Three-wheel journey for Indian disabled
A former Kerikeri High School student is winding his way through India on a mission for the country's disabled people.
Shasa Bolton is riding a hand-powered tricycle to raise money and awareness for the cause - he's committed to 2000 kilometres of travel to benefit the New Zealand non-government organisation MEND (Mobility Equipment for the Needs of the Disabled) in its journey to increasing mobility for some of India's poor.
Shasa's looking to meet people along the way who might benefit from a trike like the one he's riding.
After recently receiving a mechanical engineering degree, he set out to Kerala, India where he started his journey.
He's begun a blog in which he details his ride that started out along "coconut palmed, florescent, colourfully homed roads" and on which he has met five possible tricycle recipients. He's also looking for sponsors to help him in his fundraising efforts.
The chain's come off a few times already and he's learning that no matter how comfortable the seat looks, seven hours in the tricycle seat means he's got a bit of a sore bottom, but his writing speaks to his enthusiasm.
"Every five minutes a newspaper reporter or film crew seem to jump out from the bushes to investigate this strange unidentified three-wheel object adorned with a New Zealand and Indian flag, streamers, reflectors, a big informative sign in two languages on the back and one on each wheel, one air horn and one rear view mirror.
"Every 30 seconds I am flagged down by roadside locals wanting to ask questions.
"Every few hours I come across a disabled person interested in a cycle so I put them in it for a test ride and take their contact details. With all these distractions I am still managing to stay on schedule and feel confident that 2000 kilometres is an achievable goal that does not have to end in my death."
To donate use the MEND Trust account at ANZ (account number: 01-0382-0043240-00) and make a note "India Trikes" to inform them which project to direct the funds to.
And to follow Shasa's progress go to india-by-handtrike.blogspot.co.nz.