What was your favourite part of the West Africa Cycle Challenge?
My favourite part of the challenge was the whole experience of seeing new countries from the point of view of a bicycle. It really made me appreciate and feel part of the beautiful countryside, but also made me feel closer to local people. People laughed at us, stared, and waved, and we exchanged so many smiles and greetings with people - it brought a smile to my face every time. Many people had heard of Street Child and greeted the group with such a warm welcome - I was really happy to be contributing to the work they do in a small way.
Do you have a favourite memory of the challenge?
A couple of my favourite memories are firstly, how good a coconut tasted in the middle of a long, hot day of cycling, and sipping this whilst being towed across a river on a local ferry; and secondly, the overwhelming and sensory experience of being welcomed to Potaru at the end of day one by a huge group of children dancing and clapping. I was proud to have completed the first day of the challenge, and the loud, excitable dancing embodied that feeling for me!
What did you find tough/difficult about the challenge?
The HEAT! When the sun comes out, it means business.
Which project visit did you enjoy the most? / Which project did you find the most interesting?
I couldn't choose one, but Street Child taking the time to show us many of their projects, in different settings, really meant a lot to me. We were encouraged to ask lots of questions to the beneficiaries of Street Child's work, and it was really valuable to see where the money goes and understand Street Child's aims and challenges in more detail, as well as the daily challenges faced by many Sierra Leoneans and Liberians.
What advice would you give someone taking part in the challenge next year?
Wear a sweat-wicking base-layer under your cycling jersey - counter-intuitively that extra layer keeps you cooler!