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The Adventure: day-to-day

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Journal: Day 50 - November 19

Every day an interesting day. We just made it all the way from Isiolo to Kiambu, 20 kilometers North of Nairobi. Where did today start? Oh yes, we woke up at Pawel his place and met all the children he is helping out on their future. Morning glory songs from the kids and explanations from Pawel. Check out his facebook profile. After checking out a possible new location for the Fursa Children Centre we found ourselves back on the road in the direction of Nanyuki. Until there we had a ride from the... British Royal Army. A convoy on the way to their base, Ticks from Fiji Islands was so kind to give us a ride. We weren't there yet. An American missionary, a taxi driver, a businessman from Nairobi and a VIP-driver from the Kiambu region who would take us to Kiambu and took his family out too. What a day, what a day.

Waiting and readingThanks mateMike the Missionary

Journal: Day 49 - November 18

Being in Marsabit doesn't mean you are finished with the unsolved road yet. Chris his interview for RNW (click here) explains that there will be a new road in a few years from now. Until that time we will have crawl through mud, on stones and more. After the bumpy Land Cruiser we thought it would be good to buy ourselves some space in a mature truck. The Mercedes Benzes of Abuyusuf & Sons from Mombasa were on the way to Nairobi. For about 350 Khsh they let us on and we spent 15 hours on about 200 kilometers. Slowest ride of the year, by far. We hopped off in Isiolo, where we just had sausages and beer with Pawel Huk, a kind guy who is running an orphanage in town. He hitchhiked all the way from London to Kampala, found the orphanage on the way, promised to be back and back he was. Thank you for hosting Pawel! Dzienkuje!

Pawel Huk

Journal: Day 48 - November 17

Moyale is a little muddy, exactly as we had been told before. Moyale is muddy, but the road from Moyale to other muddy towns is even more muddy. Apart from some Land Cruisers, a hand full of trucks and one bus there is not much traffic to be seen here. It takes us a while to find Efkay, the broker that is mentioned in Lonely Planet? Broker, you ask? Yes, there is an economy you have to deal with when you want to travel South. After two hours of doing business and two hours of waiting we find ourselves in a Land Cruiser with Kenya Power stickers on it. A creative way of making mone for the state company employees. About driving for six hours on mud and rocks we arrive in Marsabit. The bumpiest ride ever.


Journal: Day 47 - November 16

There aren't that many kilometers left to Moyale, but still we needed some time to get us going. The road engineers gave us a ride to the next town; Mega. In fact Mega is not that Mega. We met a few interesting people who are working in the coffee industry, especially interesting when you come to think about the fact that we will spend some energy on this topic in Kenya. We will talk about that later. First Moyale. One more Isuzu, one more mini-truck. With 100 kph we make our way to the border, but at a checkpoint before Moyale we have to take a break. Then Patrick shows up, a guy who already tried to help us in Mega. He says we can come for free on the bus. As we got to Moyale, he invited us home and served us tea. He is allowed to cross the border without too much identification. We meet up with the others and seek a warm place in the Kenyan side of Moyale. A Tusker beer to finish the day and we start our muddy adventure in the local pub. "So, you want a ride with a truck to Marsabit? You want to go third, second, first or business class?" - This will be hard to hitchhike....


Journal: Day 46 - November 15

Will we reach Moyale today? We depart in the early morning so we can make good progress, but soon after we already realized that we would not make it before sunset. Nevertheless we had a great day with many different rides. A German professor who shares our thoughts on NGOs, their salaries, their Toyota Land Cruisers. Interesting. Now we are staying in a compound which is inhabited by road engineers. "If you tell my boss that you were stuck on the side of the road, he will let you stay on the compound for sure", said the engineer who gave us a ride. In fact the manager of the team gave us a room, diner and breakfast for tomorrow morning. What a gesture! The other side of the compound belongs to the Chinese colleagues. We are in the middle of a serious African topic and Chris already had an interview.

Interview with help of Chinese computer

Journal: Day 45 - November 14

Today we want to try to hitchhike straight to the Ethiopian-Kenyan border to gain ourselves sometime for the fight with the mud roads in Northern-Kenya. Moyala is the destination and nobody else than Mak is helping us again. He is giving us a ride to Hawassa. We lose our intention to reach Moyale because Mak is giving us a great treat again. We get to meet his aunt, see the house where he lived with his mother who is from Eritrean descent and we have a look in Shashemene. There we see rastafaris who are selling their lifestyle for money. Not quite what we had expected. Anyway, we reach Hawassa and there we stay with Ararso who is running a local NGO on education. It seems that many people are working on the governmental goals.

