By Anitha Sevugan
By car to The Gambia is not child’s play. The distance to the West African country is about 7000 kilometers. Nuenen residents Hans Aarts and Tjeerd Rosier are going to cover that distance, all for a good cause.
Their goal is to make a mobile X-ray machine available for the Lamin Health Centre, a hospital in the town of Lamin. And that is a challenge because such a device costs 150,000 euros.
“Neither of us has a medical background, we have always worked for the government, and are now retired. This seems like a nice trip to make, and it is great that we are helping people with it”, says Hans Aarts.
A total of fifteen teams are participating in the so-called X-ray Challenge. “The idea is to sell the car that will take us to The Gambia when we are there. In addition, we are looking for sponsors who want to support us. At the end of the ride, this should yield about 10,000 euro per group, with which the foundation can buy the X-ray machine”, says Aarts.
That device itself, by the way, will come from the Netherlands. “We are talking to a company in Den Bosch that makes those machines. Mobile X-ray equipment is not produced very much, which is why it is so expensive”, Aarts says.
‘Old Boys go to The Gambia’
Another challenge facing the two pensioners is the campaign itself. “We have to find sponsors and that all happens through the internet, but we are not familiar with that. If I try to put something on Facebook, smoke comes out of the computer. Fortunately, I have a niece who helps us. She has created a Facebook page and website under the name ‘Old Boys Go To Gambia’.”
The men are serious. Last weekend, the two had a stand at the 4WD Festival in Oss, a festival for four-wheel drive cars. All to gain support for their trip to The Gambia.
Although Aarts and his friend have little knowledge of social media, the two are better versed in cars. “We bought a Range Rover that we are refurbishing. It will be auctioned in The Gambia. We hope it will fetch about 5000 euros.”
The Range Rover is donated by the men themselves. For the rest, they have set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds. “Think of the costs for fuel, food and drink, that sort of thing. But also, spare parts for the car. For repairs on the road, we are mainly dependent on ourselves. So, all help is welcome”, says Aarts.
It should be clear that whoever buys the car from the boys in The Gambia is getting a good car. The men and the car will travel through nine countries. The start date is 8 April 2022, but before then, Aarts and Rosier still have plenty to do. “Making sure we have enough sponsors so that we can eventually make our contribution to the X-ray machine”, concludes Aarts.