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article imageFancy hitchhiking across Africa? Special

By Lynn Morris     May 6, 2011 in Travel
Want to hitch-hike across Africa to raise awareness of humanitarian issues? A project called Thumbs Up Africa is looking for six couples to hitch from the Netherlands to Cape Town in South Africa. It is a journey of 15,000km down the east coast of Africa.
Founder of the Thumbs Up Foundation, Roy Tjan said: “Thumbs Up is an initiative in which six couples will encounter a dazzling variety of people, cultures and landscapes in their hitchhiking journey through European, Arabic and sub-Sahara African countries. The initiative is linked on many levels to the principles and values that the Earth Charter stands for.”
He explained that he wants to use the publicity around Thumbs Up Africa to convey an important message about humanitarian aid and sustainable development. Tjan said one of the ways this will be done through a television series about the project produced by Deepeei Film Productions.
Tjan said: “Normally when you go travel, your holiday doesn't start until you step out of the airplane, car or bus, with hitchhiking, the adventure starts as soon as you stand alongside the road. The greatest thing about it however, is the interaction with the people.”
He added: “The hitchhiking couples will immerse in the daily lives and experiences of the people they meet by sharing a ride over the savanna and through the jungle, and staying at homes in big cities and tribal communities.”
The official website will launch in June and selection for hitch-hikers, medics and mechanics will start from September.
Tjan said: “All participants will be selected before the end of January who will then be instructed, trained and prepared for the departure in June 2012.”
The hitch-hikers will travel through five European countries and 11 African ones in three months. Along the way they will be visiting projects that fit with the Earth Charter’s aims ‘ecological integrity’, ‘social and economic justice’ and ‘democracy, nonviolence and peace’.
Tjan explained: “An important aim of Thumbs Up is to highlight initiatives throughout Africa that try to address the issues in these different areas, combine solutions, and thereby support and emphasize the foundations of the Earth Charter. To do this, the hitchhikers taking part in Thumbs Up will visit a wide variety of projects. Through these projects, communities are being connected, different issues and their solutions linked, and people are empowered to engage in the challenge to move towards a more just, sustainable, and peaceful global society.”
The hitch hikers will pass through African villages like this on their journey.
The hitch hikers will pass through African villages like this on their journey.
Photo courtesy of Roy Tjan
The hitch hikers will be accompanied by two emergency response support vehicles, one in front of the lead couple and one at the back, to provide help if needed. The route has been split into legs and at the end of each, all couples and the support vehicles meet.
For more information about Thumbs Up Africa please visit their Facebook page or the Earth Charter website.
More about Africa, thumbs up Africa, hitch hiking, Development, earth charter
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