Africa Ride

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

As dawn breaks over Africa, an unlikely group of Australians are about to embark on an extra-ordinary journey.

An adventure that will take them from Perth to Zambia where they'll ride 500Km across the country. From Livingstone, to the capital Lusaka home of the spectacular Victoria Falls. Zambia is blessed with beauty but it's also desperately poor with little food to feed millions of little mouths.

When Perth business man Brendan Clarke first visited the nation, he felt compelled to help and started his own charity Health, Hope, Zambia.

He started with a mobile medical clinic sending de-commissioned St John's ambulances to Zambia's remote villages. He followed up with a school feeding program that caught the attention of a mega rock star. After a chance meeting in Zambia KISS front man, Gene Simmons became an ambassador. Brendan says "he funds one of our school feeding programs, so we are responsible for a couple of hundred thousand meals a year."

With his wife Rachel, and their adopted Zambian daughter Malika, they've now adopted the entire children's malnutrition ward, here at Zambia's largest hospital. Brendan says "we're certainly not going to save every life, but were going to make a huge impact."

They come from all walks of life- Mums, Dads, Miners, an MP, even WA's former health boss. "I was quiet daunted by the thought of getting on there and how sore my backside would be over 500km" A regular visitor to Zambia Dr Neale Fong says the country is struggling to provide health care to millions of needy children, "malnutrition is almost 50% of the children under five in Zambia." Day one and the Aussie entourage are led out of town by the local Mayor, passing through village, after village they're given a heroes welcome but nothing prepares them for the mob awaiting their arrival at the end of each day. This afternoon, hundreds of locals will be treated at the mobile medical clinic, a qualified Nurse, Margaret will see every condition imaginable and with the country in the grip of an HIV epidemic today they'll test hundreds for the disease.

Back on their bikes and the riders are struggling up the steep dusty tracks. To break up the journey, former footballer Neale Fong brings out the footy. Back on bitumen the riders make an early start to beat the heat; despite the pilot car at times the trucks come dangerously close. Finally, with the ambulance siren blaring, and the aussie flag flying they're on the home stretch.After five gruelling days they finally arrive at the hospital where they're greeted by government ministers, and local news crews. Eleven West Aussies, who answered a call on the other side of the world. For the first time, they'll see the hospital ward for themselves, it's a heart wrenching tour. Run down, dirty, lacking in basic medical equipment. For qualified medical practitioner, Dr Fong it's a far cry from the conditions at our own children's hospital. Now, thanks the kindness of strangers, the run down ward has been transformed. A quarter of a million dollar make-over money raised by the Perth riders who travelled across the world to fight for the kids who can't fight for themselves.

For more details on the charity Health Hope Zambia

http://hhz.com.au