NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The DHL Africa as One team, who departed from Cape Town in October 2014 in three Land Rover Discoveries, have completed almost a third of their journey, covering 15 countries in 102 days.
During this period, they have crossed 40 border posts, travelled 23,000 kilometers and spent over 350 hours on the road – with the longest uninterrupted stretch of continuous driving lasting 17 hours.
As the Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, DHL embarked on this journey to deliver the concept of rugby to the African continent, while passing a single rugby ball from hand to hand, across 45 countries, and to ultimately deliver the ball and the beauty of Africa to Rugby World Cup 2015.
The journey incorporates various social responsibility and DHL customer engagements along the way, and to date, DHL has hosted 1,558 adults and 1,510 children at DHL Africa As One rugby fairs, where children are taught basic rugby skills and entertained for the day. In each country, free eye tests are provided through DHL’s partnership with Mercy Ships, a global charity and so far, 1,230 eye tests have been conducted and over 845 pairs of eye glasses have been distributed.
During the course of the journey, the team will distribute over half a million units of stationery to young children, including pens, notebooks and activity books, of which, 127,000 units have already been distributed.
Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, says that apart from delivering the concept of rugby to Africa, a continent synonymous with the game of soccer, the tour is also about showcasing Africa to the rest of the world.
“In addition to the rugby fairs and CSR activities, we are focused on capturing the true beauty of Africa via videos, spectacular images and candid blog posts, to share and celebrate Africa and all it has to offer – to showcase a little bit of Africa that many people may not get the chance to experience first-hand.”
Speaking on the rugby fairs, Louise Otter, DHL Africa as One team leader, says that Tag / Touch Rugby is introduced to first familiarise attendees with the sport before full contact rugby is taught to the older children and adults.
“Many of these children have grown up playing soccer with a round ball, and for the first few minutes of the game, they scramble around the field as the ball evades their attempts to grab it, but soon enough though, they work it out. The enthusiasm we witness as they chase each other up and down the field is inspiring to watch and it’s incredible to see strokes of raw talent shining through in some of the youngsters,” says Otter.
The team has experienced some incredible things along the way, from the local music and great ruins of Zimbabwe, snorkeling in Lake Malawi, learning about coffee and the Black Pharaohs in Ethiopia and Sudan and the flavors of Kenya to name a few.
One of the many highlights of the trip so far, was the opportunity for the team to roam freely with a wild troop of gorillas in Rwanda. “After a two hour hike through a bamboo forest, we were in the presence of these majestic creatures as they groomed, ate and communed all around us.”
“Four vehicle windscreen repairs, five tyre changes, two air suspensions, three air filters later, and another 30 countries to visit, we’re rearing to go – next stop, Mauritius,” concludes Otter.