Wednesday, 27 August 2008

08/08/27: Pedal Joe finishes the European leg of his trek to South Africa

Joe's contact in Spain until Monday 01/09: +34627795786

After having logged more than 3200 kilometers in his pedal go-kart since he left Paris, on the 10th of May, across France, Spain, Portugal and again Spain (including a quick walk through Gibraltar), the Brazilian José Geraldo de Souza Castro, alias Pedal Joe (Zé do Pedal), bound for South Africa, where he plans to assist the Football World Cup "South Africa 2010", arrived at Tarifa, ending thus the European part of his unusual adventure.

On Monday he will cross by boat the Strait of Gibraltar, bound for the Moroccan city of Tanger.

The most heart felt moment of the trip was when Pedal Joe met with José Lima and Rosa Carvalho in the Portuguese town of Quarteira. Lima and Rosa had just crossed Portugal (870 km., north to south) on wheelchairs to incentivate the Portuguese to become more aware of the necessities and basic rights of the physically disabled.

Pedal Joe informed that in the first stage of his voyage he received much support, especially from the Moto Clubs of Faro (Portugal) and of Jerez de La Frontera (Spain) and of several Lions clubs of Portugal. In all the Portuguese cities where there is a Lions Club I was received with great warmth by its members. Important also was the support of the delegations of the Portuguese Red Cross of Vila Viçosa, Beja and Vila Real de Saint Antonio.

The pedal go-cart specially prepared for this trip, manufactured in Holland by the toy company BERG Toys, was based on the model BERG X-plorer X-treme and is equipped with tires of high durability, rims in polyethylene, armoured transmission chain, torque bar, steel frame, 7 gears, head lights, ergonomic seat, LED lights, rear-view mirrors and odometer.

According to the environmentalist, the objective of the voyage is to call the attention of the international community to two of the biggest problems that affect children's eye sight, all over the world, but especially in the poorest countries: cataract and glaucoma, and to spread the word about the International Lions Clubs great campaign: the program SigthFirst.

During the 700 days (17.500 km approximately) the trip is expected to last, Pedal Joe will cross the following countries: France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

Pedal Joe expresses a special thank you to his Portuguese companions of the Lions Club: Julia Lima and Brito Rocha.

Press Clips

1981: Brazil-Spain on a bicycle

In November 1981, José Geraldo dreamed of a strange adventure: to travel from Brazil to Spain on a bicycle to be present at the Football Word Cup "Spain '82".

For many, he was only a crazy chap who wanted to appear in the printed press and on television; for the rest, a dreamer with a great desire to make his dream a reality. So, on the 6th of November 1981, the adventurer left Rio de Janeiro to travel to Seville, where the Canarinho Brazilian selection was playing and training in the first fase of the Cup. Road after road though Brasil, Uruguai, Argentina, Chile... and pretty soon the whole of South America would be left behind.

The Big Dream of being present at the Word Cup was becoming a reality. Without money, José Geraldo came across many problems at the various borders but, eventually, all were overcome. Of all these problems, the most anecdotal with a sweet political flavour: the local police would not allow him to enter the United Kingdom because he had been in Argentina, at that time at war with the UK over the disputed ownership of the Falklands. After many hours, and thanks to the help of latino-american journalists in London, he was able to have his passport stamped.

Having overcome the impasse, and already on the Old Continent, he steered his bike towards the Cervantes' homeland. Six and a half months after having left Brazil, and under the gaze of hundreds of incredulous journalists, José Geraldo arrived two minutes before the Brazilian selection in front of the hotel "Parador de Carmona", their home away from home in Seville. Between tears and happy smiles, the cyclist would welcome each one of the members of the selection, who also were thrilled to receive such an unscheduled welcome. Brazil's classification for the next phase went smoothly. While all the other supporters were travelling to Barcelona by air, José Geraldo was putting all his illusions on a backpack riding on his bicycle to follow the selection.

Six days later, Las Ramblas, one of the main thoroughfares in Barcelona, received with Samba rhythms the cyclist who was already known as "Zé do Pedal" (Pedal Joe). All was just perfection until, one fateful afternoon, Brazil fell to it's knees in front of Italy, saying goodbye to the dream of winning four championships in a row.

But, if the Brazilian players were returning home bowing their heads, Pedal Joe, to the contrary, on the transatlantic liner that was taking him back to Rio de Janeiro, was already dreaming of a longer, crazier and more exciting trip... a bicycle World Tour! The arrival at his native city, Viçosa (in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil) was climactic, with hundreds filling the streets to welcome the fellow countryman. No one was calling him crazy anymore...

