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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mark Dobson

A Sacristen Send Off

At 10:00 AM on a Sunday morning, the plan was to board the imposing black Toyota, but, as often happens, even the best-laid plans can go astray. While the Proace appeared sleek and spacious from the outside, the interior was a different story. With two bikes, numerous suitcases, and bags, concerns arose that despite removing three seats, everything might not fit. It required some strategic rearrangement of gear to finally close the back doors.

As a result, the departure for Klaipeda was unavoidably delayed.

Three hours later, a hurried lunch was had at Pas Lado, a roadside café just outside Kaunas. The spicy pork cutlets accompanied by sodas and coffee provided a satisfying meal.

Embossed on the café menu's cover was "Svyturys," the name of a beer that has quenched travelers' thirst since 1784. It was quite likely that this beer had been on tap for Napoleon's army as they marched nearby during his ill-fated 1812 Russian campaign. Historians attribute his campaign's failure to equipment and logistical issues.

While the ASF campaign's outset wasn't flawless, by Monday morning, it was already attracting local media attention. This journey was far from ordinary; it was an extraordinary endeavor.

Each participant was now fully attuned to their bicycles, equipment, and thoughts. Samuel engaged with the media, discussing his heart rate and cadence monitors, collision radar, LED lights, and SOS global satellite communication system. He proudly claimed, "I'm the Garmin guy," with a grin.

A strong sense of camaraderie was palpable among all the cyclists. Emerging from the dim interior of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Father Leopold stepped into the sunlight to offer a prayer for Samuel and his team. His radiant complexion glowed in the crisp morning light, creating a scene that felt almost heavenly.

Venturing beyond the City of Hope, the cyclists settled into a serene rhythm, traversing dedicated cycle paths through endless forests of verdant and sandy-hued pine and spruce.

Their steady pace was punctuated only by pauses along the Baltic Sea's edge. They marveled from the 24-meter-high bluff that ran along the coastline, watching paragliders take to the air on the brisk westerly winds that played with the waves of the Baltic's deep green waters.

In Monciškės, they visited a holiday camp catering to the disabled community. This was a place for individuals to come together and share stories of how they came to use wheelchairs.

Each person had their own heart-wrenching narrative. Alijus, for instance, had merely fallen 3 meters from a ladder. His demeanor exuded a sense of accepting magnanimity, spending ample time in the forest and on the bluff.

Much like Ajmal, he found joy in observing the colorful sails dancing in the sky.

The day concluded at Sventoli. The final logistical hurdle was locating a cottage with bathroom doors wide enough to accommodate Ajmal's wheelchair.

Some temporary door frame adjustments were necessary, offering a fitting close to an eventful day. This situation spoke volumes about the Lithuanian people's disposition: resilient, practical, friendly, and ever ready to assist.

Join the expedition, follow updates, and tag along on this inspiring adventure."

ASF has carefully chosen Resolve to be the beneficiary for 2023: Resolve is a charity founded in 2017 that helps create change makers in our community to drive a more inclusive city. Their signature program is a Fellowship that has so far supported over 70 emerging community leaders from diverse walks of life. There have been five cohorts of the fellowship on racial equality, ending gender-based violence, disABILITIES and empowerment, wellbeing and health and (E)quality Education for all.

Visit the following URL in order to support the "I Resolve Challenge" and Visit the following URL in order to support the "I Resolve Challenge" and give:

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