UPDATED April 17, 2020

BY Guest Author

IN Company


UPDATED April 17, 2020

BY Guest Author

IN Company


Tour d’Afrique: Sudan, The Kindness of Strangers


We are unable to run any cycle tours at the moment, but we know our community has lots of great stories to share. We will be posting many of these in the coming weeks as part of our #tdacommunitynews initiative. Keep an eye out for blogs like this below by guest writer and former Tour d’Afrique participant Alice Morrison. You will also be seeing lots of photos, videos and discussions on our social media channels. Enjoy…

Tour d’Afrique was an experience which changed my life. It set me on the path to being and making my living as an Adventurer and Explorer and it gave me my first book, Dodging Elephants. The joy of cycling a continent is still with me, nine years on. I sometimes get flashbacks to the wide skies, leaving at dawn, the baobab trees, or climbing up through the mist to crest a mountain. However, it is the encounters with the people that remain the most vivid. First and foremost, my TDA family. They will always have a warm space in my heart. The camaraderie and kindness and plain fun all light me up when I remember them. Then, it was meeting with the people of Africa along the way.

People always ask, ‘Which was your favourite country?’ and one of the answers to that question is, Sudan, because there, where the people had so little, they gave us so much.

My favourite story about the Sudan, didn’t actually happen to me, it happened to our oldest competitor, Bob. Bob is a real English gent, even though he has spent half a lifetime in Australia and claims Ozzie nationality. He was in his late sixties at the time of the Tour and really wiry and fit. He was always charming and a pleasure to be around although like all of us he had his foibles. His particular foible was a penchant for public nudity. I am still scarred by the memory of flinging open my tent flap one evening in Kenya to be confronted by Bob full frontal bathing in a very small bucket of water.

But back to the story. It was one of the really, really hot days in the Sudan when the temperature went over 50 degrees. Not surprisingly, there was no water for washing or cooling down in as we had to save all the supplies for drinking and after 150 kms in the saddle in those temperatures you were desperate to get some water on your skin. We were roughly following the Nile at this stage but were not close enough to go in it.

On this particular day, just at the end of the ride, there was a small, muddy canal. Bob had spotted this, and when he got there, chucked his bike onto the bank, pulled off his biking shoes and went straight in. Imagine the pleasure. Bob loved it, he wallowed like a water buffalo and brought his temperature down to, if not cool, at least tepid. Then after half an hour, he got up to go on to the camp a couple of kilometres away, but he had to climb up the muddy bank to get there.

All this time, a man had been watching him, and when he came up out of the canal, in sign language he beckoned to Bob to go to his house which was a bit further along. Bob picked up his shoes and went with him. The man spoke no English, and Bob no Arabic, so Bob wondered what was in store for him. When they got to his house, the man sat Bob down, brought a basin of clean water and washed and dried his feet. He hadn’t wanted him to put his shoes on while they were muddy. For me, this sums up everything that is good about humanity and great about the experience of TDA.

If you’d like to read more of Alice’s TDA stories, her book, Dodging Elephants is on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. You can also check out her website or her podcast, Alice in Wanderland.

2 Comments for "Tour d’Afrique: Sudan, The Kindness of Strangers"

The one thing that was a constant on my 2018 Tour d’ Afrique was that if I stopped for whatever reason, I had motorists and truckers stop to see if I was OK.

People always ask, ‘Which was your favourite country?’ and one of the answers to that question is, Sudan, because there, where the people had so little, they gave us so much.
thank you so much Alice Merrson
. will not forget this words .
as iam incharhge of tourosm department in Sinnar state-Sudan .i arranged TDA passing tour to the next country Ethiopia ..they spent two nights in my state . as formal i have to fassiltate their movement inside my state ..what i have to do is to chosse them place to spent night and to help them to to take much watwr with themand to pass saftey.
to show them our culture in hosting gusets and help them ,i only inform the people in villages that you will have to welcome some strangers whom wil spent night near you village ..so the people come with little things that they have ..food . beverages ..beds and so on .
we give them food and bevardge free
this is sudanese culture
thank you Dear Alice Merrison
thank you TDA for posting about Sudan culture

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