Two Air Traffic Controllers from the UK with a passion for adventure took part in the famous Rickshaw Run to raise money for HEAL – and called in at Paradise Village along the way.
Air traffic controllers Samantha Sinclair, from Aberdeen, and Ian Dickson, from Manchester, made a detour to Thotapalli on the way from Shillong to Kochi to visit the HEAL children they were fundraising for.
“We met so many lovely and friendly people along the way and our trip to HEAL was definitely a highlight for us,” said Sam. “After going to the wrong Thotapalli (about 300 miles away) we eventually turned up two days later with a broken clutch cable in our rickshaw!
“We had no idea there were two places called Thotapalli, but it was a hilarious detour to our trip. Those poor people in the ‘other’ Thotapalli were just looking at us as if to say who are you and why are you here?
“After driving around their village for about an hour we left, but we somehow ended up at an Indian wedding that night, so all was good in the end!
“Ajay [HEAL Paradise CEO] was so welcoming when we finally arrived at Paradise Village and we had a great tour of the school and met all the kids. We were all amazed at the great facilities and how happy all the kids are. We really hope to visit again some day. And one of the team there even fixed our clutch, which was much appreciated!”
In total, Sam and Ian managed to raise £1,325 for their chosen charities – HEAL and Cool Earth – while enjoying what Sam describes as “an amazing experience”.
“We met another rickshaw team, William and Greg, after arriving in India, got chatting, and all became good friends on our epic trip,” she said. “We ended up doing the whole Rickshaw Run with them and they joined us on our visit to Paradise.
“The Rickshaw Run was an amazing experience; we saw parts of India that most tourists just don’t get the opportunity to see. The rickshaw behaved relatively well, but sadly the same can’t be said for our travel companions who broke down a lot!
“However, it added to the adventure and we still made it in time for the finish party!”