October 29, 2005 – A self-described “average-Joe” Michael Coo is a forty-something father of two with a dream that is anything but. A bartender by trade, this one-time bike courier will participate in the Tour d’Afrique, an 11,900 kilometre bicycle race across the world’s most exotic and alluring continent.
Though initially drawn by the extreme nature of the challenge, Coo soon realized that the expedition would offer him a chance to fundraise for a cause he’s passionate about. Coo decided to take pledges from Canadians on behalf of WaterCan!
A seasoned traveler, (Coo has visited every continent except Antarctica), he is continually struck by the fundamental necessity of access to clean drinking water. “Water”, he says, “makes the difference between a community that is thriving and healthy, and one that is struggling and plagued by illness”.
He is also aware of the importance of a community-based approach to development, so several years ago when the Globe and Mail ran an article identifying some of the best Canadian charities, Coo was excited to learn about WaterCan and the nature of our community-based water projects in Eastern Africa. “The pairing of this race with the raising of funds for WaterCan is intuitive”, Coo says.
WaterCan’s executive director, Gary H.J. Pluim, is thrilled that Coo chose to make WaterCan part of his “not-so-average” adventure. “I think we can all be inspired by Mr. Coo’s spirit of adventure and personal commitment to the cause of providing access to clean drinking water for the people of Africa,” Pluim said. The Tour d’Afrique will begin on January 14th, 2006 at the Giza Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt and will end on May 13th, 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa. It will consist of 100 days of cycling and 20 days of rest. Travelling through three of the four countries in which WaterCan works, Michael will provide us with regular updates on his progress, which can be tracked via the WaterCan website.