Diary & Travel Reports from the saddle
Indonesia to Argentina with love - 28 November 2004
An Argentine motorcycling doctor has just returned to Buenos Aires after a two weeks of training in Indonesia. Dr Gerardo Sola learnt new skills and knowledge from Mr Willy Bala the director of an NGO called Health for All (HfA). HfA has been managing a fleet of twelve motorcycles used by health ministry workers on remote Indonesian islands of Flores since 2002. Dr Sola aims to pioneer this proven system of delivering basic health services in Latin America starting with four marginalized Argentine areas.
Dr Sola’s training included practical riding, administrative procedures and field visits to meet health workers and the people. His training costs were supported by funds raised by Simon Milward in Latin America during 2003, whilst Dr Sola himself covered his air fare. Milward met Dr Sola in April this year before quitting South America on his humanitarian round the world motorcycle ride.
Dr Sola had this to say:
“My 14 days with Willy were just spectacular! We were working together with such and enthusiasm and a great relationship from the very beginning! We are now very good friends, and I am sure that our friendship will last for ever.
"We were together at Larantuka in Flores Island for a week. There we went with the bikes to Adonara and Lembata, two islands, by boat, with the bikes, and I could see all the work of the sanitary agents, and the excellent work that Willy is doing every day with his people. I saw the zero breakdown system in the place and learned a lot of skills of how to treat the government and the people who ride the bikes for Health for All.
"After that week we went together to Kupang and I saw all the administrative work. It was a great thing to be there because now I know that the idea is good, and there I got the "know how". We were able to take hundreds of excellent pictures and film the training. This will be very important for fundraising.
"To replicate this in Argentina I have my Foundation, PILOTOS SOLIDARIOS. In the next month it will be a reality. I have already 14 volunteers just waiting at the start line, for the order of Go!!!! I have been in 3 TV programs and 3 radio programs with very nice interviews, that are making of Pilotos Solidarios a known NGO.
"In relation with UNICEF I am working with a M.D., Carlos Pacheco, an incredible and intelligent man in the Health Ministry. He is my co-equipper and he has good relation with UNICEF. But I want to have the official status of Foundation to go to talk, as they said to us.
"We have already four programs in mind: Jujuy Province with Dr. Arriagada; Formosa Province with the indigenous people; Neuquen, with another NGO, working too with indigenous people; and Entre Rios Province near the islands of the Parana river.”
Simon Milward said, “Argentina has the biggest gap between rich and poor in Latin America. With its strong tradition of motorcycling, the skills and motivation of people like Gerardo and commitment from UNICEF, the countryside will soon ring with the sound of motorbikes. They will herald the dawn of a new healthy era for women and children in traditionally marginalized areas. A big thanks to Willy Bala for passing on his skills and knowledge.”
Both initiatives welcome interest from sponsors and other supporters.
Simon Milward, on the road
A solo fundraising round the world ride on a handmade motorcycle.
Supporting Doctors Without Borders, Motorcycle Outreach and democracy.
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