This year’s Budapest-Bamako Rally ended in Banjul, capital of Gambia. The “wacky race” wasn’t only focused on the sports performance. Similarly to the past years, the contestants delivered donations worth half a million euro and also sank some wells, GLOBS Magazine said.
The Bamako Rally has become an independent concept. According to the profession of the organisers, the Budapest-Bamako Rally is an adventure and orientation competition, where participants can only count on their cleverness, luck and preparedness. Only one thing is sure in Bamako: everything is uncertain. But this is what adventures are about. The rally held every two years crossed Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, to then finish in Gambia.
One of the traditions is that the race is not limited to entry by competitors, “everyday” people can also travel through deserts, snowy mountains and stormy seas for 8,623 kilometres with the sole aim of getting to know and love Africa. Because during the rally, getting in touch with local people is indispensable. You live, eat and sleep together with them since they are everywhere: in the restaurants and at the accommodations where travellers spend the night. This presence and cognition triggered the tradition of donations, aid. This year, a seven and half ton truck was filled with donations – worth about half a million euros – that were collected by the African-Hungarian Union (AHU). A part of it was financial aid, with the help of which two wells were sunk in Africa. The majority of the material donations were medical equipment and medicine. There were also many school supplies from notebooks to laptops, clothes and everyday items. Csaba Varga, the volunteer of AHU who accompanied the truck, said that they contacted local NGOs that know what the locals need and help distribute the donations in advance. But there was another opportunity for those who already had local contacts – for instance from a previous rally – to send donations directly to the given school, community or group.
The donations are not limited to Gambia, the organisation supports four big foundations in Mauritania, for example, the representative of one of the foundations travelled to the capital of Mauritania from Mali to collect the donations. Leaving behind a few cars is always inevitable. Several charities have asked for the cars so that they can solve the transportation of doctors between villages. And one of the biggest help was the sinking of two wells in Mauritania. A well can mean life and survival for local communities in a country, which struggles with constant lack of water.
Source: by Tamás SZŰCS, Journalist specialised in foreign politics/Globs Magazine