Monday, January 4, 2010

Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.


The journey was long and slow with several stops for prayers as the travellers was Muslims as well as eating and pee. I had to join 5 times prayer a day, use the little water we fetch on the oases to wash or merely weep different part of body including heard, hands, bu***ock and feet. Washing and prayer's postures sound like yoga. In calmness just interrupted by wind only,tried to follow the prayer words just much with my fellows but the young man, my guide, told me it wasn’t wise to say anything since I didn’t understand Arabic. For this reason and that one I do not speak the language of the people I'm with wasn't make me feel good so I start to learn few words day by day. I enjoyed my new experience, prayer made me felt safe in the middle of these strong believer folks, they are strangers but with their sense of humour, kind and welcome nevertheless I could think negative.

Travel day and night, in the full moon and thousands stars but chill cold nights and the hot with bright sun days; we stopped in several villages, absolutely in the middle of know where, once I wonder What if these people decide to sacrifice me? "I'll run in this desert" answered myself. I wish I had their location cods (Latitude and Longitude) so I could such in the goggle map today perhaps I can, we all the satellite maps, why not? In other village found in the total sand plains with few Balanite and Acacia trees, we found villagers living in the tents, my interpreter told me they were nomad peoples. Together we visit some tents which he knew, here is when I was shocked with their kindly character, saved with woman who had to knell down to welcome us or great, we were forced to eat and drink. I wonder myself, these people living in the middle of no where they should conserve what they have got but ironically they seemed not to care for that, this desert teach them the lesson which I haven't yet to lent. Such experience remind to the peoples living in the place of abundant but with over greed and find more rather than use what they have. I was and still fond of that community with their amazing customs and understand of the state of material. I asked my friend if I can live with them. He passed this question to an old man who invited us black coffee with sweet stuff like resins. The old man replayed “sure, I will marry him my daughter and offer them two camels to help them start life”. Till today I am still thinking about the offer, perhaps I have to work hard to fill my blank space then return to live such unique life in that world.

What seemed like end less journey continue through semi-desert areas. In the bright blue sky there were what I thought to be falcons or other rapturous souring for entire day. Late I found out some were migratory birds flying higher probably to escape hot backed surface. In occasion we met solders but non bother with each, neither caravan no solders. I almost forget day and dates even time which wasn’t existed to my fellows, they can look on the sky and know it was time to pray. It was among of the time I was ever free from modern world of unnecessary time which often is source of frustrations.

There was no need to ask where I was as I though it maybe kind of nonsense question to my fellow so I maintain same pace just calm and do what needed on the time which was, be calm!.In the remote southern part of Ethiopia we met different peoples of different culture described by their dress code, houses, ornaments,etcetera. It could be rude to ask my fellows who were these peoples? as it is common in tourist areas. My followers seemed to understand things basically or in the way that I couldn’t grasp. Among of the people I saw in southern Ethiopia were woman who wear plate like in their lower lips. Other were both sex wear sticks in their noise. Most of the peoples I found were unusual even for general looking. I promise to go back there for much discovery.

After what was cycling turned to came ride, we arrived in northern Kenya at Lake Turukana basin.

Uganda, the African pearls

In the late evening I arrived at Mirama Township in Uganda exhausted and thirst of sugary cold drink. I stopped at the small shop and ask for cake. The young girl possible 20yrs offered me cold drinks while she knells down as she said “bienven”, welcome; she though I was Rwandan. She told me I was look like Rwandan, I told her that is true I am African yet a human being, and nothing can differentiate. Perhaps the comment was too strong as she look confused but for such tired cyclist no more questions were welcomed. Where I parked my bike small crowed start to form,wonder after touring bike, just weigh it by eyes, How far is it from?, and so on, thanks it give them something to talk about. The girl in the shop refused my coke payment, said she was pleased to by me that drink and she will not mind if I would like to add the offer which I accept without think. I asked her if she have idea where can I find camping. She said there was no established one but she can talk with her parents to offer me an accommodation. I pitch my tent in they compound and shared dinner and breakfast them. The family was so kind to me, they convinced me to stay with them for one more night. I turned the offer down for the excuse that I’m under tight schedule. I kept on cycling though this lush green country after three days of constant challenge cycling I arrived Kampala city. I crossed the equator point which found 3420m, about 12 thousands to southern hemisphere like wise to northern.

I had two day rest in the crowded and busy city of Kampala. On my way to Makerere Univasity to met a friend, I board popular Kampala transport motor cycle famous as “Boda Boda” we had to change road because of the protests that burnt fuel track with Indian man inside of it. In the city central there was cold demonstration due to the government order to stop the Kabaka II, the king of the Buganda kingdom which has its central in Kampala and cover from Jinja, Kampala and Entebe. In the eighteenth century the ingdom of Baganda become the most powerful in the region. The Baganda people demand government to give back their power, they just refusing to be under Republic government. In the street there was wall words said “LETS STOP POLITIKING AND BUILD UGANDA.”

I left Kampala cycled to Jinja passed through busy road. I stopped at Mabira rain forest for the lunch, the part of equatorial rain forest. In the late evening I crossed the bridge which went through Owen Falls Dam in the Nile River. I overnight at Adrift base camp in the bank of Might Nile. In this base there are different adventure activities including water rafting and bungee jump with slogan “Touch The Source of Nile”. It cost about $65 but I asked if I could do it naked it free.
In this very town it is where 19th century explores claim to be source of River Nile stat it journey of 3000kms to Mediterranean Ocean. I left Jinja the adventure town of Uganda, cycled to the Mbale, the closest town to Elgon Mountains. In the next day cycled towards northern Uganda passed through sugarcan and cotton farms. It was long board cycling, I hitch hike the track in the evening and arrived at Katgum town in the next morning. Here I met Karamoja people, the people who are among Nilohatic. They are still practicing their ordinary way of living just like Maasai of Tanzania. As we was chart with drive he gave me more adventure plan since I had no enough money to buy visa for Sudan and Ethiopia. The drive offered to drive me up to somewhere I can meet merchant travelers. These merchant who are much closed related with Bedui they conduct their business between North Uganda, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and North Kenya. I joined the camel travelers as it was the option to pass through southern Sudan and Ethiopia. There I met the caravan on last day preparation fortunately I found a young boy about 23 years old who could speak. I told him my plan to travel with them in the replay he said he can’t make any decision so he had to take me to his senior. There I met a shining black man with tabernacle which cover his hear and leave only face with large pure white eyes which can shine in the dark. By looking I thought this ever calm man to met will turn me down but I was courage enough which impressed him. This chief navigator of the long camel caravan told me how he started to travel since he was you just close to my age but he used camel. I dismantle my bile and every thing parked on the camel. The journey started on the evening when the hot was decreasing let the cold to take place. I had brief train before given my own camel carried my stuff and of cargo. The young men lend me a tabernacle with long white robe so non cold differentiate me from the rest. The first reason to travel in this caravan was to skip pay any visa for two boundary less country. These merchant they have been known for long time, they do not use boarder post to ext or enter any county.