How It Started
Many years ago when only twenty two, and in a pub with friends, the conversation turned from football to what would you like to do before you die !! When so young not a everyday thought. My friends had there say most I couldn’t repeat, pint in hand I closed my eyes and actually seen myself standing in a bath on the Amazon river !!How I knew it was the Amazon I have no idea, naturally when I told them what I had seen they called me mad and asked what was in my drink.
When the laughter was over I recall thinking gosh where did that come from.
Moving on twenty odd years, married and with two children, My wife and I broke up, the marriage over.
I was devastated .Alone one evening in a one room bed-sit feeling that my life was finished.suddently
The bath vision came flooding back to me. Sitting on the edge of the bed with my lap top I started my research .
Could a plastic bath go down this the worlds mightiest river.
Looking at Google earth I scanned satellite coverage of the Amazon river ! Dear God it was massive where would I start. How do I pay for this. Is it possible.
Am I losing my mind ??
Several months went by and I couldn’t get the bath out of my mind. A plan was coming together piece by piece.
A year or so after I had left the family home we had to sell due to financial pressure.
I now had the finance to take a trip to Peru and a place called Iquitos near the Amazon river,
I knew I had to do a feasibility study to see was it possible indeed could I get a bath there, a million and one questions where on my mind during the long flight. At times I really thought I was losing my mind.
The inner voice kept saying follow your heart Rob !
I stayed two weeks and returned home with enthusiasm many family and friends alike thought this would be it.
Reality check holiday over and find myself a girlfriend.
In fact the story is in my book and I am just skimming the surface here. Three months later equipment purchased plan made and training over ,I headed back to Peru the bath was ready to go and I did just that.
Travelled 500 k alone and in my modified bath,supplys on side tanks which also acted as bouncy aids.
This experience and meeting the children of the different villages along the way is how I came to connect. This was just not a challenge for me but also a awakening.
Having survived the jungle the water, and my own fears .
I had problems in Brazil waters with the navy and a message from a lady of the night. Rob there is a bullet with your name on it !! Please don’t go any further.
I took her advise and donated all my equipment to help children of a local village, including a two day old outboard 4 stroke engine which cost me $4000 ouch my plan to sneak past the navy base and continue my journey was
Finished, the bath left for safe keeping. Followed by a month of booze ,women and little song I was hurting I couldn’t continue my journey to the coast of Belen Brazil. Jumping on a plain,,,
Rio city was a place to lose myself and I did that very well.
Once back in Ireland the media loved the story but a question Rob where is the bath ??
Well this took me by surprise so following year I went back to search for ! Promise of much publicity and the late late show was just to tempting,
It was a search of the bath in Columbia that didn’t yield any results it had been sold for a cigarette!!
My return to Peru and the town of Iquitos was to change my life and the reason you are reading these words.
I had made a cash promise to a charity called caritas of Peru they gave me much help with the project and in return I had promised a donation for the children.
Back a year later with cheque in hand they were delighted to see I was alive and well.
I was invited on a field trip to a small village on the river a half day journey by fast boat. There I was to meet this child Jazmin who has changed my focus, my life and allowed me to finally step on my path.
At the time I had no idea how it would developed I just was so affected by this meeting I did what I could one of caritas members Martha advised me to not give the family cash but to get medical help for her.
In time this came to pass.Martha a wonderful person has been a champion over the last two years.
Back in Iquitos a month later Jazmin medical tests were inconclusive,There was more to be done,Jazmin is paralyzed waist down.
I told myself I did all I could do and tried to get on with my life! But her face kept coming back to me time and time again. I decided to raise money for her over a period of a year until my next trip out there to search for the bath again. So many people to thank for there help my mind spins. We and I say (we) raised over $4000 for jazmin and I returned to Peru and this money allowed for a stay of several months in a child hospital in Lima for Jazmin.
However after all the extensive tests she will never walk or have a normal life. In fact when mark a friend living in Iquitos found Jazmin in her mud hut she was on deaths door a week or two from a harsh reality. Thank God and all involved Loes from Holland and others she is alive and well as can be expected.
And again just back three weeks from last trip and the raft race no funds to look for the bath this time. But I am closer I can feel it !!please see this picture taken a few weeks ago October 2009 look at how Jazmin glows.
Still in Ireland and training until my legs fall off me,some 2600 miles covered over the last 6...Read More
Strange feeling back here after the last two months in Africa,Need time to process all that has...Read More
Finally my epic challenge is over ! Five days with sheila my bathtub on my back for 48 k walk ,...Read More