An End to a Beginning.

How the End Begun

Although I have never finished my story, there is an end to every beginning.  One such end came many moons ago, when a middle class Yankee well in his retirement fell in love with Scorpion 1. He wanted to travel through African and Europe.

But first, there are many kinds of truth.  One of these for me is Scorpion's great friendship, mistress and companion.  In the many glorious days we spent together, I had put about 45,000km on her. She was a work horse that had simply served her master beyond reproach. Before our relationship, I had shopped around, and eventually settled on a Wee Strom DL 650. That was many years ago.  In those days, it was simply the best thing I had ever possessed.  We had a relationship: it was time to let go.  It was the most agonizing decision. I could not stop the tears.  We all do when our relationships are threatened.  Some cynics might cry out, but she was just a machine.  True, this one is not in dispute, but what about the stories we …

Dar es Salaam the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

I rolled into Dar es Salaam late mid-afternoon after an absence of six years.  It was crowded with people and vehicles, obviously showing signs of growth as all cities do.   Reminiscing the good old days in Dar es Salaam filled me with a pleasureable feeling.  It was a metropolitan of many fine memories that I knew quite well, and had come to love.  My favourite weekend places were on the beaches outside the hustle and bustle of city life.   So I was coming to a familiar city and familiar people.  I sojourned with the Setebe family.  Traffic in Dar es Salaam
One fine bright and sunny day, two days after I had settled in with my hosts, I went sight-seeing into the city.  One thing that immediately struck me was the stacks and stacks of Coca-Cola crates just round the corner.  In South Africa, it is one of the most affordable drink loved by many.  I personally have not had a drop in thirty-five years of my few years of life.  That is one drink, a friend once remarked, you will find on th…

Thank you to Ma Tuliza, Enroute to Dar es Salaam

In Arusha, the area beyond Njiro Korona is dry and dusty especially during the dry season.  It looks wasted because the land was once cleared to provide forsisal plantations.  The prominent geographical feature of the landscape is Mount Meru, a product of a violent volcanic eruption in the past that also tore deep gorges in the terrain.  This unique beautiful landscape is where I spent four days with Ma Tuliza’s family at Njiro Korona.  On the 10th of January, with hugs and tears, I bid them farewell and headed for Dar es Salaam, a journey of approximately 651km.   Farewell to Ma Tuliza
Arusha-Moshi Highway is congested with traffic during the morning hours.  So I took it easy.  As I quickly covered the distance to Moshi, I had hoped to see Mount Kilimanjaro imposing majesty; unfortunately, it was cloudy so that the horizon was one dreary seamless skyline.  I stopped at Moshi to refuel and to lubricate the chain which by now had developed a ‘clinging’ sound.  I paid attention to the c…

Memories of Arusha

Arusha city is roughly a 100km from Namanga border post.  It is the capital city of this region of Tanzania and is populated mostly by Wa-Meru and the Masai nomads.  Seen from the west, Mount Meru which forms the crest of the city sits behind the city with outward flanks that stretch as if they were embracing the city.  From a geopolitical stance, Arusha is a tourist and a diplomatic hub, as well as the de facto capital of the East African Community.
Well, I had driven down the Nairobi-Arusha road myriad of times from 1995 when I first moved to live in Arusha.  The stretch that particularly fascinated me was the Namanga-Arusha road.  It is mostly a barren road with vast open plains adorned with stunning round hills that are green during the rainy season and turn light brown during the dry season.  Furthermore it is also decked by occasional acacia trees and the appearance of a zebra or some other game in the distance.  
Travelling down this road always reminded me of the sublime beaut…

Memories of Arusha

I had covered the distance between Bungoma and Nairobi (350km) in about 5 hours.   I went to Hekima College where I met my host Fr. Leander Kabutta, SJ.  He was missioned as a financial administrator of the retirement home for old and infirmed Jesuits situated in a Suburb of Nairobi.  Fr. Kabutta and I were friends at a college of Philosophy in Zimbabwe, but we had known each other way back in 1995, so I was in good hands.  I met many old Jesuits I knew who were now retired.  Leander and I spent many hours reminiscing the old good days late into the night.  This late hour did not bother me since my itinerary for the day was as far as Arusha, a distance of 269.6 km only. Signpost designating Namanga border post ahead
The next day, which was the 4th of January, I departed soon after I had something to eat.  As it were, Nairobi is a huge metropolitan and a visitor can find rather overpowering.  In spite of this, I snaked my way through the early morning traffic to Mombasa Road (A109).  Tha…

Enroute to Nairobi

It is seven O’clock in the morning; the air is crisp and moist in Bungoma.  It had rained during the night, and having fallen into a deep slumber, I had known nothing of it.  What an unholy way to sleep!  It had surprised me that if someone had stolen Scorpion, I would have woken up to a grave crisis.  And moreover, the unimaginable might have happened.  Needless to say, I was so tired that when I hit the sack, I had simply passed out.  But, the good news was that I was so refreshed and in a great spirits, which was good for riding.   I had a long day ahead of me. Ready to Go
Scorpion was laden, refuelled and ready to go.  I decided as it had become my custom to find Simone who was the night duty attendant at the petrol station to bid him farewell.  We exchanged email addresses.  I also begged him to accept a token of appreciation from me, which he did reluctantly.  He said he would keep me in prayers.   With the last farewells, I departed. 
This was going to be a hard ride, but I gentl…

Family Reunion

A family reunion is always an exciting affair as the comedy Madea’s Family Reunion has shown.  In our case, among other things, it was even more thrilling since a member of the family had arrived on a massive dual purpose bike never seen in this part of the world.  For most of my village folks who have never travel more than 100kms away from home in their lifetime, it was hard to work out that I had travelled 5500kms from South Africa on a bike.  This state of affair was understandable given that none one was willing to believe that a bike was capable of travelling such great distances.  This belief was compounded by the Indian made Bajajs they ride, which is not only air cooled, but is of such low power that it was obvious a trip on a bike was not possible.  This said the commonest mode of transport is the bicycle; it is a way of life.  Bicycles used for Common Transport In Africa
To return to the main story of family reunion, it was the first time we had gathered as a clan.  Natura…