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SLO County group plans coastal bike ride to support international women’s health, social justice

A group of women in Tharaka, Kenya dance and sing to send off a bike team before a fundraising ride.
Courtesy: Amwe Movement
A group of women in Tharaka, Kenya dance and sing to send off a bike team before a fundraising ride.

A group of women in San Luis Obispo County are planning a bike trip up the coast to help fundraise for women’s healthcare in Kenya.

The cross-cultural Amwe peace ride, as it’s called, will be held on February 19 and 20. The goal is to raise enough money to fund healthcare for 15 women in rural Kenya who were recently diagnosed with late-stage cancer.

“Amwe is a word that means ‘together’ or ‘shoulder-by-shoulder’ in Kii Tharaka, which is the native tongue of our partners in Tharaka, Kenya,” said Kens Nadler, one of the local collaborators organizing the ride.

Nadler said a team of women will ride more than 60 miles from San Luis Obispo to San Simeon and back over two days along Highway 1. A sister team in Kenya is also doing a 70 mile peace ride in partnership.

“We’ll get to be in solidarity and allyship with them as we both get to connect and share and celebrate cross-culturally as we’re all uniting our footsteps for peace,” Nadler said.

Nadler said the value of a dollar looks much different in Kenya than it does in California. For $180, one Kenyan community member can get access to the National Insurance Fund (NIF) and receive the covered medical care they need for three years. That’s where the fundraising comes in.

“We’re hoping to get the 15 people who were diagnosed at the last medical camp, three years of care. The baseline is to get the people who are actively sick what they need.”

Nadler said the base fundraising goal is almost met. She said any extra funding will go toward building an Amwe Women’s Peace Center in Kenya which would serve as a therapy house and workshop for resources and support.

Nadler said while fundraising is a main goal, she hopes the peace ride itself will benefit all of the women participating.

“It’s a very equalizing thing to just be moving across a landscape together, and a very unifying thing," Nadler said. "People feel like they’re a part of something and they are a part of something because you actually do really need each other when you’re out doing something like that.”

Click here to find out how to donate and get more information about the Amwe Movement and Peace Ride.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.