Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh

Cycle for Safe Water 2018

In October 2018 I travelled to Visakhapatnam in India, together with five other cyclists, to take part in the inaugural FRANK Water Cycle for Safe Water event. The plan was to undertake a 400km cycle ride which would include visits to remote communities in the Eastern Ghats, where FRANK has worked with local NGO, VJNNS to install gravity-fed freshwater systems.

The trip was incredible. India is an amazing country – chaotic, loud, bright, colourful and intense. It can in turn also be polluted, dirty, dusty, and overcrowded, but it’s a place that is busting with life and full of fantastic people. We met a few of these on our trip and were greeted with smiles, waves and requests for selfies by just about everyone we encountered!

Cycling in India is challenging, but a lot of fun. Riding through the cities was a test of nerves at times, but we had a great support crew around us who did a fantastic job of keeping us safe. Once we got out of the urban areas the traffic was much less of an issue and we were very quickly into rural India. Cycling through beautiful scenery of Andhra Pradesh, we made our way up into the Eastern Ghats.

The visits to the villages were very special. We received the warmest of welcomes – complete with music, dancing, gifts of flowers and garlands –  and had the chance to interact with the villagers and to understand the first-hand struggle that not having access to clean drinking water brings alongside the obvious – and indeed not so obvious – benefits that each new water system brings to these communities.

Below is a selection of the shots I took on the trip, which I hope go some way to capture the experience.

Vizag Architecture
Vizag Architecture

Railway New Colony Road, Visakhapatnam
Railway New Colony Road, Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam
Evening light in Visakhapatnam

View of Visakhapatnam from Kailasagiri Park
View of Visakhapatnam from Kailasagiri Park

Kailasagiri Ropeway - At a Glance
Kailasagiri Ropeway – At a Glance

Cycling in Rural India
On the road in Rural India

Goat Herder
Goat Herder

Meeting with Mr Siva Kumar at VJNNS
Meeting with Mr Siva Kumar at VJNNS

Livestock
Livestock

Villagers at K Bennavaram
Villagers at K Bennavaram

A Family in Gondimelaka Village

Girls in K Bennavaram
Schoolgirls in K Bennavaram

Jameela Lorry Transport
Jameela Lorry Transport

Clean water supply in the village
Clean water supply in the village

Leaving SK Banda Village
Leaving SK Banda Village

Gondimelaka Village
Gondimelaka Village

Kumari from VJNNS
Kumari from VJNNS

Building a water filtration tank in Polambandalu
Building a water filtration tank in Polambandalu

On the route back into Visag
On the route back into Visag

View over the Eastern Ghats
View over the Eastern Ghats

Thanks to everyone involved at FRANK Water, Authentica and VJNNS for making this such an amazing and memorable adventure.

FRANK Water is a safe water and sanitation charity based in Bristol. Since 2005, they have provided safe water and sanitation to 386,500 people in 442 communities across India and Nepal. There are still 663 million people who still lack access to this basic human right. Read more about their work at frankwater.com. I have been on the Board of Trustees at FRANK Water since July 2017.

2 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Anoo Jainreply
18th December 2018 at 9:52 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings and pictures. Looks like a wonderful cycle ride. I know you’ve helped to raise a huge amount for us and look forward to our next ride

Chris Guyreply
23rd December 2018 at 12:46 pm
– In reply to: Anoo Jain

Thanks Anoo. It was a fantastic trip and hopefully next year’s event will be even bigger and better!

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