
I would see some kids working cutting fruit or hauling branches or doing some sort of labor for their families. The kids are very cohesive and affectionate. They are usually laughing with their arms around each other and hanging all over one another. Doesn't matter if it was boys girls or a mixture. Some groups were family members and some were friends but they mostly acted similarly. It was very difficult to tell if they were related or not just by their actions unless you asked them.
What do the children do after they receive the equipment?
I saw a wide range of responses here. Some children are very shy and think there is some sort of catch or that they have to buy it so they can be quite hesitant. In this case the 3 of us will play with the equipment showing them how it's used and then we will just leave it there and ride off. I usually look back and see if they've used it after, and once we've left they start playing with the gear. Some kids are very keen on showing us their athletic skills. We were playing volleyball with a group of 12 year olds and we were very impressed with their passing form.
All of the kids are very gracious, they have all said "thank you" when they are receiving the equipment. Even the ones we leave it for will yell "thank you" as we ride off.
Some kids/parents ask for more gear but we explain that the equipment is to be shared and they usually don't resist that notion.
Is there a difference between how the boys and the girls view sport?
Girls and boys both play. Which is great. And they play with each other which is also encouraging. However there still is a bit of the gender roles notion, that boys should play basketball and that girls should play volleyball. This is also reinforced by the adults creating boys basketball leagues and girls volleyball leagues. But recreationally I see the girls shoot around with the basketballs for fun so it is clear they don't "just" love volleyball. I was handing out some equipment and I asked a girl, what would you like? And she said "basketball..." And then she caught herself and said "I mean volleyball..". So I told her, "hey it is okay to like basketball, girls can play basketball too! Boys can play volleyball as well... I'm happy to see both genders playing but there is still some gender role stereotyping taking place here. Hopefully we'll see a girls basketball game on the courts in the near future.
What type of infrastructure do I see in the communities?
The nicest buildings I see here are the churches. They are large and quite extravagant compared to the houses and other buildings. There is a huge emphasis on sport here. Most open spaces have a make shift volleyball court. There are basketball courts and hoops everywhere. Some have wooden backboards, some have concrete ones. On the end of most of these basketball courts is a stage usually. I found this quite interesting because these communities don't have a lot in terms of material structures but they make sure their basketball courts are painted and colorful similar to the churches I saw.
I thought to myself why is such an importance on the court? My question was answered this evening in Nabas. Around 4pm we saw around 20 kids shooting around on a court... They asked me to dunk but well, ya those days are long gone for me.
Around 8pm I return and there are 2 teenage boys teams playing, with PA system announcers, chalk board as the score board and referees calling the game. But I look around and just about EVERYONE is there...
The crowd is cheering, supporting and applauding a good play. And these kids were playing hard! If they are open they attack, if a teammate is open they pass the ball. It was quite frantic as both teams are pressing but it was a fast paced entertaining game. One team used a 2-2-1 full court trapping zone and the other team was running a form of a run and jump defense. Anyways back to the court. I realized that the basketball court is the town meeting place. Everyone comes together here. Everyone has a roll as a participant, an official, or a spectator. There were kids there as young as 3 years old and there were grandparents there as well all together at one place mixing and mingling. One funny moment was when a 3 year old ran onto the court in the middle of the game while one team was shooting free throws! She ran right up to one of the referees who I'm assuming the referee was her father haha.
The people here place a high priority on sport for the same exact reasons why we do or should do back home. It teaches their young life skills, keeps kids off the street, gives them something to celebrate and it reinforces their community.
Thank you all for helping support sport and the impact it has on a community.
For Ross and Isaac
Day 2: Altavas to Kalibo
After our first day of biking in the Phillipines we were very excited about what lay ahead of us in the coming days. After a nice little 9 hour sleep in the small town of Altavas, that included a 2 hour long torrential down-pour and a group of roosters that made noise from about 430am on, we were somewhat refreshed and ready to hit the road....
