Wednesday, 5 November 2008

08/11/05: Pedal Joe has completed 5000 Kms and is "pedaling" in the Sahara Desert

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Pedal Joe's Contact in Morocco: +212-55783251

"The Sun that warms the soul is the same that melts the asphalt" (Pedal Joe)

The Brazilian, Jose Geraldo de Souza Castro, Zé do Pedal (Pedal Joe), 51, member of the Lions Club of Viçosa, arrived this morning at Boujdour, in the Sahara, after having covered, in almost 6 months, more than 500 kms of desert and completed 5000 kms of his planned trip through 20 countries of Europe and Africa (a total of more 17.000kms) in a pedal kart, manufactured in Holland by BERG Toys ( and especially prepared for the trek, bound for the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, where he will attend the World Football Cup "South Africa 2010".

The mark, that surpasses the two of the previous trips with similar transportation means (2.500kms in Japan, 1985, and 4.300kms in Brazil, 1987, Chui - Brasilia) and represents 30 percent of the total of the planned trip, was reached at 30kms from the city of Boujdour (name given by the Portuguese and which, in Portugal, has the meaning of "the last limit of man and his world". Fernando Pessoa in his unforgettable poem said: "Portuguese sea… It's worth everything if the soul is not modest, who wants to go beyond the Bojador, has to surmount suffering", in a clear allusion to the great navigational feats that gave the Portuguese the conquest of other latitudes: "oh salty sea, how much of your salt are the tears of Portugal!") at kilometer 1559 on national road 1, that connects the city of Tanger to Lagouiria (2476 kilometers), at the border with Mauritania. In that city there is an old Portuguese fortress. Last monday, the 27th, Joe obtained his best performance since he left Paris, on the 10th of May: he covered the 101 kilometers between Tarfaya and Laayoune in 11 hours. The cool weather and a northern wind helped him in that feat.

Pedal Joe informed that, "thanks to the 'winter', the temperature is not very high and the highest so far has been of 41 degrees. At 7 in the morning the Sun warms the soul and at midday melts the asphalt. Fortunately I am travelling in the 'winter' and the sun is not very strong, the average temperature is around 40 degrees and there is often a strong wind, which diminishes the effects of the heat. I was lucky when I arrived at Laayoune, since it rained for two days which was rather refreshing. The alimentation consists of vegetables, fruits and a can of sardines every now and then".

"The trip is happening normally and without mishaps. I am in contact with the Portuguese friends Brito Rocha, Julia Lima, Henrique Veludo and Jorge Albergaria. I am also in permanent contact with members of the United Nations in the region of the Sahara and with the Brazilian Embassy in Rabat through the Vice-consul, Luiz Geraldo Magalhães Moraes who, together with Embaixador Virgílio Moretzsohn de Andrade, contributed to the obtention of the visas for Mauritania and Senegal".

Tomorrow Pedal Joe hits the road again towards Dakhla, 350kms away, where he thinks he will enjoy a small 15 day vacation. "Now I am crossing what could be the more mentally difficult part of the trip: from here to Dakar, in Senegal, lies 1740kms of much sun and sand, however I am satisfied with the way the trip is evolving and for the extraordinary forms of aid and solidarity that I have received throughout, especially in this zone where the sand dunes of the Sahara and the wild sea are the landscape that serves as companion. The gifts of water, fruit and bread, etc., that are offered by the drivers of the trucks that carry fish from the ports of Laayoune and Dakhla, are not few! After six months on the road, I find that it timer to give the body a rest and to try to put the column in it's proper place..."

Pedal Joe has been registering his impressions of the trip in his new blog where, at least once a month, or when he finds easy access to the Internet, he places some photos and information about the trip: "thus, it will be a little easier for my friends to follow the trip."

Worries about the environment

Pedal Joe lamented the little attention that the authorities give to the environment: "the amount of garbage that I crossed throughout the 2000 kilometers covered here in Morocco, mainly in the desert, is mind boggling. The utter absurdity was when I passed Sidi Akhfinir: the coastal guard is a vast garbage dump. The guards simply throw incessantly all the garbage over the great cliff by the seaside. A good percentage of this garbage is "hanging" in the cracks of the rocks. What happens to fall into the sea has other destinations: Canary Islands, Europe, Americas, South Africa and, what does not "catch a ride" in the open sea maritime currents, ends up on the Moroccan coast. During the cleaning of the streets in the city of Tanger, which was flooded during last week's strong rains, it was possible to observe the tractors removing, next to the silt, tons of garbage coming from the sewers".