1983-1986: Bicycle World Tour

The "holidays" between the trip to Spain and the World Tour lasted barely 5 months, time spent in seeking backing for his new adventure.

He found help in no less a person than the President of Brazil, João Baptista Figueiredo, who professed to be a great admirer of his. On the 15 of January 1983, Pedal Joe left his home in the city of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, for a four year long World Tour culminating in the World Cup México '86.

The voyage through the American continent was, in contrast with the previous one, rather tranquil. The cyclist even allowed himself the luxury of running and winning, in the "foreigner" category, the marathon commemorative of the 447th anniversary of the city of Lima, Peru.

This time, while entering the Old Continent, he didn't have any problems with British immigration... and, besides a small incident in Gothenburg, Sweden, and a few unimportant falls, all went according to plan. While José Geraldo was in Italy, died his biggest idol, Indira Gandhi, a person whom he planned to meet once in India. "For me, Indira Gandhi was one of the most important women who graced the face of the earth, very mystical, powerful and at the same time humble. She left a great void, very hard to fill."

Next stage of the trip took place in the North of Africa, Asia, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Birmania. In Thailand, the old Kingdom of Siam, he was able to contemplate the most beautiful things and events of the whole trip, like the wonderful beaches of Pukett and Pataya, the paradisiacal islands of Kho-Samui and the famous bridge on the Khuay-Ai river. Having been invited by the Ministry of Defense of Thailand, he spent one week in the Vietnamite refugee camp of Kao-I-Dan, where he could hear shots that came from the close by frontier between Thailand and Vietnam, the refugees being very, very afraid that the nightmare they were living would never end. "Each day that I spent in that camp, was like having lived a century of an absurd war that, in the end, only left destruction and death. On my last day at the camp, a six years old Vietnamien refugee girl, orphan and with cancer, one more victim of the chemical bombs dropped somewhere over Vietnam, got close to me and asked, her eyes watering, with the simplicity that only children manage to have, 'Farani (estrangeiro), what means peace?' At that moment I was unable to respond, and until today I am at a loss for an answer!" says José, with perplexity. All the wonderful things that he was able to come to know during his trip, were not enough to get rid of the thought of the suffering of that child and of the thousands of human beings thrown into that concentration camp as if they were a disposable thing.

But life has to go on, and José Geraldo had to keep on going as well: Malasia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong-Kong, Macau, China, Japan... In the kingdom of the Rising Sun, last leg of his World Tour (from there he would fly to Mexico via New York to be present at the World Cup), the cyclist had prepared a "little big thing": to cross the 2500 km length of the large island on a child's kart. When he arrived in Tokyo, he was taken aback with the size of the velocipedes that they had... he had to contend with a small kart, given by the toy company Toy Park Ginza Rakuninkam. It took him 107 days, travelling 25-30 km per day. To travel at 5 km per hour, was a beautiful and captivating madness. "When the inhabitants went by me, they would smile and encourage me to persevere. I really felt the fondness and respect of those kind people", says José.

Back in Mexico, the Brazilian selection was left again lagging behind. Once more Pedal Joe was going home without the pleasure of witnessing the "tetracampeonato".

A trip to forget

Back in Brazil, Pedal Joe ventured on another bicycle odyssey, in 1987, from Chuí, Rio Grande do Sul, to Brasília. "The objective of the trip was to bring the attention of our politicians to bear on the children of the Nordeste (Moto: 'Constituinte, dê uma chance para o Nordeste' - 'Constituent, give the North-East a chance"). It became my worst project. I was caught by a policeman in Rio Grande do Sul, at a gas station, who took me for a bandit, first hitting me mercilessly and only then asking me for my documents; I was kicked on the head and spat upon by people who where passing by in cars; and, worst of all, until today the North-East remains forgotten, only talked about during election campaigns.

2002: On a pedal boat down the Velho Chico

"It hurts to see the sadness in the eyes of the former riverside dweller, when he remembers his life by the Velho Chico (the river São Francisco)" (Zé do Pedal)

The regrettable results of the project "1987 Nordeste", forced Pedal Joe to postpone any new ideas. It took him 15 years to come up with a new and audacious project: to travel from New York City, USA, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on a pedalo boat. But, before the long voyage, he settled for a shorter one, from Três Marias, Minas Gerais, to Piaçabuçu, Alagoas. To promote the project, Pedal Joe left on 22 March 2002 (Water World Day) on a pedalo boat (given by the company Playbalsa) from Três Marias, pedaling the 3000 km until the estuary of the river São Francisco at Piaçabuçu on the Atlantic coast. "I chose the São Francisco because it is a mystical river that speaks a great deal of the Brazilian dream, and is a great beauty, every day renewed in its mystery", says José.

"It was exciting to live those moments on the Velho Chico, trying to show to my fellow Brazilians a different river, a river that struggles to maintain alive the traditions and the dreams of those who entrusted it with hope for a better tomorrow."

The São Francisco river has its source at an altitude of 1285 metres, in the Canastra Mountains, municipality of São Roque de Minas. Wriggling, it courses through Minas, Bahia, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Sergipe before reaching the Atlantic, crossing the semi-arid north-east region and becoming a fundamental adjuvant of the region's economy, allowing for an intensiv agricultural activity on its margins as well as irrigation for areas further afield.


Regrettably, it's not all flowers on the Velho Chico's way. "One of the biggest problems is the garbage and the sewers that end up in the river without any treatment, which has compromised the quality of the water", states Joe. 

Ten percent of Brazil's population depends directly on the waters of the Velho Chico and its affluents. It's a deplorable situation, since nearly all the cities and towns washed by its waters do not have a sewer treatment station. More than an absurdity, it is a harsh aggression towards the environment and a disrespect and affront to human beings.

Thousands of plastic bags, cans, plastic bottles, used tyres, televisions and washing clothes tanks float down the river every day. Its main affluent, the Rio das Velhas, is also its main polluter. The constant aggression, the intense deforestation and the collapse of the banks, the fecal coliform and heavy metals pollution (cadmium, mercury, zinc, lead, etc.), is the cause of the river's on-going degradation. Another big problem is silting. "Sometimes I would run aground on a sandbank 200 meters from the banks", says Joe.

One hundred days later, Pedal Joe was received by the local Secretary of Tourism, Orlando Emiel Steylaerts, in the city of Piaçabuçu, a mere 13 km from the river's estuary. It was the last city, at the end of its course, to say goodbye to the Country and throw oneself at the mercy of the sea, in one of the most beautiful spectacles to be seen anywhere.

Joe recollects that during his trip he received a great deal of encouragement from the river bank dwellers, which went a long way to contribute to the success of the trip. "Normally at night I would sleep on one of the islands or in one of the river-folk's house, and would take advantage of that to learn more about life on and about the Velho Chico. He remembers the tears the river-folk would shed during their talks about the river. "It hurts to see the sadness in the eyes of the riverside dweller, when remembering his life by the Velho Chico of old. Remembering the good old days, the vast quantity of fish, the abundance of the of the plantations." Maybe the outstanding moment of the voyage was when Joe arrived in Pinapora and met "seu Coló", who said: "Look here , my boy, I saw when the Guimarães (a steam ship) went up the river for the last time, but I am sure I won't see it come back down river again, The river is dry."

Pedal Joe, adventurer, has many reasons for smiling when relating the last leg of his trip: "It's a beautiful region, with one of the world's most beautiful canyons, situated at the boundary between the states of Bahia and Pernambuco, and Alagoas and Sergipe. We must add the historical richness of the places I visited, like the Furna do Morcego, a cave on the flanks of the canyon. It's near the city of Paulo Afonso, Bahia, and there used to hide the famous bandit Lampião and his band. Another famous cave, the Gruta de Angicos, is where, in 1938, Lampião and ten of his companions wer killed and their heads cut and exhibited in several of the towns."

In this cultural itinerary we find also Penedo, Alagoas, one of the first towns built on the banks of the Velho Chico. The river, discovered on the 4th of October 1501 by the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, has on its banks a great deal of living history, that needs urgently to be rescued from oblivion by the public entities, before a great part of it is lost forever. Regrettably, important monuments are completely abandoned, and some are even crumbling away. It's five hundred years of abandoned history.


The pedal boat used on the trip was 2,40 metres long, 1,20 metres wide, and weighing 117 Kg. It was kindly offered by the company Playbalsa ( Pedal Joe had the support of the following companies and persons for this trip: Vurk Desing, Playbalsa, Transportes Eureka, Number One Instituto de Idiomas, José Américo Garcia, Caminho das Pedras, Vereadora Carmem Mendes, Buynet e Sebastião Diniz.