So far on this trip we have adopted this mentality known as "DWI", which stands for "deal with it". Any time there is a negative situation that is thrown our way I can hear Cyril mutter "DWI boys" .. He explained to me this notion of "DWI" simply by saying that the Navy Seals are continuously thrown into scenarios that are unexpected, but they always find a way to get their job done (they deal with it). Any problem we have is responded with "DWI boys". Ross: "It's too hot", C: DWI boys". Ross: "My butt hurts", C: "DWI boys". Isaac: "Why can't the Canucks win?", C: "DWI boys". I feel as though Cyril actually thinks he is a Navy Seal in his life some times!
After a delicious Filipino breakfast, we were on the road by 10am. Early on in the day we made a few drops to some children, before we noticed a lone girl named Caroline playing basketball by herself with an old beat-up ball. We quickly replaced that ball will a new one and were surprised by a local Filipino lady named Emma. She introduced herself and we chatted for awhile before she invited us for some juice and to meet her family. To our surprise her sister had just arrived home from Canada, more specifically a town just south of Calgary. After a few quick introductions, she was quick to point out that the Calgary Flames had recently beat mine and Isaac's favourite team the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs. Not only do we have to hear from Cyril about how awful the Canucks are, but now we have a Filipino family giving us a hard time as well! After giving away some sports equipment to the family and hanging out for a bit we were on the road again. Thanks to the family for their gracious support!
One thing we have noticed thus far is how friendly and polite the kids in the Phillipines have been. Often times they are very stand-offish, but once they realize these 3 strange foreigners are there for good reasons they are so thankful and happy to receive the gear. They truly are the nicest kids in the world. Later in the day we had the opportunity to give some balls/equipment to a group of 8 young kids and were able to play basketball, badminton and volleyball for a solid hour with them. This was definitely the highlight of the day. Overall we dropped about 70+ pieces of equipment off today that made many kids smile ear to ear. It definitely makes every ounce of sweat and discomfort worth it!
After a 42km day we arrived in the City of Kalibo and were pleasantly surprised to find the sports equipment that we had ordered in from Roxas City had arrived at the bus station for pick up.. We are stocked up and ready to go over the next 3 days for the home stretch, thanks for all the support out there!
DAY 1: Roxas City to Altavas
Day 2: Our First Roadblock
Our first day of our trip was a smashing success! We were pleasantly surprised how smooth things were going. Unfortunately, our luck ran out on our second day. We hit our first roadblock. While checking our bikes and making small tunes ups in the morning we discovered that one of the bike pedals on our bikes was broken! The tread inside the pedal was completely stripped and the bike pedal would not stay in. At this time, we weren't too worried about it as we didn't think it was too difficult to fix. The staff at our hotel were incredibly friendly and gave us directions to the nearest bike shops. Once we arrived at a bike shop we were told that we needed a new part to fix our bike pedal. Unfortunately, none of the bike shops were able to accommodate us with the part we needed. Roughly 3 hours had passed and we still had a broken bike. We were unsure of what to do and we wanted to hit the road as soon as possible. Thus our final decision was to purchase a new bike from one of the bike shops. We decided to donate our wounded bike as it was still useable. Especially, if the pedal gets replaced. We gave the bike to a kind 17 year old kid who helped us through the entire process of trying to fix the broken bike. Needless to say, he was incredibly happy. Overall it was a crazy morning, but we were finally on our way by noon.
About a kilometre into our bike ride we made our first stop to handout some sports equipment to a few kids. Giving out the first piece of equipment and seeing the joy and smile on the faces of the children made us forget all about our chaotic morning. It was exceptionally heartwarming to see how grateful the children were when they received an item of sports equipment.
During our bike ride it became quite evident how popular basketball is out here as we passed countless basketball courts. Therefore, we
made a concerted effort to stop whenever we passed a basketball court with children there. Especially if they didn't have a ball. Something that we also noticed, which was a little surprising was how many makeshift volleyball courts there were. Once again we made sure to stop whenever we passed a volleyball court with children.
Every stop we made was rewarding, however, one of our most memorable stops was when we passed a house that was having a birthday party. There was a little girl who was having her 10th birthday. We decided we would give her a few badminton rackets and a skipping rope. We also serenaded her by singing happy birthday. Everyone at the party were so friendly and grateful to have us there. They provided us with delicious juice and tried to convince us to eat some cake, but we were full as we just ate lunch.