Looking around

Journal: Day 43/44 - November 12/13

In contrast with the project we visited in Debre Tabor, the FSCE project is active in an urban setting. We get to add a few long works to our internal Wikipedia. Community-Based Multi-Stakeholder Child Labour Free Zone. It is as good as the word suggests. Although we sometimes have our doubts about the entire system, the more we get to see, the more we see how organised the CBMSCLFZ is. We talk to teachers, we talk to girl clubs and we see that in fact something is working. Delightful. Of course there are always topics that could be handled differently, but in general Nazret is doing a good job. Neda sang with the girls of the club, Chris made a nice reportage and Sierd was teaching the children who are part of the project.


Journal: Day 42 - November 11

Today we definitely did not drink beer in the morning. We had enough for a while. Sometimes Chris and I are jealous about the fact that Neda is not a drinker. She spent the days with Meq his family. On this Sunday it is the beautiful person called Meq that is helping us to get a move on to Adama, better known as Nazret. He drives us 20 kilometers out of town where he instructs a friend of his to stop cars for us. We are amazed. Now we are staying at a hotel that is recommended by a the guy who gave us a ride because of that instruction. We love the chain effect. Tomorrow we will get to know more about who Hivos and Kinderpostzegels are supporting in the fight against child labour.


Journal: Day 41 - November 10

Allright, we had beer for breakfast, qat for lunch and beer for diner. In the weekend it is all about having a good time in Addis Ababa. Every 50 meters you will see a Harar or St George pub. A pub means a lot of beer. Ethiopians know how to enjoy. We are dead now. Let us talk about more serious topics tomorrow.

Lot's of beer

Journal: Day 40 - November 9

Waking up in Addis Ababa, the capital of Africa, since the African Union installed offices there. Quite a city. At first glance it is hard to find our way, since we simply don't understand the system of public transport. A lot of small buses that go in many directions. But luckily it seemed that we did not have to figure it out. We met the friends of our Demeke. They showed us where to go and Meq would take us anywhere. Tarik, another friend, took me to the school where he is working as a principle. He had not that much to say about NGO-schools. "I have been working in education for the past 15 years. You tell me what they do, because I haven't heard much good about them." Interesting. Not much later we were drinking gin at his girlfriend her home. We talked about the similarities and differences between Europe and Africa and before we realized it was already 4AM. "Tomorrow morning we will drink beer for breakfast." - Yeah, right.

Meq my Man

Journal: Day 39 - November 8

Addis was calling today and we made it. We nearly overslept but Hatamu wasn't that awake either at 6. Half an hour later we were back on the road and the Derba Transport trucks made showed us the Blue Nile at its best, in a canyon not far from the capital. And oh yes, we saw our first baboons. After trying a little qat, Hatamu leaves us in Chanchu, 20 kilometers from Addis. We talked about child labour a few times. He thinks the situation has improved since the government has introduced a law that makes sure that every child has to follow education. Still we see children working on the side of the road. Will it help? Most children work alongside their families. Food first? Anyway, in Chanchu we got a fast ride to Addis. Here we caught up with Chris. His stomach is doing a little better. We can forget about malaria.

Child Labour or not

Journal: Day 38 - November 7

Christiaan had a bad night, a very bad night. We decided to get him a straight ride to Addis Ababa, and so Neda and I hitchhiked together today. We met a new friend, a very cool friend. From Shashemane, being a rastaman he saw the world through the eyes of Haile Selassie. Nowadays however Hatamu is a truck driver, watches the world through the eyes of Mohammed and is seeing all of the Horn of Africa. He just made sure Neda and I won't have to stay outside for the night. He showed us cheap rooms in a truck stop hotel and we took them. Tomorrow at 6AM we will continue our travels to Chanchu. With who? With qat chewing Hatamu of course. Our friend.


Journal: Day 37 - November 6

Child labour is a huge topic in Ethiopia. Along side the road we see children selling small groceries to make a living for their family. Also there are a lot of children working on farms instead of going to school. An hour of dirt road from Debre Tabor takes us to a Stop Child Labour project that is supported by Wave Children's Aid and Training. We all agree on the fact that schools like these are needed, but we also find a few cheeky details. The man who is driving us to see the site, gets paid twenty times more than the teachers we speak inside the school. The school works perfectly fine, education may be a solution, but then again. Where do the children go after fourth grade? There does not seem to be a follow-up school. We see two schools, we see happy children and we see agriculture in a poor state. May the last fact be the reason children work on the land?
"Addis Ababa? That is a long way from here." Very true. We almost underestimated the journey we were on. Instead of going all the way on malaria dense mountainous roads, we decide to hitchhike to Bahir Dar first. So here we are, in another student city. The city breezes an outgoing vibe and we take a little advantage of that. Our lovely Ethiopian friend Demeke shows us the clubs where he would hang out while doing his internship at a hospital here. We will feel a little dizzy tomorrow, but we have faith that we will make it to Addis, the capital of Africa.


