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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The long way round for charity

The long way round for charity

Straps, pumps, tubes and chains, and lots of Deep Heat. Not a masochist’s wish list although definitely necessary if you’re taking the masochist’s road to fundraising by cycling from Siem Reap to Poipet and back again.

Tammy Durand, a young Canadian woman and founder of the local NGO ABCs & Rice, completed the 320-kilometre trip last weekend with Un Phearon, a teacher from the organisation’s school.

The goal was to raise funds for the school in Veal village, which badly needs new floors and textbooks. But two months ago a violent storm ripped the roofs off two classrooms, meaning that money earmarked for the floors and textbooks had to be spent on rapidly reconstructing the buildings.

Having left Siem Reap at 4.30 Saturday morning, Durand and Un Phearon returned from the long slog early the following afternoon, looking perplexingly refreshed and unfazed by the experience.

Durand bounded off her bike to be greeted by supporters and her Australian boyfriend Matt Foot who, with Bun Sarom from Ecstatic Pizza, accompanied the two on support motos with all of the gear.

This isn’t the first time Tammy has done a trip like this. Last October she undertook a similar venture in Canada, only that trip was 900 kilometres long and she raised over $4000. This trip wasn’t as difficult, although it did have its moments.

“I had a blow-out about 50 kilometres from Poipet,” Tammy said. “Getting back into the saddle again after the break was torture.”

A calm atmosphere prevailed at the end of the trip, however. Un Phearon, looking quietly pleased, confessed to feeling a little tired as he tucked into a bowl of noodles.

Tammy buzzed about chatting and fussing over the dogs, while remembering the gobsmacked response they received wherever they stopped and trying to forget the printed menu items from a restaurant in Poipet – anyone for “Menstruation Land” or “Penetration Melon”?

To date, the Barang on a Bike and Un Phearon have raised well over $1000 for the school. Donations are still coming in and anyone wanting to contribute can do so through Just Giving (www.justgiving.com) and the Globalteer website (www.globalteer.com/projects/cambodia.html).

Durand and Foot are grateful to a number of businesses that supported them, including Chili Si-Dang, Ecstatic Pizza, Globalteer, Funky Munky, Sydney Aqua Pool and Bar, X-Bar, Rosy Guest House, Freedom Hotel, Golden Orange, Angkor Way, Sonalong Hotel and Intrepid.

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