This Sunday (7/9), a South African woman and her husband will be celebrating their wedding anniversary by beginning a motorbike journey that will take them across Europe and the length of Africa. But it’s not just for love, but charity as well.
It’ll take about nine months, cover some 30 countries and span about 32-thousand kilometers. But the motorbike trip planned by Sandi Langton and her husband, Paul, aims to raise $10,000 dollars to help build a youth center in Kampala, Uganda.
Langton says she got hooked on motorbikes or motorcycles about four years ago while living in Britain. So much so, she got the idea for a very long, out of the way route to visit her homeland.
“I just thought, well, you know what, when I’m ready to go home one day, I’m driving all the way home. I’m going to get a nice big motorbike and do the trip. That’s a whole four years ago. I made the decision that when the time comes and I’m ready to go home that I’ll do it on a motorbike.”
She’s raising the money for the charity group Stand Up for Africa, which is collaborating on the project with its Ugandan partner, the Safe Alternatives for Youth Association.
The youth center will help young people in the Kitamanyangamba slum, where the school dropout rate is 80 percent; and there are high levels of crime, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Langton will spend a month in Uganda to see construction begin on the youth center.
“So, I really wanted it to be that if I’m going to raise money and if I’m going to ask people to sort of be involved in this project, I want to see it happening myself. So that I can say, yes, there’s the proof. I went there. I saw the foundations being built.”
Once Sandi and Paul Langton make their way across Europe, they travel to the Middle East, crossing the Suez Canal and entering Egypt. From there they travel through Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.
“From Kenya we’ll start doing zigzags and driving all over the place. Actually at that point we’ll visit Uganda and Rwanda. And Uganda is where we’ll end up working with Stand Up for Africa on that Project to build a youth center. And then we go down to Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi. And then we pop into the northern area of South Africa. My parents don’t live too far away from there, where I have to then go through the pain of importing my motorbike.”
From there, it’s off to Botswana and Namibia and then back into South Africa where the journey will end in Cape Town.
Since this was mostly Sandi Langton’s idea, what did her newlywed husband, Paul, think of it?
“He met me two years ago now. And when I very first met him I could see he quite fancied me, I said, you know, I’m going to do a bike trip and I’m going to go home to South Africa. So, don’t get too attached because the day’s going to come when I’m going to be on my bike and that’s it. And it was probably about a month later he pitched up (arrived) at my house. He had bought the identical model to my bike and said to me, well, I’m coming with you.”
On the first day of their trip, Sandi and Paul Langton will celebrate their first wedding anniversary. Both resigned their jobs in Britain to make the trip.