Monday 26 July 2010

End to End Tour - the Otesha Project - First Log

During the months of July and August resilient TN blogger, Kerry Lane is cycling with the 17-strong Otesha crew from Land's End to John O'Groats. In our Bike Week last month she described how she came to be spending her summer cycling sustainably up and down the hills of Britain with 17 fellow volunteers. At the end of August she'll be posting a special Low Carbon Life report of her epic journey. Meanwhile here is her teammate Thalia writing for the Otesha website. . .

When thinking about what to write for the LeJog 2010 tour it was really hard to fit in all of the amazing things which Hanna, Jo and the team managed to fit into training week!

Our journey to Sancreed, Corwall and ‘Plan-it Earth’ (a small, sustainable farm and our home-away-from-home for training week) was up one very steep hill…. the first of many. One of the first things we had to accomplish was to get to know our new ‘family’ mainly through lots of games, which made us feel a bit like uninhibited little children. The ’serious’ endeavours of creating a ‘food mandate’ (a shared agreement on how the team would eat for the duration of the trip) and the community roles (the responsibilities that we would take on as a team) went smoothly and allowed us to form a common idea of how life will function over the next two months.

We decided through consensus decision making to eat a completely vegetarian (and largely vegan) diet, to buy local goods as often as possible, and when not possible, to buy Fairtrade imported products (especially chocolate). We decided on all of this as a reflection of our commitment to reduce our impact on the environment and promote social justice.

Other activities included learning vegan cooking from some amazing volunteer chefs (Rosie and Iona… thanks guys!), yoga and outdoor showers, lots of learning about environmental issues and group dynamics, and everything we could ever want to know about two wheels from the mad bike scientists Pete and Dave (who we are all in love with, the boys included).

We also did a lot of work on the Otesha Play. We re-worked the scripts, created new characters, voices and scenes to give us some ownership over the final performance, which we will be giving to schools and communities at stops throughout our tour. In a few days time, team members began to blossom into characters such as Jamie Oliver, Simon Cowell, a ’Banana Pirate’ and a rapper who sings about the wonders of Tupperware. After a week of practice and rehearsal we gave our very first performance to a small school tucked away in a little valley not far from Land’s End. We were rather nervous but everything went well and the kids’ lovely eco suggestions to us included such brilliance as ‘recycling flat hedgehogs’ and considering the ‘ethics of factory produced Fairtrade products’ (these were coming from students age 4 -6 six!! Pretty impressive huh?).

At last, to finish the long week of training, we had our first team cycle….. a trip out to the famous ‘Land’s End’ on a rocky prominence overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After some photo opps, hugs and (of course) a bit of shenanigans, we set off again for Plan-it Earth and a team party before departing for the tour. 16 miles and 1 performance down… 1000 more miles, 18 performances, lots of adventure, and thousands of people to reach out to still to go…

We couldn’t be more excited!!

Thalia & rest of the Land’s End to John O’Groats team

Otesha team discussion; Kerry's bike resting before the big tour; spelling it out at Land's End

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