One word that describes this whole 947 Cycle Challenge experience for me was this: TEAM.
We knew that this was going to be a great event from the moment that we sat down to organize. The teamwork started with everyone who participated in organizing and extended to every cyclist that prepared for and participated on the day. Now that is what we call teamwork: Together Everyone Achieves More. As a team we worked so hard to make this an awesome day and in doing so we have achieved more. I want to applaud our whole team: WELL DONE!
Our aim as 947 Charity Group was once again to raise funds for our Bursary Fund to support underprivileged but well deserving students an opportunity to continue their tertiary studies. The 36 people that signed up to be part of TEAMBeulah made me realise (#Lesson1) that these are the “team members” that care about education and would like to see less privileged learners achieve so much more in life. That’s why they joined.
What a wonderful day it was! On Sunday 20 November 2016, before the rooster could crow, we were up and driving to prepare for the day. Taking a sip of strong coffee I realized (#Lesson2) that for something to work, “sacrifices need to be made”. Working in a team, sacrifices needed to be made, some of the team member’s sacrificed their usual Sunday morning late rise in order to be there on time to set up and receive our other team member who had an early race start. The cyclists all sacrificed months of training hard and eventually cycled the challenging 94km to help raise funds.
Setting up for the day was such a humbling experience. It reminded me that whatever we do, we are not doing this for fame or to enrich ourselves but it is to fulfil our mission, which is to change lives and transform communities. Setting up was a time of refection for me as during this time I thought about where we are as country, the next generation and our future leaders. I once again realised that we want them (next generation and future leaders) to be educated enough to make decisions that will benefit not only themselves but also benefit the country as a whole.
We’ve had the privilege of having 8 students cycling with us from our partnering organization GF4GF (Good Foundations 4 Good Fruit). Currently all our bursary beneficiaries are from the youth development program run by the organization called Goodyear, whereby students undergo a year of discipleship, personal development, practical work experience and making a difference in their communities. It was so encouraging to hear some of the GF4GF students share their future dreams and aspiration. For example the story of Sylvester: Sylvester has a desire to study law because of his passion for justice. Coming form a marginalized background this dream however felt far fetched until he was surrounded with people who believed in him and with the help of the Bursary Fund he will hopefully make this dream become a reality. It gives us such joy to know the effort put in will be rewarded with long lasting ripple effects.
Being a supporter I have realized is that through the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge there were many life lessons learned by those who cycled. In one of the thank you letters we received, one of the students said the following: “The race was difficult. The most difficult part was the hills but this taught me perseverance. The highlight for me was when I saw the finish line. I (Sylvester) thought if I could finish the 947, how much more can I persevere in whatever troubles I am facing.” Wow! So (#Lesson3): never give up and always finish well.
Most of the GF4GF students mentioned that it was their first time in the Big City and that it was quite an experience for them! Over all what an experience it was for the entire TEAMBeulah! We had cyclists riding for their first time and others taking part for their 2nd, 3rd or 5th time.
At the end of the race some of the cyclist and other team members joined us at the charity area were we all “chilled” and listened to each one talking about how they experienced taking part in this challenge. In that moment I learned that (#Lesson4) within a team, there is always value in listing to others stories. Gathering with the team members under the gazebo after the completion of the race were the perfect opportunity to allow some individuals to tell stories and for others to really hear their stories. For me it was a great honor listening to our fellow team members and to hear them share their experiences of the 2016, Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge. It was encouraging. Some shared how they stopped to take photos and I have realized that there is a yet another lesson to be learned (#Lesson5): Don’t just rush through life, Stop, Think and Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.
We want to sincerely thank our corporate sponsors Trailwolf cycles and No Limits Sports Apparel for their commitment towards our cause and partnering with us in 2016.
With the 2016 Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge behind us and the end of the year staring us in the face we here at the Beulah Africa Development NPC office want to thank all of our supporters for your loyal support during this year. We want to encourage all of you to finish this year well. The finishing line for 2016 is in front of you and the start line for 2017 is just around the corner… persevere and cycle it well.
May you have a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year!
Melinda Otto (on behalf of)
Beulah Development NPC Team