When four friends living and working in Kuwait decided to take on the Rickshaw Race in India this August to raise funds for charity, we knew we had to speak to this team! With a name like Fiasco De Gama, this adventure-seeking foursome are ready to take on a race that starts from the North of India all the way to the South in a mere three weeks. We sat down with the Fiasco De Gama team, which includes Vyola Gomes (VG), Anthony Jouannic (AJo), Laurent Feraudet (LF), Antoine Junker (JA), to learn more about their upcoming adventure, and how anyone could make a difference in the lives of children living in India and Nepal in more than 90 villages.
Hi team Fiasco De Gama! Please introduce yourself and your team to our readers.
JA: I’m Antoine, a civil engineer here. I’m in Kuwait for a year now working with Laurent.
LF: I am an engineer as well and I have been working in Kuwait for more than a year now. I am trying to see the world as much as possible, either studying, working or just for a vacation. I have lived in Europe, America, Asia and now the Arabian Peninsula and have been through many inextricable situations but I’m still looking for more adventures! I’m probably the least crazy of the team, I am always calm and focused and I think this should help us to make it to the end of the race.
AJo: Sometimes I wake up and I think I should start wearing a beret, but I don’t do it because I am 25-years-old and it looks ridiculous. I am a French guy who came to Kuwait 3 years ago and now I work for Tariq Alghanim here (if you need some catering for your company, don’t hesitate to call me). In my spare time I like to create videos, run and everything that is related to traveling. Also I love tacos.
VG: Everyone who now knows I’m going to this race was like ‘We didn’t think you’re the kind that likes this sort of adventure.’ Well I am the kind that loves this sort of adventure and everything wacky! I’m the most nervous about this race among the 4 of us. In Kuwait I’m a sales manager with Warp It Movers (If you’re relocating or need logistics anywhere in the world who know who to contact).
For those of us who don’t know, can you please explain the concept of Rickshaw racing to our readers? Why did you decide to do it?
JA: The Rickshaw run is a charity rally across India during three weeks with a tuk-tuk. The point is to cross the whole country from North to South, to get people to follow the adventure, provide them with the awareness of the country’s culture and situation and also to motivate them donating to the charity we’ve selected. It seemed to be a real adventure, very different than anything I know, that’s why I decided to take part in it.
LF: We talked a lot about this adventure with Anthony and how he wanted to register for a while but never got to do it. He couldn’t find the time or gather the right people to make it. I got really excited, I love traveling but I have never done anything like that, it seems quite crazy and we get to do it for a good cause.
AJo: Rickshaw racing is completely the opposite of the Formula 1. The Rickshaw is something that always breaks and is very unstable. The goal is to manage to cross 3,500 km through India in 18 days. It is more of an orientation race with the ability of going through mechanical problems, group cohesion problems etc… We decided to do it because it sounds like a really bad idea and usually bad ideas turn out great. Don’t they?
VG: Anthony introduced us to this idea almost a year ago and finally we’ve managed our leaves & have registered to the race! Yay!!! This race is so different; it offers you adventure and a cause! What else could you ask for? I don’t know how I’m going to survive in a rickshaw for 3 weeks. The thought of it gives me the shivers. That’s the point!
Can you tell us about the Rickshaw Run?
The Rickshaw Run is an adventurous rally. (A rickshaw is a rickety vehicle that will break down every time you try to cross 50/km) It’s a challenge to cross the whole of India in this very breakable machine; we can choose our own route to travel from Shillong (Near the Himalayas) and all the way down to Cochin in the very south of India. It is a rally in a rickshaw or Tuk-tuk and covers 3,500 km in 18 days (with a few Delhi Bellies on the way)!
To add to that the most beautiful part of it all is that we are doing this to raise funds for a charity in India, What’s better than empowering children? Hence we chose to go with SOS Children’s Villages who do just that.
How are you and your team preparing for this huge endeavor?
JA: We try to get people involved in our project by sharing our videos, following our Facebook page and maybe donate, if they feel like it. We also meet once a week to plan and see what we can do next to be ready when the first day of the race arrives!
LF: We still have so much to do prepare for the adventure and we need to work on our plan so we can make the most out of our time there. How many SOS Children’s Villages we can stop, which places we can visit and how far we can go out of our route and still make it on time to the finish line! In the end it is still a race and 3 weeks is not so long to cross 3,500 km with a rickshaw.
AJo: It took a lot of our time. We took almost 3 weeks to create our presentation video. We always had ideas coming in but couldn’t find a way to all put them together and to make things more difficult, my video editing skills are similar to the one of a skilled cow, so I had to spend days learning that on the Internet and we decided to stick with something simple at the end.
VG: The last month we’ve been working on the video, I didn’t do much there, we might have another video coming up soon. In the meanwhile I am eating healthier and trying to get fitter for this adventure! About learning to ride a rickshaw we will be having a training one day before the race.
What are you guys looking forward to the most when you take on this huge race?
JA: For me it’s the challenge of doing something out of the ordinary that motivates me the most. It’s a one time adventure that I’ll remember my whole life. I’m also looking forward to taking many videos and photos to share this experience with the whole world.
LF: I met many people from the Indian community in Kuwait, at work or outside and I’m always asking about the culture and the country. This will be the first time I will go there. I’m looking forward to being on the roads and meeting people throughout the country or just enjoying the landscape. It’s going to be a shock coming from Kuwait!
AJo: I am mostly looking forward to take a swim in the Ganga River. I see it all the time in documentaries and I want to see what is so special about it. I am also really looking forward to going inside the SOS villages and playing football with the kids.
VG: I’m looking forward to seeing all of India and its diversity! I’m all set to be amazed! I’m going to be challenging my limits here and I couldn’t ask for better company. I also look forward to meeting the SOS Children whose lives we hope to benefit!
How will you be raising funds for your campaign?
We’re raising funds through a platform on virginmoneygiving. They take no fees and all what is given is directly transfered to the children. It’s like Talabat.com but for NGOs and without a delivery charge. We are targeting individuals that want to contribute to changing the world. We are also looking for some companies but it is different and is not going through the website. We deal with them directly. We have a Facebook page called ‘FiascoDeGama’ where we are seeking support from Facebook users, mostly our friends. Kuwait Today has also published our campaign on there to give us more visibility.
Can you tell us more about the charity that your team will be supporting?
AJo: SOS children’s Villages are one of the biggest non-profit organizations in the world. Today they are taking care of more than a 100,000 orphans in 132 countries. Typically a SOS Village is made out of 10 to 15 houses that are each home to 10 children with their SOS Mother. They take care of abandoned or abused children and offer them a new home. They help orphans get a normal life by getting them a mother, a family, a community and a lot of love. Most of the time they build a school that is accessible to the SOS Children but also to the community. So far, they created a few schools in India that are now welcoming up to 3000 students from every horizon.
You can show your support to the Fiasco De Gama team by following them on Facebook and YouTube by looking up Fiasco De Gama. Support their project and make a donation to SOS Children’s Village on this site http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/fiascodegama. The money will go directly to the charity. Any amount, big or small, can make a difference.