Amidst a day full of off-road riding, hot afternoon sun, and just a few too many falls into the deep sand, we stopped in a small village called Siachatema. For those of us who did the trip last year, this was a village that we eagerly awaited. We had been very warmly welcomed last year and given a tour of the town. So to our great joy, one of the village leaders, David, not only warmly welcomed our group once again, but remembered Bike Zambia from the previous ride and had photos that one of our riders last year had emailed him of our visit.
The town was founded by a Baptist missionary, Claudie Peyton, with just a church and orphanage. David was one of those orphans adopted by Claudie, and now dedicates his life to the memory of his mother and her work. The village has now grown to include a school, resource center, and health clinic. David showed us with pride where his mother is buried, and then brought us around the village. It just so happened that today was their weekly VCT (voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing) day at the clinic – so our team was lucky enough to go visit and see the great work that the clinic is doing. During our 11am visit, the caregivers had already seen around 20 individuals for testing.