Each January, Adelaide (where I live) hosts the Tour Down Under.
More than 100 of the world’s top cyclists go up hill, and down dale, by the beach and through the vineyards, over six days and hundreds of kilometers.
The Tour Down Under is very exciting to watch.
You hear the TV helicopters first, then come the police vehicles, the photographers on the back of motorbikes, then the first riders …
… and then the huge pack of whirling wheels and helmeted heroes.
What amazes me about the Tour Down Under is the peloton – the big group of bikes riding as a pack.
Normally there are some riders who do a breakaway, and charge out in front of the peloton, but they seem to always end up getting overhauled, when they run out of energy.
When you stand up close to the peloton, as I did on the weekend when it passed near my house, it feels like some kind of beast…
All these riders within centimeters of each other, riding at 50 kilometers an hour. Not only does that require expert riding, it also takes trust in those around you.
The power of the peloton is that everyone in it is supporting each other, so they can go further and faster and longer than any rider can do on their own.
Of course, that made me think of what you do through ALWS. For people like this man I met in Burundi, where you help people in the poorest communities …
On our own, you and I can only do so much.
We may have our own challenges. Things may change in our lives. We may not have the means to do all we would like to do for others.
That’s the power of us coming together in ALWS – sharing the load, spurring each other on, supporting each other, picking up the load when someone else has to lay it down.
That’s how you and I can be on the front line in Kharkiv in Ukraine … in the Displaced Persons Camps of junta-ruled Myanmar … in the drought and floods and conflicts in places in the Horn of Africa like Somalia and Burundi.
Working together enables us to access Matching Grants from the Australian Government, and big agencies in Europe and the US.
Side by side is how we can respond within days to natural disasters that leave people in danger.
Today I just want to thank you that we can be in the ALWS ‘peloton’ together.
For getting ‘on your bike’ so we can go where we are needed most. Spurred on by each others’ skills and strength and support. Pushing through challenges, and over obstacles, until the victory line is in sight.
That’s why you are a blessing ALWayS! Thank you!