At the start of the year, Andrew Silley, Pioneer Curate at St John’s Church, Corby, began training for a 483 mile, week-long cycle challenge in Rwanda to raise money for the Christian charity Great Lakes Outreach. It was due to take place in June – but then lockdown came. However, Andrew still managed to complete the challenge – with one or two changes! We caught up with him to find out what happened.
The original plan was to fly out to Kigali in Rwanda on Thursday 4th June and join a team of 12 from around the world to cycle 777 km across Rwanda to raise money for Great Lakes Outreach’s (GLO) lifesaving work in aid of Burundi – one of the world’s hungriest, unhappiest and poorest nations. We were due to cycle an average of 110 km a day for seven days, climbing a stunning 48,000 ft and crossing Rwanda through beautiful scenery including a tea plantation and a volcano park.
Have you previously done any charity bike rides / challenges?
I’d previously done one charity bike ride before, raising money for Open Doors and the persecuted Church. However, it was just a one-day ride so I had never undertaken a multiday cycling adventure!
Tell us more about Great Lakes Outreach. What made you particularly pick them as your chosen charity?
Great Lakes Outreach www.greatlakesoutreach.org. works with local Christian leaders within Burundi and beyond. They work tirelessly amongst some of the poorest communities in Burundi, focusing on orphans and widows, providing much-needed training in vocational skills and literacy, and coming alongside them to share the love of God so they can build a much better life and find hope. In recent months, I have found an increasing desire to engage more fully with the worldwide Church and missions around the world. Therefore, when the opportunity came up to go on a bike ride in Rwanda and raise money for GLO, it just felt like a good and exciting opportunity to take on!
How did you go about planning a new route?
In April the Burundi ride was officially postponed until 2021. Somewhere along the line I thought I could still do something this year, raise some money and contribute to the work out there, but it was only the week before I did the ride that I decided to commit to doing it at home instead.