As a theatre maker I came up
with a plan for a journey.
A journey of a little girl on a
tractor. A journey to the end of
the world, and back. But what
is the end of the world?
If I was a child, I would say: the South Pole! As an adult
I said: the worst war-country
I can imagine. Both voices,
The one of the child and the one
of the adult, said: We want to go!
Then I thought: All right,
we'll just dó that.
Many people talk about it,
but few actually do.
Fear holds people back,
Held-back people have regrets.
Fear and regret are damaging
to people's lives, are damaging
this world. Governed by fear
and regret, there's no room for
Southpole challenges those fears.
It tries to encourage.
Southpole is about the will to face
the world with an open-minded
attitude. The will to face world's
Southpole does not want to be
afraid. Southpole asks:
What is it you fear?
What is it that makes you happy?
What gives you courage?
As a child I mount a tractor
and head for the South Pole.
As an adult I'll make sure I
make it home safely.
A tropical baptism
Hi guys. You can congratulate me now, I had my tropical baptism. My very first malaria. Cause of death #1 in Africa, unless you can afford medical treatment…
On day one, I was rather glad that I had a fever, suddenly everything made sense. For a week now, my back had been killing me and in the end I couldn’t even sit up straight. Thinking: how am I supposed to drive a tractor like this?
When the joints in my hands were aching I thought: who is going to believe the girl that got RSI from driving a tractor through Africa? But then fever came, shooting up to 40.2 degrees (C).
Currently, it’s day four, I’ve run out of medication, I use antibiotics and paracetamol, but I’m still at 39 degrees. I pretty much am a derilict version of my former self. I could cry about absolutely anything, but I won’t. It’s just lack of physical stamina. Last night: I’m in my bed, like a little girl. Can’t sleep, already slept too much and my body is too uncomfortable. I’m staring at the moonlight illuminating my mosquito net and the walls rising above me. All I see is scary faces where the black shadows are. I’m trying to make it look more friendly, and it works, for an instant. I’d better close my eyes…
That enough for the day. I’m sweating, shivering. Lay down again. Have a good time, whereever you are. I’ll be fine, because I still feel all this love (err, is this a dead man rambling?). Nope, it’s the new chinese medication for malaria, apparently capable of even killing the most resistent strains and derived from natural resources. There are no known side-effects and every African could just grow the tree in the backyard… Very nice, such a natural counterweight to a severe disease like that. Why it’s not available in Europe? The chinese have been using it for thousands of years. No company can patent it, so there’s no profit to be gained. Not interested. But fortunately for Africa, it’s allowed here…
Pfff, I’m raving. Gotta lie down again…
original post: 16-02-07
Daily life in Africa
Kosovo is being really quiet lately, what’s wrong?
Hans, who is a doctor and owner of nine dogs, told me to take Kos’s temperature immediately. 40.3 degrees (C)! I hope he gets well soon, he just had a Amoxicline-pill. Perhaps it’s Tick-fever, maybe Dengefever. It’s very useful, Hans explaining all these things, knowledge you might need in the bush, far from any vet. I don’t want to think about not having my dog. Kos is asleep beside me on the couch.
One night, after four days of impersonating a narcoleptic pudding on the sofa and under the tractor, he spontaneously pops out, running alongside me in the dark. Hopping up my legs.
What energy. “you’re back!” Good. We still have a long way to go…
My journey is growing it’s own feet… I’ve always known it would take a long time and I’ve left some space for changes of plan. Now I realize what it’s to be… There will be added layers to this trip. Not just a rush for the finishing line. I won’t just be following African roads, but also the path to the African soul and its stories.
That takes time, rule number one for (immersion into) African life is: Pole pole (easy, easy). Number two: Hakuna matata (don’t worry). Of course I do worry. Even driving the slowest tractor, I’m still European. Gotta run, gotta go faster, compete! perform! The tractor and the Africans are teaching me a lesson: ‘don’t worry, you don’t need to hurry to get somewhere. all you need is perseverance’. (*sigh)
Laws in Africa:
If you’re rushing to meet a person in the village, and you forget to greet the people you encounter along the way, you may run into a problem when you find the person not at home. Tracing back your steps into the village, inquiering after that person’s whereabouts could very well be useless. A few moments back, you couldn’t be bothered to greet them, now they can’t be bothered to give you their time…
Since I’m really enjoying the simple things in African daily life, they’ll let me join the staff kitchen table in the afternoons.
