I had great encounters with cyclists who have contributed to Amos and thru them to uMthombo, and yes, I have already started preparing for doing it all again in 2020! This is a great platform to mobilise our local supporters to also go along there and take part.
I so much enjoyed the beauty of the UK and Europe: riding through rural areas and valleys had such significance to me personally as it gave me an opportunity to connect with nature. I was also able to see my personal strength and tenacity to manage, in spite of the ill health I experienced when I had to go for medical attention on Day 2. If you put your mind into something, it is achievable – this is a lesson for our work.
Reflecting on the challenges and obstacles of the ride, counter-balanced by the beauty and scenic views, the sense of pushing forward to reach the next stage – always with the support of the other riders made me think of our everyday experiences at uMthombo. We meet daily challenges and obstacles but we have been able to push forward, seen greater successes and young people coming out of street life, revisioning themselves and rebuilding their lives as they have begun working towards their own goals. The successes have motivated me to continue the work I am doing together with the other staff, strengthened by our relationships and our celebrations of key milestone, encouraging each other when we sometimes feel disappointed or overwhelmed. Actually, I have enjoyed every bit of it – whether it’s a challenge, success or small obstacles. I am spurred on towards the ultimate goal of bringing life to young people who have in many cases lost all dreams and future prospects…
I am planning to mobilise other South Africans to join me, and perhaps to form a training group to build a sense of solidarity in preparation for riding together in 2020. We may also organise a preparatory ride in Durban in the run-up to the big one. This will build on the increasing profile the Fun Beach Sports Day we held to welcome me home, which we are planning to develop into a regular fundraising event in parallel to the European solidarity event.
The cycle tour has revived the spirit of enjoying sporting activities for the staff to enjoy together for fun, not just for work. It has strengthened our relationships, built trust between us and deepened our relationships in a friendly and playful atmosphere.
It increased publicity of uMthombo as a result of some exceptional marketing. We received coverage in several print media and we invited to 8 radio interviews, and we continue to be invited to contribute to different media.
An unexpected consequence of the Cycle Tour and Beach Sports Day:
All the publicity has resulted in an increasing number of requests for urgent help from families and young people in need. We are currently struggling to respond meaningfully, with our limited space and funding. We have a waiting list of over 123 for detox, reintegration and support for young people to rebuild their lives.
We have begun discussions with other role players in the Durban area as well as preparing to request local community businesses and municipal support. We are realising the need is too great, and we need to join hands as citizens to help our children and youth.