Mercy Machines gives a shit.
As this magazine goes to print a ragtag group of surfers, bikers, photographers and big dreamers will be making their way across Indonesia on motorbikes to surf, scope out the eastern island scene and do some serious good for remote and rural communities in need. Mercy Machines is their name, and giving a shit is their game.
The idea for Mercy Machines began with Dustin Ederer, who moved to Bali from California in 2011 to get involved in volunteer work. Since rocking up to our shores, he has helped build and manage orphanages on the island, teamed up with UNICEF in the Philippines to supply clean water to victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, and worked with programmes to get kids off the streets and into school.
Most recently Dustin partnered with the Rotary Club of Bali Canggu to create a foundation that builds water storage tanks in remote villages in East Bali that have no access to clean water at all. The tanks were designed to collect enough rainwater to provide a family of five with at least two gallons of water a day throughout the entire dry season.
He says, “During the development of this project, I’d pack up my things, hop on my bike and ride three hours east to a village called Kubu. This idea of riding my motorcycle to remote villages grew, so I got some friends involved and now we’re riding 1,500 miles over the course of 30 days on motorcycles with surfboards and medical supplies.”
The team that Dustin wrangled together includes Michael Warchild, Cesar Fernandez, Anthony Dodds, Saskia Koerner and Crille Raskall. And because none of them are experts in the medical field (not even close they might say), they’ve enlisted the help of the John Fawcett Foundation to help them properly distribute the supplies. Their main areas of focus will be polio, malaria and water contamination.
Although polio was eradicated in the West in the mid 90s, it still surfaces in Indonesia, especially in remote areas where villagers have no access to the vaccine. Malaria is also prevalent in all areas of eastern Indonesia, and can be fatal if not treated properly. However, the biggest cause of illness in the country is contaminated water, with over 50,000 Indonesians dying every year from waterborne diseases.
To raise money the progressive philanthropists started a Kickstarter campaign and invited challenger brands to sponsor the adventurers. In return, Mercy Machines’ photographers, videographers and editors will create unique content that showcases the products on the road and in the environment they were created for. In this sense the team are also what they call an ‘adventure marketing collective.’
The Mercy Machines crew will start their epic inter-island motorbike journey in Bali in mid-August and make their way across Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Roti and Timor utilising ferries and camping out when needed. On each island they will connect with local social organisations and meet and help real people in real places with real needs.
The group states, “ We like to think of ourselves as the grungy and grittier version of the Fellowship of the Ring, but in this case, we’re trekking across rugged terrain to change lives and have the motorcycle and surf trip of our dreams.” The trip will be a combination of what they call ‘escapade and aid’. Or as Dustin succinctly puts it, “The concept itself is adventure while giving a shit along the way.” S.M.