Irish duo reach final stages of their amazing cycle journey through Africa
2019-07-01 14:26:42 -

By Anantika Khindaria


The distance from Cairo to Cape Town is over 12,000km. But the intensity of the trip — characterised by sweltering heat, unmarked roads, unclean water, language barriers and hours of manual labour — did not stop two Irishmen from making the journey by bicycle to fundraise for charity.


Indeed, the men say they have been blown away by the kindness of strangers and the beauty of the lands they have encountered.


Nicholas O’Brien and Lorcan Byrne — or Nicko and Lorco to their friends — started their journey, which they titled WhenWeGoSouth, on 6 January and are planning to finish at the end of July.


By then, the cycling duo will have traveled the length of the African continent to complete their route: from Egypt, via Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tan-zania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, to South Africa.


“We felt that taking on this challenge was the perfect combination of learning, culture, challenge, connection and craic with Africa in a way that neither of us had ever experienced,” said the pair.


“To have the opportunity to raise money for two amazing causes as part of this only served as further motivation.”


O’Brien and Byrne have been making this seemingly insurmountable ride for the Kilbarrack Coast Community Pro-gramme in north Dublin and the Orphanage Orlindi, a Namibian charity headed by the Katutura Projekte.


The Kilbarrack programme was set up in 1998 as a drug rehabilitation centre in the aftermath of a significant heroin epidemic. It has since become a multi-service charity additionally offering youth, parent-toddler, and counselling services.


Orphanage Orlindi, meanwhile, is among five sister orphanages under the Katutura Projekte, and it cares for between 28 to 35 children from newborn to 18 years. The temporary housing puts an emphasis on “preparing children for their future life” by providing nutritional, hygienic, and educational support.


On 22 June, O’Brien and Byrne rode to the Orlindi orphanage and got the chance to meet the children, who had prepared a welcome song for the dynamic duo.


Thus far on their cross-continental trip, O’Brien and Byrne say they have been “blown away by the kindness of strangers everywhere, have always felt safe and have loved getting to know this land in a way that few do”.


The WhenWeGoSouth website includes a map with points of every stop the men have made.


And along with remaining active on social media to record the trip, they have recorded a podcast with eight episodes so far detailing their epic cycling feat.


“We feel that these outlets serve to break down misconceptions about what Africa is like and encourage people to change their mindsets for the better about how they perceive countries in Africa,” they say.


The challenge of cycling the length of an entire continent does not seem to have deterred O’Brien or Byrne, for they have already planned their return and will cycle up from Dingle to Dublin upon flying back home on 26 July.


They also hope to stop along the way and share pints with those who wish to meet up throughout their Ireland itinerary.


If you want to support O’Brien and Byrne in their journey, 100 per cent of contributions to will be donated to the charities noted above.

TAGS : journey trek Africa Lorcan Byrne Nicholas O'Brien bicycles WhenWeGoSouth charity orphanage
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