Many feet make light work

04 February 2019 | Events

With the aim of raising €10 000 (around N$150 000) for the NaDEET Centre, a group of avid cyclists in Germany led by the principal of a school there, made their way to Namibia mid-way through 2018.

Christian Huhn, who is the principal of the Willy-Brandt-Gymnasium (WBG) in Oer-Erkenschwick, Germany, dreamed of undertaking a cycle tour in Namibia which would take some of his schoolchildren through the Namib.

Christian’s love for the country in southern Africa began around 15 years ago when he worked as a teacher at the Deutsche Höhere Private School (DHPS).

It was while he was visiting here in 2016 and through various conversations with Andreas Keding of NaDEET, that they began discussing the viability of cycling from Windhoek to the centre, sleeping on farms along the way and raising money per kilometre ridden for NaDEET.

Many hands…

According to Andreas, early in 2017 they received an email from Christian saying that he had roped in a few sports teachers from his school and that they had started a project called WBG for Africa. “He said that they had begun training and raising funds for the trip, and that a group of 30 people, mainly students, together with some teachers and parents, would come to cycle and help with the backup.”

Their aim: To raise €10 000 for NaDEET while giving participants an unforgettable experience to boot.

Following many months of planning, fundraising, logistics and training, they finally landed in Namibia and begin cycling on 27 July 2018.

According to Andreas, the first part of the tour was a huge challenge given the mountainous terrain of the Khomas Hochland that they had to negotiate. “But the physical challenges were overshadowed by the beauty of the landscape, the adventures of sleeping on farms between roaming animals, and a very special full lunar eclipse.”

The days went flying by and the support team, which included Willem Rooi from NamibRand Nature Reserve, the WBG Africa backup team and Andreas, they mastered the art of logistics in a tremendously short amount of time.

Halfway there

The middle part of the trip led the group to a NaDEET partner school at Rietoog where they spent two nights experiencing some cultural exchanges. “Then, the last part leg took the cyclists into the Namib with rough roads and sand to deal with all the way to NaDEET,” Andreas said.

“On a once-off project like this, not everything goes according to plan and we definitely had to deal with challenges. We were surprised by temperatures as low as -4°C during one of the coldest weeks recorded at NaDEET,” he said.

Except for some mechanical hitches and a broken leg at the end, the two-week tour was an unforgettable experience that bonded people together in ways won’t otherwise be achieved, he said.

Mission accomplished

In the end not only was the cycling mission accomplished but exceeded. “Thanks to the generous and kind support received from people and companies within Namibia and Germany donating their time, hospitality and funds, they managed to double their target, raising more than €20 000 for NaDEET. – Source Golden Mole

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