The Fenton Team’s Chris Fenton treks across the Sahara Desert in support of Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS). (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Port Alberni realtor treks across Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

100-km trek raised funds for women and children fleeing violence

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team has just returned from Northern Africa, where he represented the Alberni Valley in a 100-kilometre trek across the Sahara Desert in support of women and children fleeing violence.

The trip, which took place in November, saw Fenton hike with 120 other participants for five straight days across the desert. As a group, the Royal LePage Realtors from across Canada raised more than $1.1 million for their local women’s shelters. Eighty percent of every dollar raised by Fenton will stay in the Alberni Valley as a donation to Alberin Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS), while the other 20 percent will be used on a national level for education programs. Fenton personally raised more than $5,000.

READ MORE: Port Alberni realtor trekking the Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

According to Fenton, he had to travel for four full days just to reach the starting point of the trek in Morocco’s Sahara Desert. The trip to the starting point included a day of driving through the high Atlas Mountains and a day in 4x4s, driving through the desert itself.

The 100-kilometre trek brought the group to the Algerian border, where they were stopped by Moroccan military personal on ATVs, who were monitoring the area for drug smuggling and members of Al-Quaeda crossing illegally into the country.

For five straight days, Fenton hiked up to 10 hours a day across sand dunes and rock flats in a dry, hot and inhospitable climate. At night, he said, the temperatures dropped considerably while the group slept in large group tents, used camping-style bathroom facilities and went without electricity, cell service and the other comforts of home.

One highlight of the trek saw the group climb the largest sand dune in Morocco at one thousand feet. Another was the interaction with the local Berber nomads along the way. The trekkers were supported by camels that carried water through the desert.

During the trip, letters written to the group by survivors of domestic violence were read aloud to the trekkers. Ironically, said Fenton, the trek took place in a country in which women have considerably less rights then men, and in which domestic violence is a significant issue. There are no legal women’s shelters in Morocco, as it is illegal for anyone to come to the help of a married woman.

The Alberni Valley Community Foundation’s 2018 Vital Signs report shows that the sexual assault rate in the Alberni Valley was 115.5 per 100,000 people in 2017—almost double the provincial average. Additionally, in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the ACAWS Transition House provided 1,737 nights of bed stays for women and children at risk of or fleeing domestic violence.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Fenton Team’s Chris Fenton treks across the Sahara Desert in support of Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS). (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Just Posted

Agricultural Land Commission letter could halt operations at McLean Mill

National historic site near Port Alberni set to host a number of events if COVID-19 doesn’t interrupt

Mural planned for entrance to Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay

Arrowsmith Rotary project falls under the theme ‘building relationships’

City of Port Alberni to review 2020 budget in response to COVID-19

Deadline for final budget adoption is May 15

Alberni school district takes a week off to plan for online education

All buildings and playgrounds in School District 70 closed to the public

Vancouver Island farmers demand on-site slaughter

COVID-19 pandemic puts supply chains at risk, says group

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Most Read