Journal: Day 36 - November 5

"Someone told me that it is very hot in Africa. It's not." This quote passed the revue many times in different ways. Gondar is cold at the moment because the rainvseason added a few extra days to to the calendar. In Gondar we got a small insight in the student night life. Ethiopians like to party, but Ethiopian women also like to offer their body for money. That was a definite no go. Apart from that we noticed that Gondar is famous for the beautiful medieval castles which are to be seen for a small fee. We see the first Lonely Planet tourists since Egypt. We had to get move on, because Debre Tabor was waiting... A 155 kilometers, little traffic, but we made it a few hours after sunset.


Journal: Day 35 - November 4

"You, you, you." It had nothing to do with YouTube. These words came from the mouths of children who we met in the early morning while waiting for a ride to Gondar. Children who want gifts from the farangis - foreigners. A friend of ours already told us about this happening when we were in Khartoum. Now we knew what was coming for us. Child labourers, beggars and a poor countryside. A few hours ago we made it to Gondar, a beautiful Lord of the Ring-ish city in a mountainous area. Let us spend an extra day here.

Little child wants attention

Journal: Day 34 - November 3

It still took us a working day to reach the Ethiopian border. We thought this would go faster, but we were proven wrong. Not too much traffic on the road east. We had a ride with a truck with two dozens of workers on it and then we hopped on a bus without having to pay. Finally we saw the country of Ras Tafari. Not far away from bordertown Metema we stopped to camp on a farm. A few guards with kalashnikovs made sure that we were all safe.

Making sure we're safe

Journal: Day 33 - November 2

"You need to tell my husband that I am beautiful!" Just one of the quotes of a woman we met today while hitchhiking to Al-Quaddarif and Ethiopia. "You have to pick them up, because they probably paid for your car." A subtle explanation from her and her husband giving us a ride. The man of the house works for IFAD, he drives a big 4x4 car. Joking smalltalk. Three rides in the burning sun of East-Sudan. We didn't make it to Ethiopia, but thankfully we found shelter in a hotel. Not even three euros a night per person. No running water, but decent beds. Perfect.

Hitchhiking to Al Qadarif

Journal: Day 32 - November 1

Now and then you meet people who instantly become your family. Saying goodbye to the family Shawgi was hard, very hard. We were overblown by the gifts the family gave us. The warmth and hospitality we had not felt until that moment. Too much said? No, very true. The same day we set up camp 30 kilometres outside Khartoum, in the dirt. Back to reality, back to the road, ready for Ethiopia!

The Goodbye

Journal: Day 31.

Then today truly our last day in Khartoum. Because we are going to stay in another night! What can you do when the authorities don't give you a travel permit just like that? If we have our predictions right, we will leave this country with 10 stamps in our passport. Visa, registrations, permits, entry stamps and many more ink stains that look important. Let us forget about the stamps, because we can enjoy the company of the family Shawgi one more day. What a day and what a new adventure. We were invited by the Dutch Embassy again, this time in Khartoum of course. Talking about Dutch relevant hot topics and drinking... coffee of course. Now we just came back from a relaxing night with the Dutch ambassador. Psst, we had a few beers. Don't tell anyone, because drinking not allowed by law. Mahsalama!

The ShawKi Family

Journal: Day 29.

Saying goodbye to our little apartment. The father of one of our new best friends in Sudan, Nayomi, made a joke about our apartment. "Every house has an airconditioning in Omdurman. You are living in the only apartment without aircon." He invited us back to his house, an offer we could not refuse. It felt like coming home and soon after his children, nephews and we found ourselves in a swimming pool on the other side of the city. Such great hospitality. Here we will stay another morning because we do not yet have the travel permits required.


Journal: Day 28.

We couldn't leave IOM alone just like that. The kind employees of IOM invited us to visit two more people who are in the project. Both of them did good work and you could clearly see that the IOM program paid off. It is all about fighting braindrain and giving future to the talents of the people. However, there are still many people who leave the country to find a better future. The project leader told us passionately that he would not leave Sudan. Soon after that he told us that he too was looking for career opportunities in the Gulf States. How much would you give up for your country?


