Myanmar Fundraising Walk
Recently the Bamboo Travel team has been fundraising to raise money to support the struggling tourism industry in Myanmar. In order to raise money, we decided to walk the distance between Bagan and Mandalay along the bank of the Irrawaddy - a combined total of 206km. This was done over six consecutive days by members of the Bamboo team (with support from friends and family).
The ongoing pandemic, and the recent military coup, have badly damaged Myanmar’s wonderful tourism industry and many of those worst affected are simple family run businesses that supply goods and services to hotels and tourists – such as rickshaw drivers, horse cart drivers and boatmen.
In Myanmar, where the majority of the population is categorized as low-income, many people have become jobless, and consequently incomeless, since the start of Covid-19 pandemic. Added to this, the military coup that took place on 1st February 2021 has ensured that there will be no quick return to tourism and a previously dynamic economy. The result is that some areas, such as world-famous Bagan, have little or no income and little prospect of getting back to a reasonable level of income anytime soon as domestic and international travellers continue to stay away.
Your donation therefore has gone to providing basic food requirements for many households of rickshaw drivers, horse cart drivers and boatmen. A typical food parcel contains 10kg of rice, 1 litre of cooking oil, and 10 eggs, as well as other household essentials such as garlic & ginger. The average costs for each parcel is US$11 and this will go a long way to feeding families who are in desperate need at the moment.
Thank you to everyone who has so far contributed to our Myanmar fundraising efforts. We are incredibly grateful for the generous response from friends, colleagues, clients and everyone else who responded to our appeal.
Our collective walk has been completed (in varying types of weather) and we have reached our target - a target that has been increased a few times due to the many generous donations we have received.
Two-thirds of the money raised is already in Myanmar, and families in Bagan have started to receive their food parcels. The remaining funds will be transferred in February and having exceeded our initial goal by some way, we will also be able to help other families, usually dependent on tourism, in Mandalay, Inle Lake and Kayah State.
Those who have already received food parcels are incredibly grateful and we have been asked to pass on their thanks to each and every person who has donated. So, thank you!
The link to our fundraising page can be found here - Fundraising for Myanmar. We will be keeping this open for donations until the end of January, so if you have not yet donated there is still time.
Our quest started on 11th January 2022, and here are some highlights from each of the team:
Emily and Jon started us off on Saturday with a very wet 20km walk along the River Wandle from where the Wandle joins the Thames near Wandsworth Town back to their home in Croydon. Very different riverside scenery (and weather…) to the Irrawaddy! After drying off back at home, they celebrated with a very warming home cooked Burmese coconut chicken noodle soup (ohn-no khao swè).
Sunday brought better weather and saw Tim and Yadanar take on the challenge, walking 18.5km from Hampstead back to our office in Clapham.
“Our fundraising mission started at Hampstead tube station. From here we walked, in glorious sunshine, through one heath (Hampstead), two royal parks (The Regents Park & Hyde Park), one inner city park (Battersea) and one common (Clapham) - finally reaching Bamboo HQ four hours, eleven minutes and eighteen seconds later.”
For their fundraising walk, Richard and Tina took to the hills of the Peak District for a 16km walk on a grey but mostly dry day. Their loop started in the village of Bamford to cross the scenic Bamford ridge before passing through the gnarled trees of the ‘haunted forest’ to reach the Ladybower reservoir. The journey continued through the moors past the resident sheep finishing with a reward of hot coffee and Bakewell tart on their return to Bamford.
The baton was handed over to Robin on Wednesday, and he embarked on an ambitious route linking several historic landmarks in the Salisbury area. The weather was crystal clear and bitingly cold to start, but as the sun rose the air warmed and it turned out to be a near perfect day for a hike. After school drop off he walked to the Cockey Down Nature Reserve, and then joined the Clarendon Way – a popular walking route linking the cathedral cities of Winchester and Salisbury.
The first ancient site on his route was the ruins of Clarendon Palace, which originated as a royal hunting lodge in the 12th century and was subsequently developed into a palace by Henry II. The next stop was at the Lord Nelson in Winterslow for a well-earned lunch, and thinking of Myanmar along the way it had to be a curry – compliments to the chef by the way! His route then joined the Monarch’s Way to the Iron Age hill fort of Figsbury Ring, then looping through the Winterbournes to Old Sarum, the original site of Salisbury dating from the Roman era. It might have been muddier than Myanmar, but the sunshine was a welcome tonic that kept him ploughing on to his 40km target.
Enthused, and a little intimidated by Robin’s monster 40km walk the day before (!), Ewen set off on Thursday on his leg of our fundraising walk from his home in Tisbury. The plan was to achieve a 24km loop over the West Wiltshire Downs and back again to be achieved between kids school drop-off and pick-up times!
Setting off with thoughts of our friends suffering in Myanmar and memories of a hairy boat journey he had once made along the Irrawaddy River, it was striking how different the icy scenes on banks of the River Nadder were!
However, as it had for Robin on Wednesday, the frosty start soon gave way to a gorgeous sunny day and there were frequent stops to shed layers as he passed through beautiful countryside with just sheep and the odd scattering of pheasants for company.
The route went up some steep hills and skirted around the picturesque villages of Chicksgrove, Swallowcliffe and Fifield Bavant to Ebbsborne Wake where the Horseshoe Inn offered some welcome refreshments and even a chance meeting with a Bamboo Travel client who was having lunch there!
The trek back to Tisbury went up over more dry chalky, u-shaped valleys, with some stunning views, and past a wooded Iron Age Hill fort site. The kids were picked up from school in time before a large cup of tea and some cake were consumed!
Our fantastic PR guru, Mick, also put in the km to help us raise much needed funds to send to needy families in Myanmar. Along with his adorable dogs, Poppy and Banjo, he covered nearly 50km over the week, showing off his new bomber jacket and hat to fellow walkers through icy fields and woods near Chineham in North Hampshire! Great effort, thank you Mick.
Mick helped us achieve our target of 206km. Hooray!! Now it was just left to Jana to see us home in style that weekend.
The final leg of our fundraising walk was done by Jana, along with her parents who are visiting from Slovakia and her sister. Their walk covered a scenic 12.5km between Hampton Court Palace and Kingston. After some initial fog, again it ended up as a lovely sunny day – we have been lucky this week – and a family walk along a historical stretch of the Thames in the sunshine seemed a very appropriate way to sign off on our little challenge.
A fantastic effort from everyone took us well over our target, with a combined 273km between us!
Many thanks again from all the Bamboo Travel team and our hugely appreciative friends in Myanmar!