Relief Riders combines adventure and responsible travel

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Relief Riders International (RRI) will be returning once again to Cappadocia, Turkey.

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Relief Riders International (RRI) will be returning once again to Cappadocia, Turkey. The inaugural Cappadocia Relief Ride in June 2011 was so successful, that RRI will continue riding in through central Turkey in June 2012.

RRI is an award-winning travel company that combines the adventure of riding horses through some of the most beautiful locations in the world with the opportunity to profoundly affect the lives of those they visit.

Those travelers who participated in last June’s Cappadocia trip rode through streams, beautiful canyons, and over mountains; met lovely Turkish people; enjoyed delicious food; and under the direction of Dr. Ozay Mutluay, ran 4 free dental camps and installed 2 playgrounds for local children.

“It’s always so exciting to travel to new places, to meet new people, and learn about another culture,” declared Alexander Souri, the Executive Director of RRI, “And it is so satisfying for RRI to find new ways to meet local needs. It was clear from our initial needs assessment tour of Cappadocia that villagers were unable to find affordable dental care. It only took our first dental camp for us to realize how great the need was. And it is gratifying to know how successful our free dental camps have been.”

Because Dr. Mutluay’s clinic is located within traveling distance to the four villages in which RRI’s team of riders worked in, initial screenings were performed at the Dental Camps. The Relief Rider Team screened 96 people, and Dr. Mutluay discovered, on average, that each patient required 4-6 procedures.

Our Relief Riders registered and managed patients for these screenings, and made sure they left with their correct diagnosis and directions to Dr. Mutluay’s clinic. Ninety of these 96 patients have already been treated, and have received a total of 378 fillings and 87 extractions. This critical work will continue on RRI’s June 2012 Cappadocia Relief Ride.

The Cappadocia trip runs from June 19-July 1, 2012, beginning with a hot-air balloon ride over the majestic landscape that the ride travels through. Cappadocia is known throughout the world as a region of exceptional natural beauty, with hundreds of spectacular fairy chimneys, its distinctive rock pillars and minaret-like formations.

RRI will be continuing its exciting new Education through Play Program by building durable playground sets in some of the villages they ride through.

Souri noted: “We developed the program to provide local children with a safe, clean, space for outdoor play. It was a thrill to see how much the kids loved their new playgrounds; they couldn’t wait to start swinging and climbing.”

In addition to the dental and play programs, RRI plans to launch its first Garbage Management program. In collaboration with the local officials, riders will help install simple, yet effective, public trash cans and help create awareness for the growing waste challenge in Cappadocia.

To get a sense of what happens on RRI’s Cappadocia Relief Ride, imagine departing on horseback and riding to a beautiful 13th century Caravanserai (traveler’s lodge) on the Silk Road, where riders stop to rest and refresh themselves with tea, while spending some time with the Sufis, performing their Whirling Dervish Ceremony. Afterwards, riders can enjoy breathtaking landscape riding to RRI’s campsite for a wonderful sunset dinner overlooking the Gucin valley.

The next morning begins early at RRI’s first dental camp for residents of the town of Saridir. And in the afterglow of having helped provide such a critical service, riders saddle up after lunch for a four-hour ride along the Kizilirmak River to Mount Ziyaret, with its absolutely stunning views of Erciyes, a 13,000-foot high volcano.

To see a stunning slideshow of Marc Lecureuil photographs of Relief Riders International’s June 2011 Cappadocia Relief Ride, please click here: .

For more detailed information on the June 2012 Cappadocia Relief Ride, please click here: .

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