Pedal Joe baptized the pedal boat "Sir Blake", a posthumous tribute to the New Zealand navigator, Sir Blake, who had left from Aukland, in November of 2000, on board of the sailboat "Seamaster".

His objective was to educate the populations of the four corners of the world on the importance of the protection of the environment, the waters of the planet and other ecosystems.

His travels were part of a project of exploration and organizing expeditions to strategic areas of the Planet, like the Antarctic, the Arctic and the great rivers, such as the Nile and the Amazon. Peter Blake was fond of saying: "If the water is good, life is good. If there is little water, there is little life. Without water, there is no life."

He was not able to continue his dream of seeing a better world for all. He died, cowardly murdered, when his boat (one of the most sophisticated sailboats in the world) was anchored at the beach of Fazendinha, 17 km from Macapá. It was assaulted by robbers who wanted to steal an inflatable boat, clocks and an outboard motor. The crew resisted the robbery, but Peter died, with two shots in the back. He was only 53 years old. Peter had just finished an important part of his project: the Amazon region. The following morning of that fateful 5th of December 2001, he would have set off, bound for Venezuela.

2004-2005: From Liberty to Christ-the-Redeemer

On the 22nd of March 2004, aboard the boat Liberdade, a fiberglass pedal catamaran, donated by the American company Profish, Pedal Joe left from the Statue of Liberty, in New York City (USA), bound for the Marina da Glória, at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The objective of the project called "Da Liberdade ao Cristo” ("From Liberty to Christ”) was to promote awareness about the urgent necessity of maintaining clean our rivers, lakes and oceans and, above all, our springs.

“If we keep on polluting and on not taking care of our waters, the future of life on the planet will be threatened. It ought to be every citizen's life's priority to do his/her part. Only that way will we be able to avoid wars, unbelievably, for a simple glass ... of water. For this reason, I wanted to attract the attention of the world by making, with this project, an appeal to the whole of humankind, so that the different social world organizations (governmental, non-governmental, political, intellectual and economical) would be able to join me in order to reach important and worthy results on the international arena. Only thus, by means of this interdisciplinary work, is it going to be possible to sensitize a larger number of persons on one of the basic water problems on the planet, namely pollution, through the diffusion of the photos and data results gathered by this project”, commented Joe.

The trip would have been 23 thousand kilometers long, approximately, and would have included the following countries and states: USA, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guianas, Surinam and French Guyana; and in Brazil: Amapá, Pará, Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Alagoas, Sergipe, Bahia, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro.

Regrettably, on the 21st of September 2005, 18 months after departure from New York City, and having suffered the fury of hurricane Rita (the 5th encountered during the whole trip), the boat was totally destroyed, putting and end to the adventure.

2007: Environmentalist pedals across Guanabara Bay

Pedal Joe (Zé do Pedal), adviser for the environment to District LC12 and of the Lions Clube of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, carried out on Sunday, the 21st of October 2007, a very particular journey in the history of navigation: to cross the Bay of Guanabara on a pedal boat, entirely constructed with plastic bottles (PET).

The environmentalist was thus returning to the waters, exactly 2 years after having been forced to interrupted his project "From Liberty to Christ-the-Redeemer", a trip that began March 2004 at the feet of the Statue of Liberty, New York City, and ended 18 months later in front of the Mexican city of Dzilan de Bravo after his boat, pedal powered, was destroyed following the ravages of hurricane Rita.

His first attempt at crossing Guanabara Bay, on the 30th of September, was short lived. Pedal Joe's boat's pulleys broke, putting and end to the project a mere 3 km after the start of the event. When the adventurer was going around the airport of Santos Dumont, the axle that was moving the boat broke. With the help of GEMAR-RIO, responsible for the logistics of the event, the boat was taken in tow back to Marina da Glória.

The boat built by the metal craftsman Ademar Soares in the city of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, where the environmentalist lives, was constructed with 240 plastic bottles of 2 liters (if put in a straight line, one after the other, they would cover almost 1 km), donated by a company dedicated the recycling of paper, metal and plastics. The rest of the material was purchased with small donations. The total cost of the boat was a thousand reais, and the environmentalist was fortunate to obtain the support of the following businesses of Viçosa: Posto do Beto, Casa dos Parafusos, Ademar Serralheiro, Célio Grossi e Localiza Rent a Car, besides the press and public relations help of Ana Pereira and Fabrício Menicucci, who produced a film documentary about the unusual crossing.