Journal: Day 27.

Second full day being together again. We had to catch up on each other stories. Christiaan shared Neda and Sierd his first experiences in Sudan and soon after the late-comers found themselves in a bath of Sudanese hospitality. Perfectly acclimitized we found our way to Fadallah, a 25 year old economic migrant who is nowadays in the IOM project. Last summer he tried to find work in Libya the illegal way. After he got arrested by the Libyan authorities IOM found a way of getting him and many others back to Sudan. Now he is back in university to become an accountant.

Journal: Day 26.

After he took part in the Eid celebrations, Christiaan hitchhiked easily to the Sudanese capital city Khartoum. There, Nema and her family hosted him and in the deep night the hitchhikers finally reunited!

Sheep Meat

Journal: Day 25.

While Sierd and Neda are still waiting for their plane in Cairo, Christiaan is hitchhiking solely through the final kilometers of Sudanese desert. Little water, loads of heat and kind people who take him to a goldmine. Unlike Egypt, hitchhiking is very doable in Sudan!

Chris alone

Journal: Day 24.

Christiaan reached vast soil! And started hitchhiking again. The adventure is back on track! Christiaan was brought in the desert village of Abri, by a couple named Ben&Jen, and will probably set up a camp there tonight. Neda and Sierd enjoyed their stay in a hostel in Cairo, and will wait for their plane to leave.

Ben and Jen

Journal: Day 23.

Today, half of the team got on the boat that went down the Nile. When you think of a pretty, romantic picture now, think again. Have a look at the picture here. The other half of the team got onto the train back to Cairo!

A romantic trip boatdown the Nile...

Journal: Day 22.

The visa situation ended in a bizarre way this morning: Christiaan, Roy and cameraman Jerry received their visa, while Neda, Sierd and cameraman Patrick did not... Interesting, but no time to sit & wait. So, what to do? Sierd, Neda and Patrick decided to travel back to Cairo, and then head to Karthoum... by plane! Who could have ever expected that?!

Arranging Sudanese Visa

Journal: Day 21.

Today we had stuff to do! Which was... arranging our visa for Sudan. Apparently, there were other people that also wanted to go to Sudan. Many, many other people. That made the waiting line long, and than at the desk, it was all just a matter of luck. Later today Sierd taught German to a class of eager pupils.

Teaching German

Journal: Day 20.

Laying back in Aswan, the city on the Nile where the light somehow is more beautiful than elsewhere in the world. Beautiful. Here too you can see the impact of the revolution on the tourism sector. It is as if we are one of the last of the Mohicans, and all street vendors try to make a little money out of our presence. People offer us all kinds of souvenirs, and when they realize we are not interested in souvenirs, they try to sell us hash and marihuana. Dropping the word 'haram' works most of the time. In Islamic law this means that something is forbidden.


Journal: Day 19.

Back to school at Language Center Apply Oneself in the Egyptian city Aswan! Couchsurfing host Ahmed is the owner of this Center where seven languages are taught. Next door there will be an early morning English class. We will not attend that one, since we're exhausted, but Sierd might teach some German later this weekend!

Class Sleeping

Journal: Day 18.

This afternoon Neda met Mohamed who invited us to an Islamic wedding and later to his home. Mohamed is in language school and knows Arabic, English, French and German. He wants to work in tourism. From a rooftop swimming pool to a bed under the stars, the magic never stops...

Click here to hear Neda's record of Islamic praying in Luxor!

Click here to see footage of the wedding!


Journal: Day 17.

"Generally spoken hitchhiking in Egypt is explaining at police stations what you are doing", wrote Christiaan earlier today on Twitter. This is true, because today we again had company of dozens of policemen who were given the task to protect us. On the way from El Minya to Luxor we had to explain our story trice and nobody could believe that we are actually hitchhiking. So, again, we had to take a minibus to cover the distance. This won't do harm to our budget, especially if you consider that we are now staying in a three star hotel with a rooftop swimming pool. Thank you Elly de Heus for your kind help, our day could not have ended better! Bedankt!

Hotel Luxor Minibus

Journal: Day 16.

The early train from Cairo to Minya. The train was sold, but for not more than 35 EP (about 4 euros) we managed to arrive at our project just in time to witness an interactive type of theater to support women's rights in the region. Talking about the shape of the projects and the impact in the villages around the city of Minya. For the first time we get an impression of what it can be like behind the doors of Egyptian families. Women's rights in Egypt? It is a difficult story, but there are good people working on it.

