(By Mikael Strandberg) "I've slept out under the stars in East Africa, I have seen a camel caravan in the desert and people are living the same way here as they have for a thousand years. It's incredible" , Kyle Henning writes with great excitement to ExWeb.
Lowest to highest
Kyle just arrived to Dire Dawa in NE Ethiopia. He has done the first six days of his Expedition. The idea is to go from Africa´s lowest point to its highest. From the shore of Lake Assal, Djibouti (155m below sea level) to the summit of Uhuru Peak, Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895m above sea level). The main reason is trying to raise funds for 50 disadvantaged children in Ethiopia to help them get educational support and providing meals.
"My body hurts, but I feel great", he continues; "I am glad I am doing this. I am having the time of my life right now. Travelling alone also forces me to meet people along the way."
Infinite joy and drama.
Genuine and first time explorer; Kyle is passionate, somewhat naive, exited, truthful and open minded. He describes his first 17 kilometers on the bicycle:
"The junction from the main highway to Lake Assal was 17 km away. I was sure I could make it in the half day I had remaining. The climb was constant, but gradual enough to allow me passage. However, about 30 meters above the lake, the real issue became apparent. The strongest headwind Ive ever encountered was blowing straight down the hill in an unforgiving, constant gale. The breeze was hot and moist, and the sweat was pouring down my back. I was peddling out of this hot hole in the earth in a 30mph wind at high noon. Not the best planning. At around 1:30pm, after some pushing, swearing, and messy urination, I decided it was time to find some
A rocky shade
"There are no trees. Zero. I found a rock with a slight lean that provided just enough shade for my head and torso. It was good enough. I stayed there until 3pm when it got a little cooler and carried on. A
few other tour groups passed me on the way up, giving me looks of amazement mixed with what an asshole!
Kyle didn´t make it to Lake Assal, but pitched his tent behind a row of acacias and fell fast asleep, until a pair of heavily armed men woke him up at 2 a.m.
"I couldnt sleep at all, so at 4 am, heart still racing, I packed up my camp and started an early-morning, moonlit ride. In my haste to get going, I left my camelback behind. I didnt realize this for several hours, so decided to write it off and continue."
Arriving at Dire Dawa
That was Kyle Henning´s first day on Expedition. Five days later of sandy roads, bike problems, no directions, maps which didn´t help, lots of confusion and unnecessary extra miles, he got his first glimpse of Dire Dawa. He writes:
"After another hard mountain pass, I saw my first glimpse of Dire Dawa in the distance. I was so happy, I peddled non-stop to the edge of town. I called my contacts, but they didnt answer. I rode straight to their house, hoping I hadnt missed the big feast. At 4pm, I sat down in a chair, opened a cold beer, and ate like a king. It was good to be out of the desert."
His next stop is Addis Abeba. Another drama coming up?
Kyle Henning is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, Kyle has been spending the last two years improving the communitys
HIV/AIDS Services Network and teaching Life Skills classes to young adults at the New Day Childrens Centre. The expedition is a fundraiser for the New Day Childrens Centre in Bahir Dar, which helps
50 disadvantaged children through educational support and providing meals. The NDCC is raising money to purchase a new compound that will
enable them to serve even more children. Donations can be made athttp://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1001177 or by visiting the NDCC website http://ndccethiopia.org.uk
Djibouti: Starting at the shore of Lake Assal, heading east toward
Djibouti City, then south to the southern border with Ethiopia.
Ethiopia: South to Dire Dawa, east to Harar, then west to Addis Ababa.
Traveling southwest to Arba Minch and the Omo Valley on the border
with Kenya, crossing at Omorate.
Kenya: Following the western shore of Lake Turkana south to Lodwar,
then southeast to Nairobi for visa purposes. Then traveling northeast
to the border with Uganda, crossing at Malaba.
Uganda: Following the northern shore of Lake Victoria to Kampala.
Continuing onward to Rwanda, crossing at Katuna.
Rwanda: Heading south through Kigali, and southeast to the border with
Tanzania, crossing south of Kibungo.
Tanzania: Following east-bound roads across the north of the country,
but dipping south to avoid some game reservations where cycling is not
permitted. Northeast to Arusha, then due east to Moshi and the base of
Kilimanjaro: Standard seven-day route to the summit of Uhuru Peak.
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