By around 5pm we reached our destination of the day Altavas. Altavas is small town roughly 40km away from Roxas City, which is where we started. Before we went to find accommodation for the night we passed another basketball court where there was a men's basketball game happening. We stopped to watch as there were many spectators there. It was fascinating to see how into the game the spectators were. After the game we shot around with some of the local kids. It was an enjoyable experience to say the least.
In the end, a bumpy start to our day turned into a fun, adventurous and successful day. Every encounter we had was enjoyable and the overwhelming theme here so far is how kind and friendly everyone has been to us!
Practicing their bumping skills
A group shot after we gave these kids a basketball. The boys want to be like Lebron James.
Road to Panay...
Wow what a day and a half here... People often ask me ask me "how are things going?" And I often respond with "busy, but good...". That is exactly how I would describe today. We faced a lot of adversity earlier in the week dealing with dismantling and assembling our bikes and trailers. Some how on Thursday it went very smoothly.
We had a red eye flight Friday night/Saturday morning to Manila so we were able to go down to Yongkang Lu for dinner with some colleagues and friends before our flight.
As you can see in the photo above, the boys are ready...
After 2 flights we arrive in Roxas City, Panay Island, Philippines around noon. Pronounced "Roha" City. A little Spanish flare.
Mission 1: get our butts to our to hotel with our bikes and trailer... I saw a gentleman wearing a visor in the parking lot and I knew since he has such trendsetting style that he would be willing to help us out. He was a bit hesitant at first but then I ripped my visor and we shared a special moment. I think he realized we are the only people in Asia still wearing visors.
There is a serious sense of excitement and energy in this country in anticipation for the Pacqiao vs Mayweather boxing match. There are signs and posters everywhere showing their support for their golden son.
Mission 2: Build our bikes and trailers. Big shout out to Paul Hayes for showing me how to do this on our last tour. 3 bikes and 2 trailers were put together in about an hour and a half. We got a sense for the heat out here though. It is about 38 degrees out here and working out in that was a bit challenging but we battled.
Mission 3: Get Equipment
So the challenge here is buying enough equipment to fill our trailers + getting equipment shipped to future locations on our journey for when we run out. This is especially challenging when we one of our cyclists is a Philippino living legend...
As soon as we walked inside of the mall this crowd mobbed him asking for autographs, and photos while chanting "Rusty, Rusty!" I'm pretty sure I saw a 17 year old girl faint when she grazed his hand it was nuts...
By the time it came to buying equipment not 1 store had enough pieces to sell to us and ship to us. So we bought from 2 different stores.
Ivy my love... Thank you and your staff for your kindness and advice for the shipping. The service at Robinsons was great!
We ended the evening listening to music and eating food accompanied by our my main man San Miguel...
Today was busy but successful. Just the way we like it! I love the energy in this town. From the choir singing to everyone as we get off the plane to the pride this country has shown for their golden son Manny Pacqiao. We have met so many helpful people and it is only day 1. Big day tomorrow. Looking forward to getting up early to hand out equipment and explore this country.
Thank you all for your support.
For Isaac and Ross
I got to Varadero and I refilled the trailer with gloves, catcher's equipment, soccer and baseballs. I was staying in a Casa that was right beside a dance party that was taking part in the streets..I found myself right in the mix, and roaming around in an old Chevrolet from one place to another. I don't know what's more exhausting biking for ten hours or trying to salsa with the Cubans...I feel like I was more bound to go down with an injury from dancing given some of the maneuvers I was being taught. I woke up in the morning and made my pursuit towards a small town called Colon. I went through a town called Cardenas, and the kids came in hot!! The street tribal call was in full effect, but I managed to get some order. I was cycling against the sunset, and I ended up 20 km short of my destination. I found a bus stop bench to crash for the night, until a gentlemen by the name of Isnel brought me into his home. They made me an unreal dinner, and I spent a few hours learning Spanish together.
Going through the central parts of Cuba they are a few industries present, and I often saw kids playing along side of the highway finding creative ways to keep themselves entertained. I gave away a set of catcher's equipment to a young boy who couldn't believe what he was receiving, thanks to the donation of my friend Jeremy Nichols.
