Bike ride across US to build wells in Africa

Chris Carr traveled to Mali, Africa and was so moved by the extreme poverty there that he decided to do something about it.

Carr started a non-profit organization called Wheels for Wells, which aims to raise $200,000 to provide clean drinking water for people in Africa.

Wheels for Wells is going to hold a bicycling tour across the United States, beginning in Dana Point, Calif., and ending in Ocean City, N.J. The riders will travel about 80 miles a day from June 27 to Aug. 7, 2010.

Some of the riders will do the entire trip, and others will just do one of the six legs of the course. In total, the journey will be 2,990 miles.

Wheels for Wells is partnered with Compassion Corps, which takes six trips a year to South Africa. The organization is focused in Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Liberia and Tunisia, and has recently done some work in Kenya and Uganda. Its goal is to provide clean water to 40,000 people.

Students in Free Enterprise has taken on Wheels for Wells as one of its projects, and the group is working to promote the organization. The Templeton Honors College is also working closely with this organization.

SIFE is currently sending out e-mails to various bicycle associations from all 50 states asking for riders, financial contributions and volunteers. 

SIFE is also sponsoring senior Austin Davco to ride a full leg of the tour.

Carr is looking for volunteers to work one hour a week and send out e-mails to try to recruit riders.

“We are trying to have everybody donate their Facebook and Twitter statuses on Dec. 5 and Jan. 5,” Carr said.

The status will say, “We have a plan to provide clean drinking water for 40,000 people: Go to wheelsforwells dot org.”

Eastern is the only college involved at this point, but Carr hopes to find lots of volunteers and riders.

“So far, Eastern has been leading the charge,” Carr said.

SIFE president senior Jason Bradley feels that the goal of Wheels for Wells fits well with Eastern’s justice-oriented mission statement.

“I think it is a really good program that raises awareness about what is going on in Africa,” Bradley said.

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