Sweden-Phuket cyclists see Laos on horizon

PHUKET: Very little lies between four men and their goal of cycling from Sweden to Phuket in order to raise funds for the post-tsunami orphanage Barnhem Muang Mai (story here).

Mountain climbs that peaked at nearly 4,000 kilometers above sea level and the cold weather in China have been a dramatic change from what Calle Wollgard and the team faced as they crossed the Middle East (story here).

“The weather has made the cycling a bit more difficult. One morning, we woke up and it was snowing a lot, so we just had to take a day off and wait for the snowing to stop,” Calle told the Phuket Gazette.

“And it has been cold, really cold sometimes…”

However, with the Laotian border just a day or two ahead of them, Calle, Fredrik Jessen, Tomi Blumen and Christofer Johansson are maintaining their high spirits.

“It means that we are very close to Thailand, which still feels a bit unreal, but in a good way,” Calle said.

“The journey will soon come to an end, and, of course, it’s a bit sad, but crossing the finish line will be amazing. We have had some really good months behind us, and I think all these things keep our morale very high.”

The team has set their arrival date at Barnhem for December 6, ensuring that they will have the chance to spend Christmas with the kids of Barhem Muang Mai ahead of the 10th anniversary of the tsunami, as well as raise millions of baht for the orphanage.

Funds are being raised through businesses and individuals making pledges for each 10km the team covers. The funds will go to support Barnhem Muang Mai (here), which prides itself not only on the loving care and importance of education instilled in the children, but also financial transparency (financial records here).

Though Barnhem means “home for children” in Swedish, it serves as a home to many in need, often accepting single mothers with children, and grandmothers with grandchildren who are unable to provide for themselves.

Anyone wanting to make a donation can contact Calle and his team at callewollgard@gmail.com.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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