On my first trip to Zambia, I stopped in Lusaka for a few days. Found a really central campsite, in the heart of the capital city, nice grass while still in town.
While I was there, there was a group with bikes (cycling…) and a van. We got to chat and when they left, I followed them for a day or two… At least, that was the idea… But I enjoyed so much the trip with them that I keep staying for another day, and another, and another… Until the border. There, I was leaving, continuing to explore Zambia… But no! I ended up crossing to Tanzania with them, all the way to Kilimanjaro!
This is how it has been sometimes: meet people and spend time together, share part of the journey…
I started with those guys because I liked their project; I stayed with them because I liked the project and the people 🙂 It was a different and amazing travel.
Oh… Sorry… Now for the details of the group and the trip 🙂 I will talk about the project in details separately.
The group happened to be French, from Normandy. They are supporting a project from a NPO based in Normandy, called “Les amis du monde”. The project “For Africa” took them from Windhoek (Namibia) to Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), via Zambia. I met them about halfway through, with their local support, Maxwell (Max) Masempela and Shadrick Luyanga.
Meet the team, all doing well when we arrived in Moshi: (back) Lionel, Alain, Alex, Kevin, Shadrick, Damien, Max, Aymeric, (front) Alexis, Franck, Fred and Claire.
My main (and possibly only) contribution was to act as the following car, similar to those driving behind the cyclists during the Tour de France. Main purpose here though was to protect the team from cars and trucks getting too close on the open roads. It is actually very difficult to follow cyclists… Not so much because of the speed (I dont go as fast as most cars anyway) but more because you have to keep a small distance only from the last one, and you have to anticipate speed variations. But I managed not to run over any of them 🙂
We could also sometimes drive in front of them so that Alexis and/or Claire could take shots, from the road, the bonnet or the roof…
The trip was a great human experience, with a great team, and we met many people along the way, sleeping on school grounds (or in classrooms), churches, villages, dry river bed or in the bush. The team cycling along with locals, people encouraging them (including most truck drivers!), kids helping with gathering wood and lighting the fire… In hot weather,under heavy rain, or just chilly days, they cycled over 5’000 km through Namibia, Zambia and Tanzania. They also had to help push start Maya a few times when the battery was dead… Thankfully, there was also time to relax and enjoy some of the natural beauty of Africa, such as the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara pink flamingos or the Kapishya Hot Springs…
A few words on the project: the trip was undertaken to introduce a wood cooker that is more efficient than the traditional 3-stone fire. This cooker reduces the amount of wood and time needed to cook and therefore helps reducing the environmental impact of wood cutting, and reduce the burden of wood fetching and cooking time.
During the trip, the team only used the cooker for their own meals, but also delivered a message on preserving the environment and using the resources wisely and demonstrate the use of the cooker with preparation of breakfast or meal depending of where we were.
So, because of all this wonderful human experience, because of the team and because of the project, from following them for 1 day, I travelled 2’660 km for 15 days with them… Leaving them at the feet of Mont Kilimanjaro that they climbed to illustrate the need to protect our environment in everything we do… Because deforestation does have an impact and Mont Kilimanjaro is also suffering from global warming.