One year ago, three women set out on a nearly 1000-mile charity cycling tour around Malawi, Africa. One year later, we get to play in big, beautiful piles of rose quartz and call it "work."
The Akazi Project was formed fortuitously when we reached the northern-region of Malawi. During the peak of our longest, hottest riding day of the trip, we hopped off our bikes to seek some shade and refuel our bodies (shoutout to Peanut M&M for saving us in this particular instance). We got to talking about our trip so far and what really stuck out to us up to that moment, which coincidentally happened to be the same issue: women's health and the incessant rate of cervical cancer in Malawi.
It was here that we decided our time in Malawi was just beginning.
As the scenery of our tour changed from rural towns, to beach villages, and eventually to mountainous Mzimba Region of Malawi - where the hills are no joke - so did our paths. We noticed beautiful, raw pieces of quartz piling up on the side of our terrain. Examining as many pieces as we could during our next couple 10-mile breaks, it only took a handful of quartz and a few glances at one another to realize this is what would be the glue for our mission.
The Akazi Project isn’t just about quartz - it’s about connecting and engaging communities from across the globe, giving Malawian women yet another way to rise, and reducing public health burdens. It was always important for us founders of The Akazi Project to connect our passion for public health and the concept of female collaboration into a greater cause - and here we are, one year later making pretty things with a powerful purpose at the backbone of every piece.
Don’t get us wrong, the journey to build The Akazi Project hasn’t been perfect. Even off the bikes, there have been moments where we have experienced a change in route, flat tires, and to be completely honest, saddle sores (soldering metal is no easy task) - but all these little “bumps in the road” have made the ride that much more exciting to overcome.
One year later, and we have a badass team of Malawian gem miners, like-minded team of public health enthusiasts, passionate + good-hearted customers, and a rad community of boss babes here in the US to collaborate rather than compete with. So to all of you, THANK YOU for making this past year the best ride of our lives!
Editor's Note: 2 of the 3 founders have not set foot back on a bike after the July 2017 Malawi bike tour.