Second attempt... In spite of the sea being very agitated at the entrance of Marina da Gloria with winds of up to 15 kilometers per hour, Pedal Joe carried out the journey, in 2 hours and 57 minutes of pedaling, with the objective of attracting as much attention as possible to the effects of global warming, principally in Third World countries.

"The prevision was of three kilometers per hour winds at departure time but, suddenly, at 8:30 in the morning, when "all systems were go" to set sail, I was surprised by a first gust of Northern wind, with a speed of 12 kilometers per hour. I waited a little and, at 9 am I decided to set off anyway since the prevision was that the wind would change direction quickly and would come from the mountains. Hardly out of the boat launch area of the Marina da Glória, I felt the weight of the tide entering, and had to navigate practically leaning on the stones to avoid the current. When I reached the first buoy, already out of the shelter of the marina, the sea became quite agitated with waves almost one meter high, which was making it quite difficult to maneuver the boat due to, mainly, to its lack of aerodynamics. A gentle and thick fog was covering the two principal touristic places of Rio de Janeiro: the Sugarloaf Peak and Christ-the-Redeemer. When I passed the point where the axle had broken on the 30th of September, during the first attempt, I had an apprehensive look at the part that had broken then, but was relieved to see that all seemed hold up.

This situation gave me a little more confidence about the boat and I started to put more demands on it, accelerating the pedaling, in order to navigate quickly that agitated area of the sea, and to try to reach the navigation channel. The pilot of the support speedboat lent me an oar, so that I could stop using the rudder, and achieve thus a better steering of the boat.
When I arrived at the Petrobrás Platform P54, the sea was calmer, which I took advantage of, reaching a good speed. Having passed the platform, I steered the boat towards the Gragoatá Fort but, since the motors of the tugboat were engaged, the force of the water threw me approximately 600 meters towards the center of the bay. With the wind and the tide against me, I had a certain difficulty to maintain the boat pointed towards the fort, being practically obliged to turn the prow towards land, for approximately 400 meters, and then, under the protection of the hills, taking the boat back to the proposed mark.

It was all going swell, when an enormous speedboat came from behind the hill at the beach of Icaraí and sped in my direction. The GMAR crew (Fire Brigade of the State of Rio de Janeiro) placed their tugboat between my boat and the gigantic speedboat and ordered its commandant to reduce his speed. The large boat missed me by 20 meters ... and the waves began again.

The fright over, I followed to the letter the plan agreed upon during the last hour, and in less than 30 minutes, I was beaching the Pet Boat at Gragoatá, where I was received with joy by the many children on the beach at that time. It was just noon. "After two hours and 57 minutes, the great challenge of crossing the Bay of Guanabara — pedaling a few bottles pet - became another dream turned into reality", recounts Joe.

Pedal Joe chose the Bay of Guanabara for his crossing for a very simple reason: it is the most polluted bay of the Brazilian coast. "It was a pity to be sailing in the beautiful Guanabara Bay, looking up at the silhouettes of the mountains drawing a magic scenery of the Marvellous City, and then down at the sea, filled with garbage and floating dead fishes. People are irresponsibly attacking the environment, without measuring the consequences thereof for the community at large."

He reminds us that people simply do not take into account that this aggression is in the end against themselves, since all this garbage is going to end up on the beaches that they use for their leisure. "I wish our authorities, especially the Minister and the State Secretaries of Education, were creating programs for the schools where the children would learn to respect nature. Only then would we have, in a near future, adults with an environmental conscience, who would act with respect towards nature", he says.

2008-2010: "Extreme World"—Paris-Johannesburg on a pedal go-kart

See the YouTube Video

"Extreme World"
The first transcontinental go-kart voyage PARIS-JOHANNESBURG

Western Sahara
Burkina Faso
Ivory Coast
South África

20 countries
2 continents
17.293 kilometres

one World Cup
a Great Dream
a Great Adventure
a Great Challenge

"Extreme World" consists of a voyage in a pedal go kart through 20 countries of Europe and Africa, covering an approximate distance of 17.290 kilometres. It will have a duration of two years, ending in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the Football World Cup Africa 2010.

On this voyage, which is intended to raise people´s awareness of the Lions Clubs International campaign "SightFirst" (to combat two of the gravest problems affecting vision, especially children's vision, in the less developed countries: cataract and glaucoma), during the many of his stops along the way, he will visit schools (from kindergarten to secondary schools) and give talks to children and youths about the necessity to preserve water on our Planet. They will also be taught how to construct solar panels to heat up water using recyclable materials such as tetrapak milk containers and soft drink plastic bottles.

