Tech Students to Take 11,000-Mile Charitable Journey
Five Tech students set off on a charitable journey this week that will cover more than 11,000 miles, stretching from Brussels, Belgium, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The Mongolia Charity Rally benefits Go Help, a U.K.-based group that provides health outreach and educational opportunities in Central Asia and Central America. The group of five young men will spend more than a month in a manual 2009 Ford Transit 3.2L Ambulance (with right-hand drive) and donate the car upon arrival, which can be used as an ambulance in Mongolia.
The group met as Tech students and has taken other trips together, but wanted to have what Jonathon Murphy calls “the adventure of a lifetime.”
“We also wanted to give back, and this rally lets us donate to a rural village a nice, working ambulance that can be used for years to come,” said Murphy, a computer science major who is also co-oping with the Georgia Tech Research Institute this summer.
Murphy’s teammates include Tony Chirumble, a mechanical engineering major; Mitch Hotop, a recent aerospace engineering graduate; Rohan Iyer, an industrial engineering major; and Gunner Robinson, a mechanical engineering major. The group has already raised more than $4,000 (of a $5,000 goal) for Go Help, which will support the organization’s ongoing projects, as well as cover initial modification and maintenance for the ambulance upon its arrival in Mongolia. Each team member is contributing personal funds to cover the adventure portion of the trip.
The 11,000-mile journey begins Tuesday, June 27. The route hits 23 countries and was designed by the students to maximize sightseeing, safety, and speed. The ambulance model was selected in part for the ease of locating replacement parts, with long-term maintenance in mind once the team leaves it behind.
“We’re excited for all of the cultures we will be immersed in and the people we will meet,” Murphy said. “We also can’t wait to hand over the ambulance keys once we reach Mongolia. Seeing the reaction will be awesome.”
Murphy and his team have prepared for the driving, trying to learn the road signs and rules for various countries. They know they will need to be on alert during the journey, particularly while driving through areas experiencing conflict.
In the event of mechanical issues, the team’s engineering prowess could be key.
“With a seven-week trip, there will definitely be some problems to be solved, whether it’s with camping, sleeping, or eating,” Murphy said. “We will need to get creative throughout the trip, but Georgia Tech has prepared us for that.”