Monday, November 30, 2015

"you'll be barbacued"

Translation courtesy of Clara Checchi Viú

After having spent Christmas in Livigstone with Father John, I continued the road with a stronger spirit. Cycling with a broken heart is not an easy job, but once I had crossed the legendary Zambezi River, in Kazungula, I could be sure that when I arrived to the zoo, there would be no more room for sorrow. There, in Botswana, where there are more loose wild animals than people around the bush, everything would be about riding the bicycle with the precaution of not altering the beasts, not to die in the attempt of doing so, and reaching safe and sound to the 2015.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Zambia is not to blame

Finally, we arrived to Zambia, where we officially entered the south of Africa. However, together with the arrival to this new country, many strong changes would also arrive; a change that I would never have imagined real, but it became imminent; so strong that by the time I was able to see it, it was already too late to fix it. Zambia would be a beautiful country but a country that would be marked by the suffering of change.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Walk on water

Translation courtesy of Clara Cecchi Viú

Only 35 days had passed since we returned to Africa. What we had been through in the last four countries was so intense that they seemed 350 days. We accumulated more than 2000km of exuberant mountains, crystal-clear blue lakes, african jungle, savanna and bush filled with wild animals. However, by the time we got to Mbeya -a big city in southern Tanzania- and were ready for a well-deserved break, Josefina, Julia's sister who had come to visit us, was ready to go. The reward for having cycled across such rough roads was not only a couple of great bed and food days, but fortunately it was Malawi. This place is one of the most beautiful, quiet and easy-to-ride countries in the whole Africa, and it was a particularly beautiful Malawi now because, having Josefina as a company, we were forced to reduce our pace of cycling-warriors, so that she could keep up with us.

Redifining the Safari

Translation courtesy of María Conztanza Beatí
When we think about Tanzania, first thing that comes to mind are the wild animal poetic pictures walking through the immense Serengueti savannah during the anual migrations, the snowy top of the ever omnipresent Kilimanjaro and the idyllic Zanzíbar beaches, sightseeing touristy places that are located in the east part of this country. But nevertheless, we rarely hear stories from the tanzanian west, where unpopulated places extend hundreds of kilometers, the only ones inhabitants of the bush and the virgin coast of Tanganyka lake, are the wild animals and people from the tribes away from every contact with the masses of tourists. It doesn't matter how beautiful the photos of the east are, some of them photographed ad nauseum, it is this stretch of 1000 km of inhospitable wilderness that extend from the Burundi border to the Malawi border, that captivates me the most and that's where we head to.

Friday, November 20, 2015

If you want money, you ask for it

Translation courtesy of Mica Pecker
Sometimes, massive human tragedies such as genocides need to happen in some countries, which are unimportant (and sometimes completely unknown) for most people in the world, to be recognized in the map of humanity. Such is the case of Rwanda which, after suffering a brutal genocide in 1994, will remain in the memory of history forever. However, in some other cases, no matter how much suffering people have to endure, they don’t have the privilege of being acknowledged by a world that essentially ignores them and does not care. Such is the situation of Rwanda’s neighbour: Burundi. Burundi has had its own genocide, also between Hutus and Tutsis, followed by decades of civil war, hunger and poverty. However, those who have found out are very few. The most frequent question I receive when I pronounce “Burundi” is: “and what is that?” . We enter the forgotten country after leaving Rwanda. 

The land of a thousand ways of suffering

Translation courtesy of Dario Fioravanti

It was the year 1994 and I was 16, when a remote African country virtually unknown to South Americans suddenly echoed in the news. I must say that almost nothing is published about Africa in my country, so I barely remember that moment, but what I do remember is that it was a new tragic story coming from the black continent (after all, bad news is all we hear from Africa). What I did not know until much later in my life was the magnitude of the tragedy that was taking place in Rwanda in those days, which made it unavoidable to get to this tiny country with a picture of deep grief.

Land of volcanoes

Translation courtesy of Carolina Ghiggino

It always surprises me how fast the road can change. After the three days it took me to cross Park Queen Elizabeth through the savannah, followed by the forest along its beautiful loneliness surrounded by animals, we arrived finally to a remote village where the simplicity of the plain road turned suddenly into a hell of slippery slopes. We would start the arduous way to the remote region of Virungas, the mysterious place where Diane Fossey, the famous American zoologist, spent 18 years studying and protecting the gorillas at the mountains.