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Kentz Cairo to Capetown
Cycle Challenge

Cycling From Cairo To Capetown: Zambia

Friday April 4th : Zambia

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The Zambian People

Africans killing a goat A beautiful country. The people are amazing, generous and kind. The best thing ? they don't ask you for money. In both Malawi and Ethiopia everyone steals from you or asks you for money. I think it might be a side effect of all the aid they receive (Ethiopia & Malawi receive the most amount of Aid in Africa) They are quite spoilt for third world countries.

Malawi and Ethiopia receive the most funding in Africa from foreign aid and so they now see us as cycling dollar bills. It makes it difficult to like and respect people who always ask you for money. As I cycled through Ethiopia & Malawi I saw lots of abandoned projects, where for example a bank provides a lump sum for a project. Once it finishes so too does the project, the problem is sustaining development not initiating it and thinking people will automatically keep it going.

Desert roads Namibia AfricaThe days of cycling are pretty tough and I haven't eaten in 5 days, apart from 1 Snickers bar- thank you Diana. I was vomiting everything I ate for the first 2 days and for the last 3 days I can't bring myself to eat anything. I get nausea every time I look at food. I have never felt like this before, in fact sometimes I feel aroused looking at food but whatever is in my system I can't bear the thought of food.

One thing I have a lot of time of is the Zambian shops with religous names- see photo and other classics like "The bank of God is Brilliant". Another bright note to distract me from my subliminal hunger strike is the double decker bicycle my friend Benny Zenga made - see photo.

Zambian Markets in Africa The cycling is not too bad. Lots of rolling hills but good roads. The only problem is the distances - the longest day was a whopping 195kms long which fell on the height of my sickness. My weakest point to date was that very morning when a local drunk was trying to fight me in a village at 11am and I didn't have the strength to stop him touching my leg (I think he was trying to fight me !)

The cycling is not physically difficult on the body. However my pace has dropped a lot. This has knock on effects like spending longer on the saddle. Up to 11&1/2 hours one day. This in turn makes makes my bum pimplier then a teenage pizza addicts face. However time heals all wounds. Time and shammy cream.

Demons begone !As I sleep there are drums in the distance. I get up and go down to a local village. There are people dancing, drinking and singing in chants. A local woman has been possessed and the villagers are trying to lure the spirits out with their music. Pretty fascinating really but as I am kinda sick I pass on it.

The incident with the piglet It was 6pm, I had been cycling since 7am. There are always animals on the roads in Africa but they are not pugnacious in temper. They are docile and may at worse wave their tail. That is except for the piglets. I saw a few through the day roaming around the roads. This one piglet no bigger then a Jack Russell dog, was in the middle of the road. I saw him maybe 100 meters away. As I approached he didn't move. I had a lot of speed up and didn't want to break my motion so I decided to go behind him. He backed up this was going to be a collision. At the last second I decided to change direction and go in front of him. He bolted right into my bike.

cycling in Zambia All I remember is hearing a deafening SQUEAL ! Got him right in the ribs. I went flying over the bars and grazed myself up pretty bad on the ground bounced a few times. My bicycle helmet definitely saved my bacon. My bicycle derailer hanger bent out of shape and my front brakes were broken.

As for the pig ? I never saw him again. A crowd of villagers gathered around me to make sure I was ok and they sent out some kids to find the swine. After treating my cuts and grazes I got back up on the bike and pedaled on even though it was tricky as my bike was also battered. I will know better in future - I'll bunny-hop the next piglet.

African tribes women The following morning I was stung by a bee. No shit my first ever bee sting. I was running late and felt a throbbing where my jaw joins my ear. I heard a sizzling noise but thought nothing of it as I was in the middle of a big hill. It was like a tingling sensation. I pulled over took off my helmet- the bee had got between my it and my head.

I threw him away and tried to pull the sting out. Didn't work. Just went a little further in. This required a mirror or dainty Zambian hands. I cycled on and luckily came across a group of farmers. I pulled over my bicycle. Just as I was about to speak I remembered I didn't know what language they speak here. I paused confused- I thought in Arabic, no Swahili I paused. They walked past me. I shouted at them pointing at my ear- they kept walking. I turned around and cycled towards them (Cairo bound) I made that silly "bzzz" noise that everyone else does (when they don't know the word for a bee) and pointed at my now swollen ear.

They started laughing. I decided this was enough and cycled on 36kms to the next town where a miserly old market lady did me the honours of removing the bee sting. She then said that buying 1/4 of her stock was part of our "removal" agreement. I cycled off with her lightly jogging behind me saying "money for dreads."

Benny Zenga filming in Africa
for the movie 'Where are you go'

Benny Zenga Filming in AfricaJesus Wept I pulled into a coca cola stop on the way to the capital of Lousaka. I began talking with the girl called Jane there and she began to ask about my journey. I told her what I was doing and she was really interested.

There was another customer there who screamed "Jesus wept" at the task ahead of me. He then informed me that it is the shortest passage in the bible. This is valuable info for me as this is one of my dad's fondest statements in times of despair. Perhaps he is only quoting. Jane asked if I was doing this for myself or for a cause and I told her I was doing it for an aids charity in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Immediately her ears pricked up and she began to ask questions all about it. The work, how things are run, how people are kept interactive in communities, the counseling provided. We were having a real nice conversation and I would be lying if I said she was not very beautiful. In fact she was an amazing looking woman and working in a really nice shop.

The locals in Ethopia block the road

Kids in Ethopia block the road I asked her if she knew anyone with aids and she discreetly replied "yes". I asked who it was, she whispered "I have aids". There was a silence for the longest time and I knew I had to fill it. Maybe it was only a second but facial reactions are a language onto themselves and that time follows no rules. "Jesus wept" I heard from my religious fellow customer. Then he asked some business related question and the conversation followed a new direction.

I spoke with her about how she copes and what has changed for her and her family. Who are the people who help. It was a really positive message and it's always an eye opener. Just because you are not dealing with aids everyday because you are consumed with camping, water, food, drink, fevers and exhaustion. It's always there. There's no large neon signs, so you may not know it but it can be right in front of you. This was a nice reminder of a bad situation and how people work through it with a good attitude.

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