In recent years, Carlos Verona (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, 30 years old), visited Kenya on several occasions. Only the pandemic prevented his trips from being more continuous, but once those times were left behind, luckily, he resumed his customs. At first, it was for leisure, to get to know a different country, another culture and learn in all aspects. Once there, as he went on repeat sightseeing tours, he appreciated firsthand the important deficiencies that a large part of the inhabitants of the continent have, in general, and of Kenya, in particular.
Specifically, the Maasai people, with whom Verona has recently invested in collaborative projects and solidarity purposes. “On our second visit I met José, a Mallorcan who has lived there for fifteen years and is part of an NGO. We became friends and talked about the needs that existed. We looked for the way in which we could help ”, Verona told AS during the Tour of Oman. “We started to think and, at the end of each season, we have a lot of clothes that I give to friends, because there is a change of sponsor or things like that, and we have a new garment. This time, I decided to sell it for charity. We made a page on Instagram and, together with my wife (Esther), we started to raise funds”, he explained.
With the hashtag #Bikes4Masai and other platforms, he managed to raise nearly 50,000 euros… and the big moment came: they sent 100 bicycles for children around ten years old. “Buffalo Bike is part of the World Bicycle Relief, which in turn belongs to our sponsor SRAM, and thanks to them they told us how we had to send the shipment and other procedures. This was in May”, recounted the runner based in Andorra. At the beginning, one of the problems they had was the maintenance of the bicycles, since there were no mechanics in the area. Therefore, a teacher from a school in that area received instructions to be able to do these tasks.
“The change we saw is incredible. In May, when we went, many did not know how to ride. When we returned in November, the progress was spectacular. The bicycles stay at school, they do not belong to the children, since the idea is that they rotate among all the students. It is one more argument for many to go to school, because we saw that some children cannot go since they have other tasks, such as taking care of the cattle ”, explained a Verona that is celebrating its fifth season with the Movistar team. “There, in this area of Kenya, there are almost no cars, only safaris. It is in the north where most sports are practiced, especially athletics, but cycling is starting to grow. Forming this project and being able to help is very gratifying,” he said.. Other athletes such as her partner Van Vleuten and the pilot Aleix Espargaró also collaborated.