I have been back from Ethiopia for a week now. During the five days, I had the chance to dive into a completely new world for me. I consciously took some time to reflect and process on my experiences and impressions.
Why did I go on this journey? I for myself wanted to see how Right To Play programs work. In a nutshell: I wanted to see first-hand what I am standing up for.
It actually was a coincidence that I visited the programs in Ethiopia because Right To Play works in 15 countries worldwide, in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The trip to Ethiopia was originally planned for a small group of three long-time Right To Play supporters and I was lucky to be able to join on short notice.
Many impressions. Many new Experiences.
We had a very tight schedule in order to see as many schools where Right To Play is active as possible. Right To Play does not run its own schools, but cooperates with public schools - always with the aim of improving the quality of education. In concrete terms, this means that Right To Play trains teachers in play-based teaching methods and thus supports them in conveying educational content in a child-friendly way and in being able to plan and organize lessons efficiently.
While visiting the schools, we gained all kinds of impressions: A lot has already been achieved through the programs, however there is still a lot to do.
My personal highlight
Two female students, ninth and eleventh grade: role models and teachers for children and adults in their region. In Maketuri, about 80km north of Ethiopia's capital Addis Abeba, I got to know them during a school visit. They attend regular school classes during the week but on the weekends, they also sit in the classroom – but not to study themselves, but to give (private) lessons to other children and young people who have never had access to education before.
However, their commitment to other children was not necessarily well received by everyone. The parents of the two schoolgirls were particularly critical of the activities and accused them of only wanting to avoid housework and not supporting their parents enough in the household. But the two of them continued to teach regardless of the accusations. Things changed when the parents of the children, who were taught by the two of them, approached their parents and expressed their gratitude. The anger about the commitment of their daughters quickly gave way to pride in the two of them.
For me, this was a really moving encounter that also symbolizes the work and impact of Right To Play. Through the sustainable support from local Right To Play employees, who work with children, coaches and teachers on a long-term basis, a lot can be transformed and achieved.
Due to this sustainable approach, I support Right To Play, as I believe that education is the key to development!
Last but not least, I would like to mention that the organization did not incur any costs for my trip.
The last race of the season is history, and it is time to take stock. In the last week I did some intensive team building with my team Bora-hansgrohe in Lienz, Austria. Those days were good for the whole team. In addition to a lot of meetings, where we of course looked towards the next season, we were also athletically active, including downhill. But don't worry, nobody got injured and we had a lot of fun.
Today is the start of the six-day Gree-Tour of Guangxi. I am especially happy to be here at the start. Not just because as a land, China is always a real adventure, but also because after the many throwbacks this season, I have now worked myself into a performance level that makes me confident for this race.
Actually I wanted to be in Canada now and ride the two races in Quebec and Montreal this weekend. Instead, I am home and happy that I am almost healthy again. The last weeks I have had to fight a persistent infection. With my eye on the World Championships, I was probably back on the bike too soon and had a relapse.
If you were underway on your bike in Thüringen last week, then you might have seen me on the road. My hand has healed so well that I can finally use it for training on the road again. I started training on the rollers again only six days after my operation, to keep my training loss as small as possible. But since about a week I have been out in the fresh air again.