The Lions' "Vision Program":

In 1925, Helen Keller challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness" during the association's international convention. Today, Lions are recognized worldwide for their service to the blind and visually impaired. Lions demonstrate their commitment to sight conservation through eyeglass recycling, sight partnerships and countless other sight services.

The Lions ambitious SightFirst Program has restored sight through cataract surgeries, prevented serious vision loss and improved eye care services for hundreds of millions of adults and children. To continue and expand this effort, Lions have launched Campaign SightFirst II, with a goal of raising at least US$150 million.

Technical Stops:

During the trip, there will be stops in all the countries (especially in the capitals) for taking care of formalities and paperwork, as well as for contacting the local Lions Clubs for setting up the talks in the various schools and other media events.

Contacting the News Media:

The journey will be advertised using the following assets:
> Television
> Radio
> Newspapers
> Magazines
> News Agencies
> Internet 

If you would like to receive photos and logs from the trip, please send an email to:

The SightFirst Program of the Lions Club

The objective of the project "Extreme World" is to raise peoples' awareness of two of the gravest problems affecting vision, especially children's vision, in the less developed countries: cataract and glaucoma. And to spread as well awareness throughout the International Community of the Lions Clubs International "SightFirst Program" launched by Lions in 1989 to battle preventable blindness and improve vision for millions around the World. An increasing number of Lions Clubs are taking advantage of this opportunity to collect eye glasses, to carry out eye and diabetes screenings, and to plan educational programs to orient the various communities so they become aware of the importance of vision and the impact that diseases like diabetes have upon it.

SightFirst has not only been stunningly effective but also startlingly efficient. On average, about every US$6 in donations has resulted in a person with vision restored or saved from blindness. "I find it fantastic that with the equivalent of a pack of cigarrettes and two cans of beer, the Lions Club is able to provide a cataract operation. If people knew this, I am certain that every single day there would be many more donations. That is why I embarked on this journey, because I believe in peoples' good heart and more and more people around the world every day are helping the work on behalf of the needy. My little grain of sand is being added to the construction of a more human and just World. I hope everyone will do his/her part because, as you are reading this, somewhere on this planet, several children are becoming blind... one child a minute... and they cannot wait!", says Joe.

SightFirst is especially helping children. In partnership with the World Health Organization, SightFirst has launched the world’s first-ever global initiative to combat childhood blindness. The project is creating 30 centers for pediatric eye care around the world.

Sadly, 80 percent of the world’s blind were needlessly without sight. Through SightFirst, Lions have prevented blindness by supporting cataract surgeries, helping to build or expand eye hospitals and clinics, distributing sight-saving medication and training eye care professionals.

Thanks to SightFirst, Lions have restored sight through cataract surgeries, prevented serious vision loss and improved eye care services for hundreds of millions of adults and children. To continue and expand on this initiative, Lions have launched the Campain SightFirst II - Lions Vision for All.

Each year hundreds of Lions clubs around the world hold vision and diabetes screenings, community education programs, eyeglass collections and other special projects in October as part of Lions World Sight Day (11th October).

CSFII has set out to continue and expand the extraordinary work of SightFirst, Lions worldwide program to combat preventable blindness and restore vision. Thus, acting locally but thinking globally, one of the great objectives of the Lions is to eradicate onchocerciasis (also known as "river blindness") in South America until 2010 and in Africa until 2020. Another objective is to eradicate trachoma until 2020.

For more information:

Friends who have collaborated with the project:

Rosfrios Alimentos * supplements
BERG Toys * pedal go-kart
Deuter do Brasil * camping material
Foto Universitario * photographic material
Buynet * ISP - Internet provider
CAMINHO DO SOL-Brasil * travel products


"In the last 70 years, the World's population has tripled. The demand for water increased six fold. If the present patterns are not modified, in 2025 four billion people will not have access to water."

"Water: a drop, a life... preserve them. For me... for yourself... for our Planet..." Pedal Joe (Zé do Pedal)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

08/08/24: Pedal Joe passes Cádiz, Spain

CL Zé de Castro left today Jerez de la Frontera, accompanied by a Police Motorcade, passed Cádiz and will stay overnight at Conil de la Frontera, 30 Km south-east of Cádiz.

He already has contacts in RABAT (Morocco) who will accompany him, inclusive the Moroccan Government, to the Mauritanian frontier.

From now on, Zé is aware that he will face risks, but says that he is studying carefully his route.