Cycling for Orange Babies
On October 28, 2018, I left for the Millennial Tour to South Africa to cycle for Orange Babies. In the months before, I ‘trained very hard’, made a movie and a lot of bowls of strawberry tiramisu and sold them at my tennis club to raise sponsorship money. I got the chance to see with my own eyes what happens to the money I raised for a good cause.
The first day of cycling went amazingly well. At that time I hadn’t realized that South Africa wasn’t as flat as I thought it would be and that it can also be very windy. And of course, it was just day one so the energy was still there. Every day we cycled between 50 and 80 kilometers on asphalt, on the highway, through deserted areas on dirt roads or just with some giraffes next to us.
Besides cycling, we visited three projects that were set up by Orange Babies. The first project, ‘Family Free’, aims to improve health care. A special bus, the ‘Mobile Health Unit’, travels through several villages to provide access to health services. We also rolled up our sleeves. On day four we all painted a building. Every day, children, teenagers, and parents visit ‘Family Free’s’ community center to get information about the dangers of HIV. Because it is so popular, the community center had to expand and we helped with that.
The project of ‘Mount Olive’ made the most impression on me. In one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Africa, the Lehae-area, millions of people live without a job. ‘Mount Olive’ is a large community center where children can get three healthy meals a day. The volunteers of this project also visit people’s homes. I’ve been on a home visit and what you end up in, we don’t think is possible in the Netherlands. A family of eight people living in a cabin with two beds and no normal sanitary facilities as we know it here. Even though there is a lot of poverty and many more people are ill, they remain positive. They are very grateful for what Orange Babies does for them and they express that by singing and dancing a lot. We were allowed to see this for a whole week and I am very happy that I was able to do this. Also, because I can now tell others what Orange Babies does with donations.
On television we see an advertisement passing by every day of a charity that needs money to save animals, to take care of children or to be able to help in case of a disaster or war. How are you going to choose which charity you want to donate to? For me, this eventually became Orange Babies, because I find it important to be able to see for myself what happens to my money. Also, this experience has allowed me to share my story with others and spread the good work of Orange Babies.