Why I'm taking on Ride Africa


Posted on
02nd Apr 2019
by Cherio Onacha

Fundraising Ride Africa All-Women Ride Africa team mum fundraising cycling

I have never ridden a bike in my adult life.

...in fact I have only two memories of me cycling. One was as a twelve year old trying to ride a black mamba bicycle. This is a bike obviously meant for grown people because of its height, but as children we had our creative ways to make this work for us. I do not think I can try any of those gymnastics now, but trust me I was a pro of my time! 

Good times!

Cycling bears all sorts of  nostalgic memories for me. Aside from my pre-teen excursions, my other fondest memory of me on a bicycle was when I was about 4-5 years old. My father would carry me on his bicycle to his place of work over the weekend.

This was in no way a hobby of his, it was just the only means of transport available to us - we have come a long way! I looked forward to these rides nonetheless. I remember him asking me to wrap my little hands around his waist for support, but my tiny hands couldn’t cover the circumference so I held on tightly to his shirt and rested the side of my face on his back. The feeling was priceless! 

I have nothing but good memories of cycling and I guess that is why my excitement to do Child.org’s all women’s ride in July comes as no surprise. I really do look forward to reliving my childhood memories and making new ones with all the wonderful and inspirational women I hope to meet on the ride.

This ride will require a lot of brevity, patience, endurance, faith and resilience from me. I believe that it is no coincidence that this mirrors the season I am currently going through in my life. My husband and I have struggled with infertility for coming close to three years now. It has been a rollercoaster of negative pregnancy tests, tonnes of supplements, endless doctors appointments, blood draws and scans with our hopes of being parents still a distance afar.

On very many occasions we have questioned everything that we believe in. Making babies is loads of  fun for many people, why is it not for us?why does it have to involve this amount of heartache, self doubt, anxiety and a deep into our pocket? In moments like this, it is very easy to drown yourself in self pity. I am not in any way trying to negate the gravity of our pain (because, trust me, it hurts) but with the amazing support I have continued to receive  from people around me in this season, my strife has been to remain positive, hopeful, and to continually give purpose to my pain. 

This then brings me to the main reason why I am doing Ride Africa, cycling from Nairobi to Meru over 6 days in July. As difficult as this journey has been for me, I am abundantly blessed. I am surrounded by a loving family that has stood by all the decisions we have had to make. I have an understanding work environment at Child.org that is accomodative to all the time off I have to take for my clinic appointments. I also have access to health information that has helped me understand our condition better, and financial resources to afford decent healthcare. Besides this, I am part of very many networks of women across the world who are currently going through this or have gone through this and overcome. The support has been incredible! Not for one second have I felt like I have to do this on my own. I will be forever grateful for this!

I cannot then even begin to imagine the isolation that a woman like me in rural Kenya, with very basic education, no family support, no financial resources or access to proper health care is going through. A woman who has struggled so hard to conceive, feeling hopeless at her inability to protect this very pregnancy that she has worked so hard for.

I have loved my child even as an idea. Deep in my heart I know I will do everything to protect them to ensure that they have a chance at life because they are already loved and wanted. If my circumstances meant that I could not realise any of these dreams for my child I would be shattered. The women we hope to work with in Meru, Kenya do not have the luxury of any of these dreams I have for my unborn child. Their circumstances make it impossible!  I am doing this ride for these women because I believe in their dreams, and I believe that in my small way I can make their dreams a reality.

I get so emotional every time I look at this picture of Winfred and her baby!

Please join Marti and I to make my journey count, by donating to this cause. I am hoping to raise £4,000 for Team Mum - enough to launch four support groups for new mums. Through these groups, new mums will be armed with the information they need to keep themselves and their babies safe during pregnancy, delivery and the early months of their babies lives. Help me make the dreams of these mothers a reality, they do not ever have to feel  alone!

If you are in the UK and give before 30 April, your donation will be doubled by the UK government.

Donate to Cherio and Marti's fundraising page