Neda Theater

Journal: Day 15.

We hitchhike to get off the beaten track, but sometimes the beaten track is beaten because of its beauty. We do not have to introduce the pyramids of Giza. We rode horses to get a little closer to see this miracle. A good way to say goodbye to the city of Cairo. Tomorrow Minya. Tomorrow back on the road.

Shakira Giza Pyramids

Journal: Day 14.

Free coffee? Of course and why not at the Dutch embassy. The consulary staff was so friendly to hand us a letter of recommendation for their Sudanese colleagues. In the meantime we could discuss life as an expat in Egypt... Later that day we got in touch with Raghda. She introduced us to MasterPeace and we talked a lot about women rights in Egypt. There is a long way to go.

Beatrix Embassy

Journal: Day 13.

Honking cars, a lot of male attention for Neda and even more chaos. Welcome to Cairo. The capital of Egypt is one with a lot of traffic. Today we used to acclimatize to the local culture. We have walked around, found some tea and had some lunch and diner. In between we got ourselves Egyptian sim cards so we can do our share for our beloved followers.

Riot Food Cairo

Journal: Day 12.

The Suez Canal, a few American naval ships sailing through it and a camera team only 300 meters from the shore. It is your perfect melange for some attention from the authorities. And so it happened that we were stuck on the streets, in a check-point and eventually in two police stations to get our story straight. Lots of laughter, even more talk about football, but also a lot of patience.

Police Egyptian Police

Journal: Day 11.

Waking up with a seaview panorama. Mesmerizing. Getting in touch with Turkish truck drivers, Syrian refugees and Bosnian pilgrims. A great way to make your first steps in the Port Said harbour.

PortSaid Friends

Journal: Day 10.

6AM out of bed to get to the ship which would not depart sooner than 6PM. Why was that? Not everybody in the port seemed to be aware of a boat with destination Port Said. But the vessel departed eventually and we soon found ourselves on the beautiful blue Med.

Boat View

Journal: Day 9.

Another morning in public transport. We don't seem to get fed up with that. Turkish buses have great entertainment systems on board and the gastronomic service is air plane alike. In the morning we woke up in with Antakyan caj and baklava. A good start for an impressive day in Reyhali, a bordertown close to Syria. Stay tuned for some footage to get a glimpse of the situation on the Turkish side of the Syrian revolution!

Breakfast Life goes on

Journal: Day 8.

Sometimes it is hard to get up. Today was one of those days which made it hard to withstand the power of blankets. Thus we found ourselves way too late on the Anatolian motorway to Ankara. One ride with Murat, a friendly policeman, made it possible to make it to the last bus to Antakya. A big rip of our budget, but necessary to cover a story on the border with Syria.

Murat Antakya

Journal: Day 7.

And again we woke up in a vertical position. Istanbul greeted us while the sun was not even ready yet to rise. A quiet stroll to Sultanahmet made everything better. Right after the call for morningprayer we took a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul. There we took a long daytime rest at Emre his place. A good host to get us going to Iskenderun!

Turkish Morning Glory Tekken

Journal: Day 6.

Around 7 in the morning we were back on track and we soon found ourselves waiting for cars to the Bulgarian border. A huge bridge between the two countries made sure that we were a little late on the right side. Two rides and hours later we got to Burgas, on the Black Sea coast. There it made most sense to take a bus to Istanbul. The bus was our shelter for the night.

Journal: Day 5.

We hitchhiked all night and day through Romania. We should have reached Bucharest, the Capital of Romania, at 8 P.M. in the evening, but managed to jump on the wrong train for the last part of our journey this day and ended up near the border of.... Moldavia. While we were supposed to travel South. To be continued!

Day five Fifth Night

Journal: Day 4.

Today we met Christiaan's sister, Marion, in Budapest. We managed to find our way out of Budapest around noon and arrived at the near border of Romania, at 3 A.M. at night.

Sister Fountain

Journal: Day 3.

At 4 P.M., we started hitchhiking again. Unfortunately, bad luck was on our side. We could not find a ride, and after spending untill late in the night at a fuelstation, we were forced to stay another night in Budapest.

Waiting Day three

Journal: Day 2.

We got a straight ride to Budapest! We arrived very late in the evening, and made some friends on the streets.

Second Night Second Night

Journal: Day 1.

We left the Vismarkt in Groningen at 10 A.M., and received our first ride in a 'bakfiets'. We hitchhiked until N├╝rnberg (Germany), and set up our camp at the local McDonalds parking lot...

First Ride First Night

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