All the best wishes!

Manon and her homebase team wish all friends the very best for 2008!
A year full of dreams, action and do! but als with lots of love, fun and warmth!

On the road again…

Picked up some hitchhikers, water for days to come… and there’s a new member of the family, adopted by tractor and me… updates soon!

Tanzania has it’s own ‘Christmas-tree’.
Obviously, it’s in bloom around christmas
The entire country glows in red, they are in every village one passes through…
Lovely, a new christmas experience…

original post 16-12-07

Performance, Saint Nicholas, Malaria & Sleeping disease…

In the past two weeks I’ve been cooperating with the ‘Parapanda Theatre Lab’, A Tanzanian theatre group, in Dar Es Salaam.
This culminated into a gigantic performance last wednesday, themed around the concept of ‘dreams’, for a huge audience.
The show was staged for free in the “mabibo” neighbourhood, one of the poorer parts of Dar Es Salaam, and had an audience of hundreds and hundreds.

There were acrobatics, traditional dance and music, youth bands doing rap and dance, and there was lots of interacting with the audience, concerning their dreams.
The afternoon ended with my performance, in which my tractor comes to life, and through which I’ve been able to collect many thousands of dreams.
The show was different from the previous ones because of the cooperation of actors, singers and musicians of ‘Parapanda’.
After the show I took my new friends to the next destination, by tractor, as good Tanzanian tradition demands.
The whole day of performance was greeted with plenty of enthousiasm by the audience, people were feeling personally involved. This day, It wasn’t all about the stuff they HAVE TO do (most theatre here is rather moralising: AIDS awareness and such) and people were pleased they were asked what they WANT TO do. What is it you’re dreaming of, How do you make that dream a reality? A lot of beautiful dreams were collected thanks to the Tanzanian translators and the aid of the Parapanda group.
The performances were reported on by the papers ‘Habari a Leo’, ‘Sunday News’, television station ‘I-tv’ and the BBC…

Next: what do you know, Saint Nicholas stopped over for a visit to Africa! He arrived at the Belgian Embassy in a big red fire truck, stuffed to the brim with ‘zwarte pieten’ (black petes).
So he didn’t forget about the kids out here! What a coincidence they went for a tea visit with the Belgian ambassador! Saint Nick in Africa, and we all ate pepernoten!( hadn’t had those in two years). The petes were very naughty it was a great day! We all got a present!

After all this spectacle I didn’t resume my journey as planned though, because I was struck by another attack of malaria, and because on the day of the performance, Kosovo had to be taken to the vet. He wasn’t well (he kept falling into his food tray at “breakfast”…)
It appears that Kos has reached the last stadia of the disease, even though the vet has declared him healthy again. He can’t walk properly, tumbles over constantly and remains on the floor in a daze, lives in his own universe, appears to have trouble seeing, sleeps comatosely. It looks like he sustained permanent brain damage (though I want a definite verdict from the vet)

The sleeping disease is one of the nastiest illnesses man or animal can fall prey to. It isn’t as common as malaria, but it’s more difficult to treat medically. One has to act fast. Parts of some of the wildlife reserves have been entirely depopulated solely due to the disease. Last week a female tourist died because of it. She got stung in the serengeti, but was only tested for malaria (the symptoms are similar), which caused her to be medicated too late.

By the end of the week (when I’m feeling better myself) I’ll have to decide wether to put Kosovo to sleep. That makes me very very sad.
I’m not really ready to let go of my friend. He still eats and drinks, but because he lost all balance, putting him on the tractor has become torture. He is stubborn enough to still want to go out on adventures, and that’s just too dangerous. When he gets tired, he can’t stop howling, so I try not to move him around too much. The vet thinks it’s really the best thing to do, but Kos has been my best friend for two years of travel. It feels weird and sad to kick off the last part of my travels in Africa with the loss of my dog. I know a dog is just a dog, but when you’re journeying on your own for so long, a happy companion like that really becomes your most cherished friend. He was also a great guard dog, watching me and the camp all the time… I would like nothing better than for him to get well again, but I think I’ll have to accept that it isn’t going to happen…

original post at 12-3-07

Dreams you have to do and friend you have to make

I want to be a friend to ‘Manon and her Tractor’ and help her to accomplish her journey to the South Pole!

As friend you get acces to a special ‘Friends’page on the website. There are a lot of things to see, communicate and.. to get!
Friends have (in live, and also during my trip) a VIP state, so as friend you will be the first to hear about danger, difficulties, unfunny things and big happenings..!

I pay ? 30,- annually, but if I want to give more..I just do.

Fill in your details and choose your own Password. With the password, and after we have received your payment, you can log in to our ‘Friend’page.

More then words…

Pictures by Sasja Schulting – van Vechgel

Dreamboard with Msrisho from ‘Parapanda Theatre Lab’…

Mama’s cooking lunch for everybody. The cameracrew.

Kids dancing in the street!

Mgunga, Parapanda’s initiator, opens the festivities. Traditional Tanzanian music.

The youth of the Baba Watoto centre are performing acrobatics and breakdance.

The entire neighbourhood came to have a look. The children went home to tell their mama’s…

Do you know the way to the South Pole?

..Over, under and around the tractor…

Interaction with the public

Gathering dreams…

What are you dreaming off?

‘How beautiful is the world’… ‘and how nice it is to cooperate!

Polarbear fight!

Where do you get courage from?

…from working together with inspiring people…

…and from the Dutch ‘Sinterklaas and his black Peets’!

…and from children. And even from dogs, even though when they are very sick…

(Pictures made by Sasja Schulting – van Vechgel)


With grief and regret I have to announce that Kosovo has passed away. The sleeping disease kept coming back, and in the end he was barely able to walk anymore. It was sadly obvious that he didn’t enjoy himself anymore.

He will be missed by us all.

(additional translations coming very soon)