A world of challenges
Video diarist, traveller back
From risking his life traversing a landslide near Machu Picchu, to being coaxed by an online community into taking a cutthroat shave and Turkish bath in the Middle East, Andrew Strugnell has had his fair share of excitement and adventure over the past few months.
In November last year, the Tawa man campaigned through Facebook to win the Downunder World Challenge in conjunction with Downunder Worldwide Insurance and Christian aid organisation, TEAR Fund.
This challenge saw him travel to 13 countries to complete challenges and tasks set by followers on Facebook and YouTube.
While he travelled alone to visit some of TEAR Fund’s projects in Africa, India and the Philippines, his constant companions were his video and SLR cameras with which he documented his travels.
Mr Strugnell described the experience as being like the movie The Amazing Race.
‘‘ Except I knew where I was going, but I didn’t know what I would be doing when I got there. My fate was in the hands of the people following me online.’’
Among these experiences was being thrown out of the Taj Mahal grounds for recording himself waving a flag in front of the famous icon.
On his way across the Turkish border to Syria he jumped into a
Tawa’s Andrew Strugnell used social media to carry out a series of challenges around the world, highlighting worthy projects at the same time. taxi, realised an impending mugging, and jumped out again.
Among his highlights were visits to see the work of TEAR Fund’s partners in developing countries.
These included a mission to save orphans in Uganda, the watershed projects in India, and training provided to street dwellers in the Philippines.
These experiences and stories have been documented on video to be shared on the internet.
Mr Strugnell said he suffered from culture shock after arriving in New Delhi, but he soon felt better when he visited TEAR Fund’s partner EFFICOR, who helped farmers harvest water for irrigation.
Great stories were captured during his time there, he said.
‘‘EFFICOR’s effective watershed implementations have allowed farmers to produce two crops, instead of one, each season.
‘‘These changes have encouraged working villagers to invest their energies within their community, as opposed to migrating between town and city to find work during barren times.’’
Among his fondest memories of his time in India was sleeping under the stars in a village in Paratwada.
Strugnell is editing the footage from his trip and putting snippets on his YouTube channel. You can find the footage at youtube.com/ strugsnotdrugs.
He hopes to turn the experience into a three-part TV series.