Cyclists Stewart Kambewa and John Moyenda have entered Malawi through Songwe boarder on their cycling adventure, dubbed ‘Kilimanjaro to Sapitwa Challenge, which is a charity cycling and mountain hiking adventure in aid of raising K15 million to build an academic centre for Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO).
They arrived at the Tanzanian boarder at 10:40am on Sunday and crossed into Malawi at 12 noon.
“We arrived in Karonga after doing a distance of 148km from Uyole in Tanzania,” Kambewa said. “We have now done 1,313.9kms of the 2,445km stretch from Kilimanjaro to the foot of Mulanje Mountain.
However, on their Day 9 of cycling from Uyole, after cycling a distance cycling for 42km they had their first puncture since they started on September 6 and after sorting out their problem, they encountered a serious accident when Moyenda hit a monkey and fell off his bike.
“The monkey came running crossing from right to left and went between the two tyres of John’s bike. It happened so fast. John fell down right on the spot and got bruised on both elbows and on the right hip.
“We the called the High Commissioner to Tanzania, His Excellency G. Munthali, who advised us to quickly get to hospital which we did and lucky enough Chimala Mission Hospital was some 500m from our spot.
“The hospital assisted us accordingly and waiting for him to recover, our mechanic Joseph took over John’s role.”
Kambewa said they then met a couple to Tanzania, Martin and Lucia who had a problem with their bike.
“Our mechanic Joseph solved their problem which had been causing discomfort to Martin for a week. And they also had ran out drinking water and we shared them some.
“Martin and Lucia have been in Africa for 6 months now. They started their African tour in Egypt, went through Sudan and they will end their ride in Johannesburg in December.
“They have invited us to Argentina, so do not be surprised if you happen to hear that we are in Buenos Aires.”
Last week, Kambewa completed the first part of the challenge by hiking up and down the 5,895m high Kilimanjaro peak in a record time of four days from the six days that was budgeted for.
After they started they cycling stretch, High Commissioner Munthali hosted the crew at his offices where he inspired them.
“We really felt very honoured and inspired that His Excellency Munthali made such an effort to invite us at the Embassy in Dar es Salaam where he encouraged us, saying this is a noble cause,” Kambewa said.
“We received the invitation as we cycled from Msata to Chalinze. We then stopped at Chalinze and drove to Dar es Salaam to meet him.
“He has been in touch with us right since we were in Kilimanjaro in which he was asking for updates and our whereabouts to make sure that our safety is guaranteed.
“He commended efforts done by the team through this challenge and also by FOMO for doing a big job in helping to improve the plight of orphans in Mulanje by among other things, sending them to school.
“ Munthali has also assured us of his continued support until we finish the challenge in Malawi, saying we are raising the Malawi flag high and he is so happy to be associated.
Meanwhile, over K1.4 million has been pledged by several benefactors both local and from abroad.
The foreign online account that people abroad can donate to is www.wonderful.org and it has already been utilized by Ellis Family at £62.50 (K56,562.50); Emma-Louise van dear Blij at £31.25 (K28,281.25); Alfred Njobvu at £31.25 (K28,281); Heather Toft at £62.50 (K56,562); Gillian Coxhead at £62.50 (K56,563); Brendan Rendall at £31.25 (K28,281); Susan Bretherton and Keith Woodworth at £25 (K22,625) each; Paul Brant at £250 (K226,250) and Francesco Dommet at £12.5 (K11,313).
Locally Dossani Trust has donated K500,000; Office Mart at K300,000 and Agnes Jazza at K100,000 — all totalling K1,409,091.75 by close of business on Sunday.
FOMO’s bank account details for local sponsors are: First Capital Bank Mulanje, Savings 0034502000204 and National Bank Mulanje, Current 477478.
Sponsors can also use mobile money services on Airtel Money (0995 006 776) and TNM Mpamba (0883 339 669).
Kambewa shot to fame together with his colleague, Kwame Kaira when they cycled 1,149km in 8 days from Nsanje to Chitipa in September 2016 to raise funds towards building boreholes in some communities of the country.
The two cyclists urged those interested can join them hiking up the Sapitwa from Likhubula Forestry offices at a fee towards the same cause.
Kambewa’s connection with FOMO dates back in 2016 when Briton Brendan Rendall’s charity run along the length of Malawi in aid of FOMO, the orphanage which looks after over 3,500 children whose ages range between 2-16 years through a network of 14 centres covering over 90 villages in Mulanje.
Having connected with FOMO’s founder, Mary Woodworth, Kambewa decided and succeeded to cycle 30.4kms saddle-less up the Masasa-Golomoti escarpment route from Salima M5 road junction to the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road in April.
This challenge was asking the public to donate clothes, shoes, school materials and toys that their kids no longer use and the consignment of the goods that was donated was presented last month.
Other daring challenges he has done include a 10kms uphill from Zomba City Central up to Ku Chawe Inn cycling saddle-less that took him in just under 45 minutes on September 9, 2017.
He did this to raise funds to pay fees for two underprivileged secondary school students from Mulanje and Chiradzulu while in December 2017, he also cycled for fun for four days from Senga Bay in Salima, heading for Lilongwe where he headed along the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road up to the junction for the Khwekhwerere route all the way to Monkey Bay.
From there he headed to his base in Blantyre through Mangochi, Liwonde and Zomba road, covering 663kms.
In between, he has also done a saddle-less cycle up the Chikwawa escarpment from downhill at Thabwa police roadblock all the way to Blantyre, which he dubbed ‘Chikwawa Hills and Meanders Challenge’ covering 20km in 1:6:11hrs.
He also took part in the Nation Publications Mother’s Day Charity Fun Run by volunteering to cycle 311kms from Blantyre to Lilongwe September 8, 2019, in 13:45hrs and the proceeds from the donations he received went towards the Safe Motherhood charity fund set up by the Nation newspaper.
Kambewa said he decided to join hands with FOMO because the institution’s founder Mary Woodworth has been an inspiration and motivation to his life in the past 3-4 years and the impact that FOMO is making to the lives of the children and the community at large.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :