August saw 8 members of the OYOB team along with 4 members of our extended community undertake the challenge of riding 500km across Thailand to support Hands Across the Water.
- Hands Across the Water is a growing charity supporting Thai children who need a helping hand. It provides kids with a safe, caring and educational environment and empowers them to lead happy, healthy and productive lives.
Before departing we were all given a picture and description of one of the orphans under the care of Hands. We were told that this would help get us through the ride and when times got tough to tap your pocket and remember why it was we were doing this. In the first 3 days this added motivation proved invaluable as we covered more than 310km with an average temperature of 35 degrees and extremely high humidity. It was a test of both our physical and mental strength but we all had a little extra encouragement along the way.
Day 4 was our rest day before we took on the 110km day 5. A day that saw us climb over 1,000m over the day. With 30kms to go we saw our first rain for the ride which everyone enjoyed. The rain returned on our final day of riding as we faced our biggest climb and prevented both the heat and the humidity reaching levels we had previously seen. As we clicked over the 500km mark we were given a clear indication of why what we were doing was so important. It was a huge challenge, many of us had our moments where continuing on seemed almost impossible yet at the end we managed to cross the line together. We had achieved what we’d set out to and it was the kids that reap the rewards of the effort and relatively small sacrifices we had all made.
We saw some incredible sites along the way but none more powerful than seeing where the inspiration behind the charity came from. On our final day we visited a temple that founder Peter Baines had worked in the identification process after the Tsunami in 2004. We also visited the tsunami memorial where a path had been built, a concrete wave on one side and plaques of remembrance on the other. The concrete wave was meant to represent the size of the wave that swept over the land in that area, standing at the base it stood well over our heads at around 5m and gave as all a new perspective and appreciation of the events on that Boxing Day more than a decade ago.
The children that were left behind inspired the amazing work of Hands Across the Water and we were fortunate enough to have lunch at their kindergarten and dinner at the orphanage. These shared experiences we had with these truly vulnerable kids left a mark on all of us. They were so energetic, so happy and so full of life yet had every reason not to be. Despite circumstances the world had not tainted their little souls. Through Hands Across the Water their future looks bright.
Hands recently had their first child graduate from University, he has a law degree and they have supported him all the way. Hands are in it for the long haul, and do amazing work.
We would like to send a big shout out to everyone who have helped us work towards are goal of raising $75,000 to go towards the continued support of these children and encourage those who haven’t to dig deep. A small sacrifice made now can truly make a lifetime of difference to these amazing children. Donations can still be made through clicking here.