Pedalling Compassion

In April 2008 I escaped Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, as rioting escalated and smoke from burning barricades filled the air. I was part of a media team travelling with Compassion Australia, there to see their aid work in one of the world’s very poorest nations. We were meant to be there for about a week but were evacuated within 48 hours of arriving due to the rapidly changing situation. Some Haitians had died and many more had been injured. We had been far too close to some of the rioting for comfort.

We had a very difficult journey to the airport and at times we were in very real danger. We finally hooked up with some armed police who escorted us to the airport. We were to fly to Dominican Republic but the flight was cancelled. The airline was not prepared to fly into Haiti. Later that day we finally made it out with another airline.

Haitians were rioting because they had nothing to eat and were unable to provide food for their families. That’s the kind of place that Compassion works.

It Gets Worse

On Tuesday the 12th of January last year a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing around 220 000, injuring more than 300 000 and affecting 3.5 million people. Even before the quake, 86% of people in Port au Prince were living in slum conditions. Compassion was there and continues to work with the people of Haiti.

Something Must Be Done

Haiti is just one country where Compassion is working. All over the world, often in difficult circumstances, Compassion is working to release children from poverty. They can only do their job if we’re prepared to get involved. Since that trip to Haiti our family has sponsored a boy from Haiti through Compassion. It’s a small contribution but we know we’re making a difference.

Let’s Ride

Having seen first hand, both in Haiti and Dominican Republic, how effective Compassion’s work is, I am determined to do more to help. That’s why from the 12th to the 14th of February 2012 I’ll be taking part in the 25000 Spins Great Ocean Road Challenge.

I’ll be riding 290 kilometres in three days and I need your support. By sponsoring my efforts on the challenge you’ll be releasing children from poverty. You’ll be giving children a real chance at life. Please visit my fundraising page and make a contribution. Maybe you can afford to sponsor me for a dollar a kilometre, maybe 50 cents a kilometre, or perhaps you’d just like to donate $10, $20, $50 or any other amount.

When I think of all the opportunities I provide for my own children, I can’t sit back without offering the most basic of opportunities to someone else’s child. My parent’s heart won’t allow me to do nothing.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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