Just plenty of nerves.
Harris, you see, committed to cycling 325-miles in mid-July in the 13-person Bike Zambia from organizer Chooda.org. Chooda supports the health and well-being, economic stability, and sustainable development of countries abroad by investing into local organizations working in HIV/AIDS, global health, women’s empowerment, and economic development. Chooda’s funding provides resources to small and large organizations, some of which would not otherwise have access to international funding.
“I am seriously wondering how my butt’s going to make it through 325 miles of sandy roads,” said Harris, 28, who lives in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood and works as a service manager for a high-end catering company, The Art of Food. He also is a server at Remington’s and a musician, working as a pianist in area churches as well as private events, weddings, and funerals.
He has twice participated in the annual 200-mile Ride For AIDS Chicago (rebranded Ride For Life Chicago), including this past September.
“I’ve been given an incredible opportunity living in Chicago to give back through one of my passions – cycling,” said Harris, who will participate in the African adventure with fellow Chicagoan Keith Stryker. “When Keith asked me to join him for Bike Zambia, one of my first thoughts was how wonderful it would be to share the resources we’ve been afforded in the United States with the people of Zambia. Sometimes life gives you incredible opportunities, and you’ve got to seize them.
“We want to raise as much money as possible while educating our donors on who we’re helping, why we’re doing it, and where their money will go.”
Harris’ fundraising goal is $4,000.
“I’m excited to meet and interact with folks who live there. I want to feel the culture shock and be immersed in the Zambian way of life,” Harris said. “I’ve travelled a few places outside of the U.S., but this will be my first encounter visiting a non-Eurocentric nation. I’m humbled at being given this opportunity to make a difference. A few of my loved-ones have expressed concern about safety, finances, etc., but now that I’ve made the commitment, I can’t imagine backing (out). Who knows when I’ll ever have a chance to participate in something like this again?
“As a gay, millennial American, I’ve been fortunate to never have lost any friends to HIV/AIDS. I don’t have the painful memories of prior generations that lived through the AIDS crisis, (losing) friends, family, lovers, and leaders. The AIDS crisis is still alive and real in Zambia. The gift of being able to provide relief is one that I treasure dearly. It’s my duty to carry the torch that’s been passed in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and I carry it proudly and exuberantly.”
Harris and Stryker are the lone Chicagoans participating in Bike Zambia, which Harris said is “a great feeling.”
“Chicago is made of tough, hard-working people. We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty, and we won’t stop until the job is finished. We’re going to take this mantra with us and employ it to the best of our abilities,” Harris added.
To support Keith Stryker on his Bike Zambia effort, go to: www.bit.ly/StrykerZambia2019.
To support Brice Henry Harris on his Bike Zambia effort, go to: www.tinyurl.com/BricycleZambia.