My friends at Bike Zambia have been working for months to raise both funds and awareness for local HIV/AIDS prevention with their 300-mile cross-country bike ride from the capital of Lusaka to Victoria Falls.
I assume BB readers are well-informed on how the disease still ravages parts of sub-Saharan Africa, even if the urgency has faded in the Western press. The numbers in Zambia are particularly shocking: one in 7 adults is HIV-positive. Life expectancy at birth is among the lowest on earth, with most reputable sources currently placing it at under 50 (and some as low as 39). Nearly half of the population is now under the age of 15. Without education and prevention, this next generation may face even greater trouble.
Bike Zambia's goal isn't just to raise cash, although that's neat. The ride has already raised awareness among Zambians themselves about condoms, testing, antivirals, and local wellness programs, done sustainably with locally sourced bikes and active local participation. This should save lives even aside from any funds raised—and Bike Zambia has already cleared their goal of $150,000, which is probably even more than it sounds like in a country where the per capita income is about $4/day.
The riders arrived at Victoria Falls yesterday, but you can still chip in here.
Bob Harris has written books, American TV dramas, and Mexican telenovelas; circled the world 3 times; lost 5 games of Jeopardy (and won a few, too); and dabbled eagerly.