At the start of 2012, I had ‘liked’ Hagar on Facebook. It was a late Thursday night in October when the news feed about the Ride for Hagar came across my screen. I was instantly interested so I emailed Hagar and got the sample itinerary within five minutes!

Ultimately, God provided for every single thing I needed for the trip. I was able to do a lot of research and raising awareness of human trafficking and exploitation all over the US and over 85 family groups and individuals donated to the ride.

I was really excited to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia and cycle through both countries. I had never cycled before so I did a lot of training before the ride in February. The ride was truly awesome with riders from all over the world – Malaysia, Sweden, Slovakia, New Zealand.

We experienced city and country…pavement and dirt. We met families along the way and became entertainment for the villages at many points in our journey. I have so many favorite parts, but the day that stands out the most was day 2 when we rode through the Mekong Delta. We crossed 172 bridges and really began to click as a family that day.

Another favorite moment was the opportunity to visit Hagar’s Women’s Shelter in Phnom Penh and meet some of the girls in the arts and crafts room. When I walked in, I stood for a minute and glanced around. Within a few minutes, one of the girls walked up to me and handed me a pink and purple beaded heart she had made. She smiled at me and my heart melted instantly. Three girls helped me make my own heart and taught me how to count from 1-10 in Khmer which still  remember!!) Those were the most meaningful moments of the whole trip.

Throughout the ride, Catherine from Hagar shared stories about the women and children at Hagar and the organization. When we visited the office, we learned about the legal and protection facets of Hagar and met with staff over lunch at Hagar Catering. In Takeo, a rural province near Phnom Penh, we were blessed with a wonderful lunch at one of Hagar’s foster families. At each location, we learned about the importance of that place in connection with Hagar.

Our group of bikers meshed perfectly, I could not have ever asked for a better group of people. We became really close and learned a lot about each other along the way. It was a great experience!

If you’re interested in seeing Vietnam and Cambodia ‘behind the scenes’ while making a positive contribution to Hagar – go on the ride!

We cycled 403 miles (650km) in total with pit stops every hour. Don’t let the distance scare you! If you prepare beforehand, it will be an amazing experience. Come in with an open mind and don’t be afraid to explore a little :)

“Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause.” -Isaiah 1:17

Dakota Robinson grew up in Colorado, USA and has spent the past three years studying Marketing and International Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She intends to graduate in the spring of 2014.