Fri, 31 Dec 2004
It is going to be a very down to earth new year this time around,
for most of you, knowing how in tune you are to the pulse of our
Very few of us
can ignore the plight of those countries suffering in the wake of
the tsunami of 26th Dec, nor those Caribbean countries devastated
in that succession of hurricanes. Some of you who I'm writing to,
are actually in those areas.
Most of you are,
I'm sure, thinking of your brothers and sisters in the midst of
tragedy, not so far away across the internet connected Earth. Even
if you don't know them. So, of course, I would like to wish you
all a happy new year, but if I did, it would ring hollow and trite.
So this year I dare not put it that way.
But I really
don't know how to put it. The magnitude of what has happened, and
is happening, is beyond me; the sorrow, grieving, fear, pain; the
rupture in everything that everyone holds dear. I just hope there
will be some kind of healing for all this. I hope that it brings
peoples together in some way. Wake people up to the futility of
hatred, violence and war that still, today for godsakes, gets in
the way of serious attempts to protect the vulnerable poor.
I can't help
comparing the billions of dollars sunk into the Iraq war, with the
meagre millions that we think we are generous in giving to the Tsunami
Call me an idealist.
Call me political. Not want we want to here in the festive season.
But I have to say I'm not enough of those things.
I'm angry with
myself. With my generation. I've just turned 41, and although I'm
glad to have reached and passed 40, I'm appalled at how ineffectual
and impotent we've been. The Rwandas, the Haitis, the Bangladeshes,
the Kashmirs, the Chechnias, the Sudans, etc, etc, are still happening;
the malaria, the cholera, the AIDS, the grovelling starvation, etc,
etc; the contaminations, the extinctions, the waste, the excess
consumption, etc, etc, are still going on.
Where did I and
we lapse in our dreams and plans for an end to all those blots on
our landscapes, or, if we can help it, on someone else's landscapes.
of pain jumped to a much higher level, recently. To a level which
I had only ever tried to imagine before, unsuccessfully. I fell
from my bicycle on a slippery road in northern Venezuela, and broke
my femur bone in my left leg.
even though now my mind can grasp real, serious, full-throat-scream
agony, and the feeling of being helplessly crippled, far from home,
I am not even close to imagining the anguish in Sumatra, Sri Lanka,
Thailand, southern India and all those other places right now. I
read that the Maldives has lost 42 islands. What kind of a statistic
could have been left on that lonely road, but three men stopped
their vehicles, picked me up, put me in one truck and loaded my
laden bike on to the back, and I was driven to the haven of a hospital.
I should say three incredible heroes.
were other heroes in 4 hospitals, 3 flights and several ambulances,
after that, but telling of them would go beyond the scope of this
Now my worldcycle
journey is, somewhat prematurely, halted, and I am back at my parents'
house in Sheffield, England.
And here I was,
about to tell all that the World I have pedalled through for the
last fourteen years, is still wonderful and beautiful and miraculous..........
has rendered any upbeat message I had, pathetically irrelevant.
But I tell you
what; at the first opportunity, after time for them to recover some,
I would go back to Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, or the others,
like a shot. The last thing we should do is to abandon them just
because it is a little more dangerous to go there. Travel and tourism
has always been risky. But we have the privilege to be able to do
it, so if we would have gone there before, we should go in the future.
Taking that little
extra perceived risk, is just something else we can give.
I so hope I will
get the chance to go again.
Peace and Strength be yours in 2005.
and Respect, Richard (suspended InterContinentalBicycleMan) www.WorldCycle.org
Sat, 04 Dec 2004
now in Sheffield, UK, back at my parents' house, and I'm recovering
as expected without any real surprises. I guess I'm feeling a
bit frustrated at the slowness of progress, even though the physiotherapists
seem to think that I'm well ahead of what they would expect. I've
just got to get used to my freedom being curtailed.
Wed, 10 Nov 2004 00:55:45 +0800
From: Kenneth M. Davis
We just learned through Jennifer's brother Nico that Richard had
an accident in Venezuela. He was cycling down a long hill near
Carupano in the eastern part of the country as a light rain started
to fall. As he rounded a bend while passing a truck, his bike
slid out from underneath him. He landed on his left hip and elbow
before sliding a good distance down the road. After coming to
a stop, he found that is right leg was limp as he struggled to
get off of the road. The truck stopped, and the men got out to
help him. At first Richard did not want to be moved as he assessed
the situation, that is, until he realized that he was sitting
With the help of the men from the truck he was successfully loaded
into the truck cab and carried to the nearest hospital. X-rays
revealed a broken femur. Richard lay on a stretcher in the hallway
of the small hospital through the night, and the guys from the
truck took care of his bike and gear. The next day, he was moved
to Caracas to the Centro Medico Hospital where he underwent surgury
to install a plate and screws to realign and hold the bone. It
is not exactly clear how much soft tissue damage he has, but the
doctor says that the prognosis is good for full recovery. . .
. some excellent news!
Richard seems to be in fairly good spirit and is extremely thankful
for the support that he has received from everyone who has helped
him in Venezuela. His main task right now is dealing with the
pain as his physical therapy begins. He'll stay in Caracas another
day or two until he is able to travel safely and will most likely
then fly back to England to begin the healing process.