BY GEORGE KAGAME
He started his worldwide ride in 2002 and hopes to end in 2010. After riding on his tandem bicycle across 36 countries, Jamie Bianchini arrived in Rwanda on Monday, still determined to accomplish his daunting mission.
The American entered the country from Ugandan via Musanze District, Northern Province.
As he rides through the countryside, he supplies free Coartem malaria doses in remote areas and other random acts of kindness as he calls them.
Rwanda is the ninth country in Africa that the native of California has ridden through.
Speaking to The New Times, Bianchini said he is inspired by cultural homogeneity of the world and his love for world peace and understanding.
He said he is in Rwanda to help increase awareness of the country’s transition from the 1994 Genocide.
“I would like to inspire many more people to visit Rwanda as a safe place,” he said.
The American added that with the coverage he gets through the internet and Peace Paddlers’ (a group he chairs) newsletter, he would like to encourage many people to visit Rwanda “not to just see the gorillas and go but make friends and enjoy the beauty of the country.” “Through [small] efforts like internet and newspaper articles, we can help promote cultural awareness and education, and reduce fear amongst people. You find the one part of the world is afraid of another because of misleading television news,” he added.
Bianchini also offered to pay school fees for a Rwandan child in Musanze District. “I just paid tuition for a kid that rode with me from Ruhengeri (Musanze), and we will be sending his school fees for every school term.”
He said his most trying moments were in Mozambique where he was attacked and beaten up by a person he had offered a ride. He also disclosed that Rwandair Express has sponsored “my air travel from Rwanda to Tanzania to film the Zanzibar International Film festival.” He travels with cameras, computer and riding clothes.