POLICE officers, builders and business owners will drive for six days through two African countries in memory of a five-year-old boy.
The boy, known only as Livingstone, died of malaria after his mother was unable to get him to hospital on time as she had no means of transport from their village in Kenya.
Nancy Hunt, director of Abingdon-based charity Nasio Trust, met the boy just a week before his death in October and decided something had to be done.
In total, 26 people will drive through Kenya and Tanzania in four 4x4s, to raise £20,000 for the charity.
It runs two orphanages, called Noah’s Ark and St Irene’s, for 350 children in Western Kenya.
When the team come home, they will leave three of the cars behind – one for the police, one for the hospital, and one for the orphanages.
Mrs Hunt, who used to be a civilian office worker at Thames Valley Police, said she was “devastated” when she learnt of Livingstone’s death so soon after meeting him.
She said: “According to his mother, his stomach started swelling in the middle of the night.
“They woke up a male neighbour to carry him to the hospital which is 10 miles away. After about five miles, the man carrying Livingstone checked and he had stopped breathing. I was devastated. What if he had got to hospital?”
In Abingdon she spoke to one of the charity’s regular helpers, a builder from Nottinghamshire.
She asked him how she could get hold of a 4x4 for the village to take people to hospital.
The next day, he called her up and said he had got one donated from a Land Rover dealership.
Another friend of the charity, an Abingdon undercover police officer, convinced nine of her colleagues to join the trip and give the local police the benefit of their experience, as well as donating two vehicles.
Each of the intrepid adventurers is trying to raise £3,500 – £1,000 of which will go towards the new medical centre.
The team will also spend five days helping at Noah’s Ark – the police running a training course for local officers and the builders starting work on building a new medical centre, which the £20,000 will pay for.
Abingdon Pc Sam Greenough said: “It is a crazy idea, taking part in a 4x4 challenge to deliver vehicles and training local police officers, but why not?”
Faringdon Pc Chris Linzey said: “There are so many reasons to do this challenge.
“It has lots of elements that appeal and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime challenge and will give me a sense that I am actually saving lives.”
Mrs Hunt said she was left “speechless” by the generosity of everyone who has joined the trip so far.
- For more about the African challenge and how to buy supplies for the medical centre, visit thenasiotrust.org
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