“I plan to join him walking the last kilometer as he raises funds for our hospital”-Edna
The wheels may not be strong but this traveler must keep traveling on
It’s been a while since my last post so I’ll try my very best to let you know how things have been over the past few weeks. Well as you all know both Dave and Falcor could not make it into Sudan, and so I came up with the plan to build a cart that I would pull to carry my supplies. This was done! Thanks to my Egyptian family in Cairo, and good job they did. Although the wheels they got hold of were more or less trolley wheels, and in all honesty not exactly what I was looking for, but hey they went to a lot of trouble and I was willing to give it a try.
After a rather enjoyable ferry journey up the Nile accompanied by some other overland travelers, who made for very good company and was a nice break from speaking slow English and bad Arabic, I was ready to set out on the next stage of my journey. This would take me through the sparse desert terrain of Sudan. It did not take long for my mental and physical endurance to be taken to the next level. As I set off it became quickly apparent that my worries about the cart wheels were not in vain, and I felt every step I took, and every kilo I was carrying, I was experiencing highs of close 40 c, and was crumbling. After a days walk, my hands were cut up, I was exhausted, hungry, and very low on water, as I had seen no sign of a town whatsoever. Also I had planned to walk 50km and I barely made it over 30, I was not happy with my current predicament and put all my hope in the next day getting better… It didn’t. I walked maybe 10km and was completely out of water, and patience for that matter. I am two days into Sudan and I’m struggling. All I can see is sand, stone and long stretches of unforgiving road, ‘Is this possible? Have I been too Naive? Is this beyond me already?’ I managed to flag down some trucks who were able to fill up my water bottles, and in some cases give me a little to eat. I had maybe reached 20km and the day was disappearing from my grasp I fell in a heap in some shade under a rock, and just thought to myself about the road ahead and if I had it in me. I don’t know how long passed, but eventually I scrambled to my feet once more, and resumed dragging myself on. Feeling down heartened and weak, I came round a corner trudging up a hill mumbling to myself in a daze, when I saw two men sat in a hut, and they called me over. We sat and they fed me beans and bread and 2 glasses of warm milk, my smile grew and grew as I ate. ‘What was i thinking?, Of course I can do this!, Who am I doing this for?, Stop being so self contained and pick yourself up! NOW WALK!!!’
Walk I did what was 30km became 50km, and with each passing day there would be more and more people that would offer a helping hand, whether it be tea, or a bite to eat or just some much needed company. All were an essential part in my feet being able to take one step after another. I plowed on, turning my negative energy into fuel that would pump itself around my body giving me strength to walk longer and faster, no matter how hot, or how tired and hungry, it didn’t matter my head was up once more.
I managed 400km in 10 days and made it into the first major town, Dongola. Here my main aim was to find someone to replace the wheels on my cart, and after being passed from one man to another and going round in multiple circles, I secured someone to fix 4 small bicycle wheels instead. I left Dongola more positive than ever, the weight that was relieved from my waste just through having decent wheels fitted, was immense. I had a new cart, and new hope. The honeymoon period did not last long, and cracks started to show in the workmanship. A couple of the wheels were slightly to one side, and this caused the cart to stray over to the left more often than not. I would constantly have to readjust this and it was wearing the tires down at a rapid pace. With my pliers in one hand and a rock in the other I went to work on straightening the problem out, which to my elation worked. Unfortunately the damage was done and after 5 days walking the worst happened… a small pop and tsssssssssssss, the tire was done for. I sat in the middle of Sudanese desert with a popped tire just laughing hysterically (what else do you do?). Now you may be thinking, silly boy why not have spares etc, well my money was very low and would not be replenished till I made it to Khartoum (another 5 days walking). I gathered my thoughts and flagged a truck down, explaining my predicament, he took me a few kilometers on to the next town where they were able to do a patch job on my tire and did not charge me, instead they fed me (now that is a good price).
Once again I was back on my way with the mentality of is that all you’ve got?… It wasn’t. The following day it got a hell of a lot worse, one wheel, two wheel, three wheel fell off. Fine! I put them back on and continued… one wheel would not! It was buggered! in every sense you can think of… FUBAR! This had hurt me more than anything, I was well and truly stuck without this wheel and there was nowhere with the provisions to fix it, as I was well into open desert now. The thought had come over me that I would have take a lift for the remaining 200km to Khartoum. In doing this I felt like a failure, that I had been beaten, that I had not done what I’d set out to do…Walk. How could I take a lift? I sat in a state of general sadness at losing, until plucking up the courage to flag down a truck. He took me to Khartoum feeding me along the way and dropping me off at a shop who fixed all that needed to be fixed.
I’d had some time to think while I sat in the truck, about the trip and having failed in walking that stretch of the journey. Granted it had been a severely unfortunate turn of events, but I hadn’t seen it that way. Then I got thinking to all those that had helped me on along the way, picking me up when I was down and doing what they could to ensure my journey was a successful one. And there in that truck I looked across to the man driving, representing all those wonderful people who hadn’t turned there heads when I asked for help and always had enough food for one more. That was just it! I’d been so self obsessed, thinking I would walk all on my own and show everyone what we are capable of as a single human being. Yes we are capable of many incredible things as one, but as a unit we are capable of so much more. I wasn’t failing! Failing would be to turn my nose up at those offering help. Failing would be to believe I could do this on my own. I’m winning now more than ever. This journey is, and never has been about me. It’s about people coming together, and collectively changing the lives of others like so many have done for me en route, we must as a group pass on this message and help those who truly need it… And that is why this traveler must keep traveling on