I cycled down to Cienfuegos, and then I made a push through the mountains to Trinidad which was 90 km of cycling. When I came down from the mountains I was blessed with lush scenery and beautiful ocean views. I made my way into this historical city, and I just loved the casual rhythm that was on the streets..When I left Trinidad I had a nice warm-up of a 30 km climb to wake me up in the morning. The views were stunning, and I made it to the top of a place called "Topes de Collantes." I cycled 85 km through tough terrain to make it to Santa Clara, and this part of the tour I gave out all the rest of the donations.
Yesterday I cycled back into Varadero and what an experience it was in such a short period of time. Thank you to the people of Cuba for opening their homes, showing their hospitality, leading me in the right direction, and for the countless Spanish and salsa lessons....This organization has successfully cycled through four countries giving out sporting equipment over a distance of 10 000 km. Chasing sunsets, terrible tan lines, cycling to the unknown and going at a pace that allows you to understand the beauty that surrounds you is my kind of adventure...Much love goes to the staff and students of Cedar middle school for your support..I have amazing students who are all unique and special..Thank you to Adam Jensen, friends and family for having such a wonderful fundraiser to make this ride possible, and everyone who believes in this cause. The trail of smiles you brought to everyone I met was very special. The power of play has brought us all so many fond memories, and it's nice to provide others with a beginning to experience the wonders of this simple gift. Any equipment that you have that is collecting dust please send them my way...Muchas Gracias from all the wonderful people who received donations along the way.
Until next time,
Havana was a sight to see...The smell of cigars, kids playing soccer in the streets, and the tourists train that runs through the square. I left las mamas early with the trailer loaded as I cycled into the country side in pursuit of Matanza. I made a couple stops at schools, but establishments in Cuba do not accept donations unless you go through the municipality. I made the mistake of throwing soccer balls over a fence at a high school, and the chaos inside the school grounds got out of hand. The director of the school said one word "policia" and I knew that was my cue to leave...I high tailed out of there, but had a few students in pursuit of a donation riding double on a bicycle. They went after me for few kilometers and I gave them a soccer ball for their valiant effort.
Che Guevara is idealized throughout the country. Every morning the students make a pledge to be like "Che" and it's incredible to see how much influence and change one person can instill. Revolution signs from the early 60's are still present throughout the country which celebrates the victory over capitalism and exploitation of the Cuban people. Throughout my tour I cycled through remote parts where food and water are sparse. I often had people asking for my clothes because goods and necessities are hard to obtain. In Cuba there are more horses than cars...You can buy your own caballo (horse) for 20 pesos. I was thinking of trading the bike straight up...
The kids in Cuba are all about baseball...There are many professional teams throughout the country, and I met many teams of all ages throughout my tour. As I cycled through the country side of Matanza, many people were playing soccer with deflated balls, and playing baseball with sticks and stones. It's a nice feeling to be able to shout out "amigos" and provide them with a gift that will hopefully last for a long period of time. I met a great little league team and everyone received a toothbrush and toothpaste to keep those teeth looking beautiful!
I reached Matanza after 110 km of cycling and I woke up the next morning to return to Varadero to refill the trailer. It was suppose to be a light riding day which turned into 100 km ride because I took the scenic route..and I was cycling into the wind which was putting the legs to the test...However, cycling is the best way to explore a country. Everything slows down to a pace to witness how the people live their lives, and you make spontaneous interactions. There are no post services in Cuba, and if a message wants to get delivered it's received on a personal note. We are losing our ability to have natural encounters and it was refreshing to have personal interactions amongst the people...
Day 1 and 2 Varadero to Havana
Hola from Havana!! What an amazing country and my tour has only begun! The fourth annual charity ride began in Varadero. It took some time to get through customs given all the equipment and goods that entered, but after two hours of questioning I was set free with no problems. When you step into Cuba you feel you just came out of a time machine....Vintage cars from the 50's, old bicycles, and 80's music blasting...
Imports that arrive in Cuba are not affordable for your average citizen. Any equipment or goods brought here is a blessing to the people and I can't tell you how much excitement I am witnessing from the donations that were given...The average salary for a citizen of Cuba is 20 pesos per month which is equivalent to 15 dollars. The trailer consists of cleats, bats, gloves, soccer and baseballs, and helmets. Also, I have been handing out tons of toothpaste and tooth brushes thanks to the lovely Lisa Perejma and her dental office.