I’m sitting on the beach, kneading a lump of ugali (cornflower dough) with my left hand, and a plastic orange plate of beans in the right, being in the Africa that i like most. Eating with your hands like a little girl, surrounded by nature, laughing and joking people around you…
I’m really happy to be here. for all kinds of reasons.
original post: 07-02-07
Mwazaro Beach… the African life…
Mangroves in the water, Fish in the sea, Nine Dogs on the beach, Everything and Everybody is puzzled, wondering why Tractor Girl can’t spare them any of her time and attention…
But the Girl is writing. I’m writing, typing, scribbling away and writing as if my life is depending on it… I’m doing at least twelve hours a day and last night I skipped sleep altogether. All this to finish the book, to tell you about all of the special on-the-road adventures. Sometimes I glance away from my laptop screen, but mostly my head is wrapped up in the events of the past year. And, since the world here is so beautiful, the people so nice, I guess you’ll have to enjoy the beauty in my place!
Hehheh, how’s that for a good deal? Let me tell you some bits about this special place…
_Every night, after dinner, I return from the bar (to the right), using the sandy trail along the beach and the little Makuti houses to my own little place and verandah… (beyond the pic frame to the left)_
I am a guest to the most tranquil beach of Southern Kenia. It’s the holy beach of the Digo tribe. Hence, it’s captioned ‘where God makes Holidays..’
Around the bend of the beach stands a giant baobab. It must be hundreds of years old. At first glance, you’ll appreciate immediately why the tribe elders go there to commune with their ancestors. The witch doctors, or Shaman of Africa, contact these ancestors about matters of importance, like which crops to plant in the coming season, like how to deal with lean times.
Hans, the proprietor of this place, knows a lot about this place and it’s stories. He arrived here, a burned-out businessman, thinking he had about 6 months to live. Set out to find a rocking chair, a white beach and a bunch of Hula girls, hoping to spend his last months enjoying a glass of scotch…
None of that really worked out that way. Found his beach, okay.
But the the beach came with a holy place and living here demanded strict approval by the tribe elders. So now he lives and works in close relationship to the native inhabitants. This is the first time on my journey that I meet a European who is merging into African mentality. This place is peaceful, quiet, roaring laughter sounds from the kitchen and rooms.
No longer are the mangrove forests nearby razed, the barren plots are being restored to their former glory by the locals and guests. Keeping beautiful Africa beautiful is often a matter of small gestures. Work together, ask people to plant some seeds after they cut down some wood, so they’ll have something to cut down next year…and it works!
I’d love to go on about Hans and his magic tales of Mwazaro beach. No time, no time!
Though I really need to divulge some gossip about this dog that’s been following me around for over a year. Kosovo has fallen in love! Haha, from our first moment here, this young rottweiler lass, Robbi, has been ogling Kos, alternating that with inquisitive looks directed at me. Kosovo was smitten instantly, but he was also too much of a chicken to act upon his amorous impulses when faced with the other eight dogs. So now they play around together every day, on the beach and under the trees, harrassing me to join in with them! … But i’ll be a spoilsport for a while longer, I need to tell you all this.
_I’m being properly guarded by happy Masai warriors ‘Abari Mama Tinga tinga, Abari a Leo?’ (hello tractor lady, how’s things today?), who on occasion provide me with a beer at night! _
Last night I returned to my place, following the sandy trail under a full moon. I was preceded by two Masai warriors pushing their wheelbarrows, Kosovo and Robbi criss-crossing their path playfully. Meanwhile, Snoopy the semi-blind dog, tried to bite the calves of the second ‘watchman’. The guard would then halt his wheelbarrow, exclaim ‘hey’, and continue the walk. This had to go on and on, if it was up to the loopy-bouncy Snoopy. ‘aww come on guys, let’s play here…’
Mwazaro Beach ‘where God makes Holidays’, on the holy beach of the Digo tribe, situated between the touristic and crowded Diani and the small village of Shimoni… The most tranquil and magical beach in Kenia…