There are the usual reasons to go on a bike tour and then there are the reasons you cycle with AfriRoots, a home-grown Tanzanian biking organization with a social conscious. The tour, appropriately named Dar Reality Tour, takes namely tourists, members of the ex-pat community and an increasing number of government officials, through impoverished neighborhoods, and to important local sites and establishments. The tour single-handedly creates pathways between people of different walks-of-life, cultures and even countries.
“That’s the whole point,” said AfriRoots founder and guide, Mejah (Frederick) Mbuya. “I wanted people to see what they would not have ordinarily. I also wanted them to tour local establishments and sites as a way to bring business to the community. They [cyclists] can also think about what they’ve seen and how to improve it—some of my clients even have the power to influence decision makers.”
Last year, unsuspecting 42-year-old Jean-Marc Falconnet of Geneva, Switzerland and his partner, took perhaps the ride of their lives when they signed-up. “In one day, I can say I was not the same after, as I was before.”
“In the past, I have helped people but mostly financially,” explained Falconnet. “I said to myself that I would prefer to give money by investing it in a project where people can learn to better themselves.
“I was impressed by Mejah and the way he cared about the people, offering advice, giving money and time. I was amazed at how connected he was to the community and I felt he could make a change and be the link to the people,” added Falconnet.
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