Across India by rickshaw

RICKSHAW ROVING: Kira Hartland takes a well-earned break during her trek through Northern India on a motorised rickshaw. Photo contributed.
RICKSHAW ROVING: Kira Hartland takes a well-earned break during her trek through Northern India on a motorised rickshaw. Photo contributed. Contributed

BEFRIENDING an Indian general and staying up all night to keep hungry dogs at bay were only some of the adventures Evans Head local Kira Hartland experienced in her mission to India.

As part of Frank Water Project, which raises money to put water purifying systems into rural areas of the Third World, the rickshaw trip across northern India was a trip she'll never forget.

"We travelled from Shillong to Jaisalmer, which is about 2900km, all in a rickshaw," she said. "Of that trip I did 570km on my own."

The rickshaw she and travel partner Nigel McKarron drove had only a single-cylinder engine and very stiff gears.

"It was basically a lawn mower," she said. "During the trip we got a broken chassis, failing electricals and at one point the steering column broke."

They were two days late to their destination thanks to a mechanics holiday on the day they broke down.

At one point the rickshaw drivers had an armed military escort take them 200km along their trip.

"The general who was co-ordinating the escort became a good friend," Kira laughed.

Accommodation was a bit of a mixture of different experiences for the team. "We got to sleep in palaces, five-star hotels, the rickshaw, under a truck and under a street light," Kira said.

"One night I didn't sleep at all as we were harassed by rabid dogs."

Despite all this, Kira was only $200 off her goal of $800 for the project and said she would have no hesitation in doing a similar trip again.

"Nigel has suggested we go to Peru in South America and do a 3000km trip," she said.

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