The purpose of the trip

The purpose of the trip is to call the attention of the international community about two of the biggest problems that affect children's vision around the world (mainly in the poor countries), Cataract and Glaucoma, as well as spreading the word about the great campaign of the Lions Club International: the SigthFirst program.

A few words about the Lions*

The International Association of Lions Clubs commemorates its 91st anniversary since its foundation, which had as its first president Dr. William P. Woods and as secretary Melvin Jones (Idealizer and Founder), a position he occupied until his death on the 1st of June, 1961. During these 90 years, the entity formed by men and women imbued with a disinterested desire to Serve, disposed to carry through activities directed towards the betterment of our society and to valorization of the human being, has distinguished itself as the largest Non-Governmental Organization in the World, respected and admired by leaders of all Nations.

During the historic convention of the Lions in Dallas, Texas, between the 8th and the 10th of October, 1917, thirty six delegates, representing 22 clubs from nine states, approved the designation "Lions Clubs", the statutes, the regulations, the objectives and the Code of Ethics.

In the next three years, the association became international, with the foundation of the first club in Canada and as the years went by, the international expansion continued with the foundation of new clubs, especially in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Brazil in the decades of the fifties and sixties.

In her speech at the International Convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, in 1925, Helen Keller challenged the Lions Clubs to envolve themselves in the fight for the blind and visually impaired: "Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?".

With the ambitious SightFirst Program, the Lions International Club has commitments with the young, with work to improve the environment, with the construction of houses for the physically impaired, with spreading awareness concerning diabetes, with programs to prevent serious vision loss and improve eye care services for hundreds of millions of adults and children and, through the Foundation, to offer assistance to the victims of catastrophes in all parts of the world.

The associates form an international network of 1,3 million men and women, distributed throughout 202 countries and regions, working unselfishly to respond to the necessities faced by communities around the world.

In this its 91st year, the Lions reaffirms its commitment to the conservation of vision, through the international program SightFirst and of the World Sight Day, in global partnership with agencies of the United Nations and ophthalmological, philanthropic and professional health organizations. With the collection and recycling of eyeglasses that are distributed to the developing countries, especially in the month of May, which is the month of the Lions' program for eye glass recycling.

The International Association has modernized, with the inclusion of the young (LEOs) and the recognition of the affiliated Leo Clubs, that have much collaborated for the enlargement of the movement that we embrace.

In the amplification of its international activities, the Lions Club has collaborated with the United Nations in the construction of the sections of non-governmental organizations, in 1945, maintains a permanent chair and continues to hold its position as an advisor to the UN.

The month when the Lions commemorates the foundation of the association was chosen for a campaign of affiliation of new associates; every month is important, but it is good to underline the concern of Lions International with the program to increase the number of associates. During the month of October, in Brazil, the Lions will publicise a campaign aiming at the increase of new members whose hearts will be committed to the leonine service.

The Lions Clubs of Brazil have always distinguished themselves and are recognized by the Direction of Lions International as producers of great Lions, great campaigns and of recognised fellowship. Cordiality and friendship is the link between the associates of the Brazilian Clubs. Currently, in the person of CªL Rosane Teresinha J. Vailatti of the Lions Club of Jaraguá of the South-Center - District LD-5, Brazil is represented in the International Direction, and is the first Brazilian woman to occupy an important position within the Lions, elected at the International Convention of Lions Clubs, held last June in Bangkok.

*Luiz Mar Sória/Cal Jacira
Lions Clube de Porto Belo Bombinhas
Costa Esmeralda - Distrito LD - 5 - SC

Lions Club of Viçosa

While the world commemorates the 91 years of the Lions Clubs International, District LC12 commemorates the 41st anniversary of the Lions Club of Viçosa, to which belongs Pedal Joe.

The commemoration was on the 29th of October, with the club holding its festive meeting in the Panorama Restaurant, at which two new associates were admitted. Pedal Joe participated in the meeting by telephone and wished the new members a rewarding and fruitful work in favor of those in need.

1 comment:

Syta said...

Hello Zé Do,

Congratulations with your 5000 km record! Keep up the good spirit!

Warm regards,