Mission Mongolia Charity Rally
I have been obsessed with central eurasia since I was a child. There is a big wide gap from Ukraine (or arguably further West) all the way to China. There is a great big gaping hole in the map. Since I was young, with the globe I inherited, I used to stare at this gap and wonder what was there. As I span the globe back to Europe, there are no barriers. No high mountains, no wide oceans, nothing…So it must be possible to drive to China?
Most people laughed when I came out with that question, but it MUST be possible. After travelling some of Asia with Kerrie, we were struck by the real sense of gratitude for our European background – we have everything!
When you see first-hand how little the majority of the people on the planet have you can feel embarrassed, relieved or guilty. There is however, something we can do. There is an unending list of incredible global charities to tackle a vast number of issues around the world. If everyone did something for one of these charities in their life the world would be a much better place than it is now.
I had been pondering what I could do for a few years to actually help people in a ‘real-terms’ sense. I saw a ‘call-to-arms’ from GoHelp online and immediately I had decided. I was going to drive to Mongolia….
GoHelp do some incredible work in Mongolia (as well as a few other places too) delivering healthcare and education to a huge number of people who would otherwise not have access to it. These people are exactly the same as me, many the same age. We are identical in every way apart from one – I got luck in the geographical lottery. I was born in Europe and as a result of that (and a bit of hard work along the way!) I have a car, a house, a partner, I am able to travel regularly, go shopping and have a 24-hour university hospital withing 20 minutes which is free at the point of use – I won the JACKPOT!
My Mongolian counterparts, however, are in a post-soviet country who are lucky if they have somewhere warm to stay or get to see a doctor. GoHelp are trying to make up the balance. With donated vehicles, equipment and of course cash, they are providing education, an ambulance service and so many other good things for these people.
You can see more here: gohelp-charityrallies.weebly.com
I had no idea how I would do it, but I was determined – Mission Mongolia would happen. Kerrie suggested I went to see a director at the company we work for and see if he would entertain the idea. In her never-ending optimism, she said ‘he can only say no…and imagine if he doesn’t!?’.
I thought about how I could convince them to take on the project and I realised we are opening an office in Guangzhou – quick look on the map, yeah, lets do that as a detour! Off I went to see just how hard he would laugh!
I had prepared my pitch and I was ready to sell the idea – he listened, carefully, didn’t say a lot and gave nothing away… not even the smallest hint. He asked me to send him a project plan for a meeting he had in an hour’s time and that was it. Was I going to Mongolia?
A few days later and it was Sunday. He asked me to phone him in Dubai and speak about my ‘crazy idea’. I sat in my spare room, where I am writing this from today, and called. In a quick conversation he agreed that they would be our main sponsor. They would supply our vehicle and the costs of ensuring it was up to the job, and give us a place to prepare and work on it. They would also provide three of my colleagues to make up my crew. The call ended with me in a shocked silence. I was going to Mongolia.
This is how Mission Mongolia was born. We would have 4 people, 4 weeks and 12000 miles of journeying to deliver the vehicle to GoHelp in Ulaanbaatar.
I had 20 applicants for crew and I held interviews and a selection activity evening to select the best. After some of the hardest decisions (probably of the whole project) I chose Kylie, Scott and Luca. Together we would make up the Mission Mongolia Crew 2017.
Setting off on the 9th July 2017 from Brighton, UK, we will travel across half the globe to reach Ulaanbaatar on the 6th August 2017. Will we make it?
Check back here to find out!