Farengi to Mzungu
The last few days in Ethiopia felt different somehow. The children seemed to be less aggressive and the stone throwing seemed to be isolated incidents instead of the norm. The vocabulary of the children also started improving. From ‘you, you, you’ to the odd ‘Welcome’ or ‘How are you’ was also a welcome change.
The last two days the people started getting taller and not everyone was carrying a stick. The quality of the roads deteriorated into a patchwork of tar with lots of potholes.
Fortunately the only motorized traffic on the roads seem to be trucks or buses, with very few privately owned vehicles, so we were able to spread ourselves between potholes.
We have seen a lot of rain in the lastweek, and had pouring rain on the rest day at the border, which is when laundry always gets done. So we left Moyale withplenty of wet laundry. The best thing to do with wet laundry seems to be to wear it where the warmth of the body driesit out. We were really worried about thewet roads for both riders and the trucks getting stuck, but fortunately the first three days in Kenya were dry.
The first day was pretty tough on the dirt road, and then proceeded to get pogressively worse with the constant corrugations and volcanic rock and stone. The third day was the toughest, and the riders arrived at Marsabit very ready for a days break.So now we are in Kenya where we are called Mzungus rather than Farengis, and everyone says ‘Jambo’ with huge smiles. Being a former British Colony the people speak good English on the whole, and it is much easier to be understood. The lastthree days have really been isolated, and it’s been good to see some civilization again.
It’s amazing to think that this road we have been riding on is the main road between Kenya andEthiopia. It appears there are politicalreasons for the Kenyan government not to want to develop this road, as then Mombasa will become the main port for Ethiopia with the vast increase intraffic that will go with it, instead of using Djibouti as they currently are. It will be interesting to see how many years it will take before TDA riders will be riding this lava rock road as opposed to tarred pavement.
The rain has started again as we sit here in Marsabit, and we have grave concerns about the road ahead for both cyclists
and especially trucks. Think of us as we head for the muddy mess in the days ahead.