Earlier this week, Dan and his team left Seattle heading for Africa. Team Bright Eyed, as they are known in the race, are on their way to participate in a race across Africa. The race is called the Budapest-Bamko 2012: The Great African Run. If you haven’t heard of what this race entails, think Hollywood action movie, with less ruthless need to win and more good spirited competition.
The race is intense. It is hard. It is dangerous. Team Bright Eyed describes the race in one of their blog posts as “a charity rally, competition and crazy epic driving adventure from Budapest to Bissau. Budapest-Bamako is for those who’ve dreamed about the Dakar, Africa, the Sahara and hitting the open dirt under extreme circumstances. B2 is a minimal assistance event, which means that if you’re in trouble you can only count on yourself and your team. B2 is not a Sunday drive or picnic in the park. It’s not an organized package holiday. It’s a grueling 16 day drive on hostile terrain.”
Later in their post they listed the dangers that they could encounter during the race. I’ve included a few of the more shocking ones below: (actually I’ll just include them all, they’re all shocking)
- Kidnapping in West Africa
- Becoming victim of a terror attack
- Imprisonment in Africa
- Lynching by locals if you hit a man or animal
- Dehydrating in the desert
- Unfixable technical problems on the open road
- Bandits or thieves in the deserts
- Corrupt immigration officers who want to let you cross the border in return of money
- Lazy immigration officers who let you cross the border after hours or days of awaiting
- Corrupt policemen who wants to let you along the way in return of money
- Improvised taxes and fees in Africa ranging from 5 to 30 Euros
- Dangerously driving Africans
- Dangerously driving Budapest-Bamako participants
- Nerves stretched to the breaking point
- And thousand of other dangers which can’t be defined in advance
Now I am sitting here, rereading this list and wondering to myself, why did we let these three guys leave to go do this event again? Shouldn’t we have demanded they stay and kept them safe? These guys say it sounds exciting, but to me it sounds more like some sort of impossible race that only big burly mountain men go on in order to drive their giant trucks over sand dunes at high speeds. Not something that everyday people get up and go on. In other words, it sounds crazy.
To Team Bright Eyed, though, it doesn’t sound crazy, it sounds crazy fun! And while they will be cruising across the desert in their 1995 Toyota Land Cruiser known only as The Wildebeest trying to win the race, they will also be raising money to build a school will be in the Gabu area of Guinea Bissau. The area near Gabu, in Eastern Guinea-Bissau is the poorest region of this country. Most of the population lives in small villages. Team Bright Eyed will be driving through and camping in this region.
This area of Africa has a 60% illiteracy rate that can climb to as high as 80-90% in rural areas. The school will enable children to learn to read and write as well as providing them with mathematics. Education can save them from becoming day laborers and provide them with more opportunities for their future.
Donation will continue through February, the ground-breaking ceremony will be at the end of January and they hope to complete the project by the end of September 2012. To learn more, visit their website, here.
To help Team Bright Eyed build this permanent rural school, click here.
It must be the team’s unshakable excitement and enthusiasm for the cause and for the rally that got them in. If there is anyone out there who is truly determined and ready to take on the world one rattlesnake and sandstorm at a time, it is Team Bright Eyed.
The team includes three men each with an interesting background of their own.
Arthur describes himself as ” an Adventure Rally Racer (January 2012), Angel Investor, Entrepreneur, Songwriter, NSX, Jeep and right-handed Toyota Land Cruiser driver, Harley rider, Guitar collector, Marathon Runner, Sushi lover. He has more than 25-years of experience in business worldwide. Grew up in Wisconsin on a chinchilla ranch. Home base is Austin, TX.”
Our closest family friend, Dan, is the second member of Team Bright Eyed, his bio reads something like Dan ” is a proven entrepreneur and leader. After formal training in engineering and sales experience with two major corporations, Dan founded Byrne Specialty Gases, Inc. in Seattle in 1984. By 2005, BSG had become a nationally recognized leader in the life sciences and analytical laboratory fields.. In March of 2006, BSG was acquired by Airgas, the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases…He is the proud father of three sons, an avid cyclist, mountaineer, and volunteer. Certified auto mechanic. Home base is Seattle, WA.”
One of those three sons happens to be the third member of Team Bright Eyed. Conor is “a Pilot, a Rock Climber, and outdoor enthusiast. One that is drawn to adventure, Conor has mountaineering experience, enjoys flying airplanes, and is excited about the opportunity to participate in this Adventure Rally. Passionate about photography and adventure, and with a skill set in navigation learned from both flying and remote backpacking, Conor will bring these things together to be a productive team member.” While the youngest member of the team, Arthur insists that Conor will be the one to “save our asses.”
Remember, While Team Bright Eyed is extremely pumped for the experience of the trip, the real reason that they are participating is to help African communities. Please consider supporting Team Bright Eyed with their cause by spreading the word and donating.