I have been speaking a mix of French and Spanish to survive...Havana is a special place with an energy that doesn't stop...I met a guy by the name of Louis who is a cigar dealer on the streets and my guy set me up with a baseball dealer in Havana to refill the trailer for my next push. I am loving the music that is here in Havana..I played flamenco last night at a cafe with a Cuban band which was a blast. The rhythm is alive in the streets from dusk till dawn. The city is ran by back alley discussions, and the local merchants. This won't be the last time I make a visit to Havana...
It's been mucho calor here in Cuba and it's been a lot of fun riding through different towns. My support team has consisted of locals providing cheese and bananas along the way to refuel...I have been ripped off due to my own ignorance and paid almost a month's salary for 10 small bananas...but I have to tell you those bananas were phenomenal...and I have been learning so much about this country in the few days I have been here. The revolution kept all their traditions in place, and the Cubans live in a very sustainable way. They have limited access to materials to replace or fix infrastructure. I admire their ability to survive, re-use, and find a way regardless of the challenges. It's refreshing being down here, and going back to a simple lifestyle
This will probably the only time I will be able to write because wifi is only available in Havana. I will be making my way south in very remote parts, and I am looking forward to meeting more wonderful people along the way. I stayed with a couple of beautiful mamas in Havana who have treated me as their own. I am loving life down here and I must say thank you to everyone who made this possible. It's a very special way to see a country and make connections with the people...Much love goes out to everyone, and I will make sure every donation is delivered.
Adios from Havana.
This journey has now come to an end as I cycled my way into Hanoi today...In the end we gave out 470 pieces of equipment throughout the hills of Laos, leaving behind a trail of smiles after 1220 km cycled..This tour would not have been possible if it wasn't for the people who believed in the mission....so I must say thank you for your contributions, support and an experience I will never forget...It's amazing to take the time and give back, especially when you able to share your passion with others. The people we met through our travels felt our energy, but they also gave us much inspiration to move forward...The energy and enthusiasm from everyone kept us hauling and those hills conquered become an after thought....This is a small charity, but my goal is for people to feel connected and see the joy that comes along with a simple gift...It is amazing how sport and play can unite people together and bring happiness and Cyril and I gave it our heart to ensure that message was delivered....
Riding a bicycle you become aware of your surroundings and the way people truly live their lives...I gained a huge amount of respect for the people and how they cope with their environment...However, the people don't see their environment as a struggle which was evident from all the positive interactions we experienced throughout our travels..but were grateful for the gifts provided and I am glad we could provide a little help...
This charity has now successfully completed three tours and I must say thank you to our friends, family, Sino-Canada students and staff, South Meridian Elementary, Diamond head Elementary, CIJS and our sponsors Mac Bros, Guardian International, Decathlon and Cocos Pure for believing in our mission...Also, I need to give a shout out to my teammate Cyril Indome who was the perfect choice to be out here..The kids were so fortunate to feel his passion for sport and his love for working with kids. My hope is we can continue this positive momentum for future tours and add more haulers to visit schools and impoverished areas of the world...
这个慈善活动已经成功的完成了三段旅行，我得感谢朋友们、家人、中加枫华中学的师生、South Meridian小学、Diamond head小学、迪卡龙、Guardian International公司和Cocos Pure公司，感谢你们信任这一理念。我还得隆重感谢我这一路的伙伴Cyril Indome先生，他能到这里来是个最佳人选。这里的孩子们幸运地感受到他对运动的激情和为孩子工作的热爱。我希望我们将来能继续进行，去拜访更多的学校和其他贫困地区。
Our work is done for now, but I am so grateful for everyone who made this tour a success. Thank you to the wonderful people of Laos for letting us in and making us feel welcomed. Also, a big shout out to Noy and Kydeux for getting the equipment shipped and making this project a reality! I hope everyone enjoyed our mission and as I sign off here I write with a heavy heart for the people who supported us and lead us along the right path...I hope this story brought you joy and happiness which provided many with the gift of sport and privilege to play....
Until next time....going dancing tonight!
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