Riding for Cambodia

Why Cambodia:  Most rural Cambodians are subsistence farmers growing
only rice.  All families, and especially people infected with
HIV/AIDS, are vulnerable to crop failure and poor nutrition.  Moringa
trees, also known as “The Miracle Tree,” have unusually high
nutritional value.  Funds raised by RIDE365 will help community
members learn how to grow, process and use the leaves which are
especially beneficial to suffers from HIV/AIDS, but it also can mean
new hope for their families and sustainable nutrition for their
communities.

TREE OF LIFE:
Chang Ny had two years left to live .His serious blood disease
rendered him dependent on the care of his family and he had become a
financial burden to them. Chang Ny felt hopeless and was grasping onto
the last threads of his life when he and his brother were invited to
attend a meeting in their village hosted by a World Relief teacher
named Sarath. At that meeting, Sarath introduced the villagers to a
plant with the power to manage the symptoms of those living with
HIV/AIDS, treat many illnesses ,as well as provide nutritional
supplements for malnourished children The plant was called moringa.

Moringa oleifura is a plant that grows in the wild of the subtropics,
and has been discovered to be a “super-food” in the fight against
malnutrition. It is one of the most nutritious, multi-beneficial
plants in all of nature. The leaves of this simple plant are full of
protein, three times the iron in spinach, four times the calcium in
milk, seven times the vitamin C in oranges, three times the potassium
of bananas, and all eight essential amino acids. It is excellent for
blood pressure, eyesight, metabolism, digestion, breast-milk
production, energy, anti-bacterial functions, kidney and liver
protection, and the immune system.

Moringa is certainly not a new phenomenon. But the incredible
nutritional and medicinal properties of this unassuming plant often go
over-looked by villagers in Cambodia, who are surrounded by these
trees on every side. World Relief works to educate villagers about the
medicinal benefits of moringa, and teaches them how to harvest and
prepare the plant for consumption.

Nearly every part of the tree contains nutritional value, but the
small green pods are especially beneficial. The leaves can be fried or
put in soup, and the seeds can be ground up into powder to eat or
drink. While its flavor is bitter and unappealing to the palate, its
health benefit outweighs a momentary distaste and this super food has
earned the name “tree of life”

The work of the World Relief team may resemble this strange little
tree at times. The leaders face the hardship, poverty, and suffering
in the villages like a bitter taste in the mouth. Listening to the
story of a woman living with HIV, teaching a group about sickness, or
having conversations with people to foster community within a village
may seem insignificant in the face of the vast injustice in Cambodia.
But, like the tiny moringa pods that explode with taste and health
benefits, we have hope that an unexpected potency may flow through us
to those in need.

Moringa is an endlessly intriguing specimen for medical researchers, a
miraculous instrument of change for development organizations, a best
friend to the mother of a malnourished child, and the turning point in
the life of a man, Chang Ny ,who ,at one time debilitated by a chronic
disease, is now ,since eating moringa daily, working in Siem Reap
making a steady income, feeling healthier and happier.

Go to www.worldrelief.org/ride365 to support a rider and
to help provide life-giving nutrition to vulnerable people like Chang
Ny.

Riding for Malawi

Why are we riding for school kits and school fees in Malawi?

Roberta Nagel, one of the original Women Who Stand members has been in Malawi this past year, volunteering with World Relief.  She sent us this story about a young man named Laison she met.

Why Malawi – Why Now?

The necessity for this type of assistance is evident everywhere.  In my day to day life, I hear more about families who can’t afford the “luxury”  of paying school fees for their children, than any other single need.  I hear frequent stories of children who have actually completed their secondary education, but whose families do not have the money for them to “sit” the exams – less than $30, so they never receive their high school certificates!

In a country which is consistently listed among  the “top 5″ in terms of neediest countries (lowest  income per capita)  and has just been hit hard by the devaluation of their currency,  the issues of food, clean water and housing are seriously challenged, which leaves the ability to pay for school fees/supplies next to impossible.

When I met 21 year old Laison, he was sitting in the back of a pre-school with a tattered, cover-less book in his hands. When the young children went out to play, I approached him, curious as to why he was there, amongst 3-6 year olds. In our conversation,  I asked him if he liked to read, at which he lit up like Christmas  and then shyly, began to read to me from the book (in English).  I almost wept – then I found out his story: Laison had to drop out of school when his grandmother, Annie, was no longer able to pay school fees for him.  Upon the death of two of her children from HIV/AIDS, she found herself caring for 5 children from the two families. Since Laison was the oldest, he had to leave school to work and help his grandmother support them all. This was particularly distressing to Annie, as Laison had been a top student and had a passion for learning which he had to give up. So at the age of 21, Laison had still not completed high school.  When I inquired about school fees, I was shocked to learn that for only about $60 a year, I could help this bright, eager young student, finish his studies.  Laison has been enrolled in a local secondary school where he is currently a junior, and WILL finish his education – AND sit his exams!

Such a simple thing – such a HUGE impact.  There are thousands of Laisons throughout Malawi – who, but for a few bucks, are tending gardens and washing clothes instead of attending school.  Can you imagine?

Half of the funds raised for RIDE/365 will go to school kits and school fees for vulnerable children like Laison.   Go to www.worldrelief.org/ride365 to join us in supporting vulnerable children like Laison.

 

A Big Thanks to Race Pace

A 365 mile bike ride is not something you can undertake alone. Women Who Stand would like to extend a huge “Thank You” to Race Pace (www.racepacebicycles.com), one of our ride sponsors. They are providing amazing pre-ride support in the way of bike repair classes, bike fittings, bike tune-ups, yoga lessons for riders, nutritional tips, and discounts on merchandise. Also, for the ride itself, they are sending us with equipment and tools for any kind of repair we might need.

This past Sunday evening, some of the riders attended the first of two bike repair classes. Nik & Spencer from Race Pace taught the riders how to fix a flat tire and each rider was able to practice changing their tubes. They were also led the group through some yoga stretches which will help keep riders limber after a long ride. Finally, they shared thoughts on keeping adequately fed and hydrated on the ride.

Esther Frey (green), Debbie Foreman (white) and Allison Gerbereux (blue) learning how to fix a flat tire.

Esther Frey and Debbie Foreman changing their tubes with the help of Mark Vaselkiv.

Beth Behrle working on her tire.

Thanks again Race Pace. You guys are awesome!

To learn more about Ride/365, visit our website at www.worldrelief.org/ride365.