“It could be crazier than you think”

I’ve been speaking with a client this week who is based in Bangalore. After the arduous discussions about remote ILOM console sessions to an Sun Fire X4200 server, the conversation turned towards the rickshaw run… Below is one of the mails I received from the chap.

Subject: RE: 37718975 – X4200 console problems
Date: Thu, 09 Nov 2006 17:36:20 +0530
From: Damodaran **********
To: Andy Place


Bangalore has nothing of tourist interest (Apart from me, of course! :)). But man! It could be crazier than you think. Have you ever seen an Auto before (Auto Rickshaws are called Auto around here)? It scares me just to think some people travel from their house to the office. It sure is an extreme adventure sport. All the best for your charity work.

Damodaran NJ.


It’s now official. We will be raising cash for Mercy Corps with the money going to projects in India. The main project is to get the Rickshaws to needy families allowing them to earn a living without having to get an extortionate loan to buy or rent a Rickshaw. Beyond that, the money will be used for rural projects helping some of Asia’s poorest families.

The target is £650 however we would like to smash that.
Please support us by donating to Mercy Corps via JustGiving.com.
(Note for any Sun Microsystems employees, your donation will be matched by Sun, so top marks for them!)

Just so you know exactly how this will work and where your money will be going, below are some extracts from the organisers mail:

We have got the go ahead from Mercy Corps for you lot to start fundraising. You can now raise the money for your rickshaw through Mercy Corps. The Rickshaw will be given to poor families and individuals in Siligury by an NGO working under the watchful eye of Mercy Corps. Giving a Rickshaws to a poor family is huge life changing gift that enables them to earn a living without ending up in impossible debt for the initial purchase. They will provide us with full reports on how the distribution is going and ensure everything is done in a transparent and proper fashion.

The target each team must raise is £650. This is enough to buy the rickshaws and carry out any repairs as well as cover the charities administration costs. All the left over money and the gift aid will be used by Mercy Corps for the projects they already support in the Darjeeling area. See their website for more details. www.mercycorps.org.uk.

As you can see, the money raised is going to cover the cost of the Rickshaws that will be donated at the end of the event. We are hoping to cover the bulk of required £650 with our Fundraising Efforts (Thanks once again to Pete for the pub quiz last night), leaving any extra cash to go to Mercy Corps projects in rural India. We feel this is only fair, as we will be benefiting from the adventure and any costs for repairs should be covered by ourselves.

That link once more: JustGiving.com.

Thanks in advance to all you generous souls out there.

Pub Quiztastic

A huge thanks to Pete who has let us take the money raised at his pub quiz for the charity of the Rickshaw Run. In addition to this huge favor we are still able to take part and yesterday were 3/4 of a point away from the winning teams score. Yesterday 60 euros was raised for Mercy Corps and Pete has most kindly let us use the quiz as a fund raiser for the next four weeks. In return we need to prepare some questions for them, so if you have any suggestions, please add them as a comment below.

Officially Signed Up

Exciting stuff… we are now officially on the entry list:

Teams List

That just leaves us to arrange the charity funds & sponsorship. We’ve already got our innoculations and I’ll be picking up our Indian Visas tomorrow. It was quite tedious getting them, but the Indian Embassey pales in significance when compared to the Russians.

Boo to the Taj

One of our ideas for the fundraising was to arrange a large curry night and get all of our friends and companions down. We have a favorite curry house in Madrid that prepare food to our taste (nice and spicy, something that can be quite hard to find in Madrid). The owner knows us and greets us every time we are in there.

Because of this, I figured that we would be able to strike up a good deal. In exchange for some free advertising we could fix a price per head, of which a percentage would go to the charity and the rest to the restaurant. We thought that bringing in a 50 or so curry loving ex pats would be good enough to seal a deal… unfortunately not. He offered us a whole 10% discount. Pretty pathetic really when considering many of our guests would be likely to return and that we are attempting to raise money for a charity that works against poverty in India.

So that’s off. We’ll see if we can get another restaurant to fill the gap.

It’s been a long time coming

I’ve been hankering on and on about this Rickshaw Run lark for the whole year now, and now, finally I can say that the accompanying website is up and running. It wasn’t difficult, its just that we’ve been to busy with other things. There is still a lot to do with the page which should, with any luck, materialise over the next couple of weeks.

So, what is this all about then? In need of a bit of a challenge, Espe and I have decided to take on the League of Adventurists second challenge: The Rickshaw Run. All we have to do is drive one of India’s finest forms of transport, the Auto Rickshaw, some 2500km from Cochin in the South to Darjeeling up North in the Himalayan foothills… all in two weeks. Unlike their other adventure, The Mongol Rally, this has not been done before. This is a complete unknown. It strikes me as an immense distance for a crap vehicle in a country that is renowned for it’s bad roads and terrible driving standards. But hey, it would be no fun if it was easy.