Eight days

Eight days till we leave for Cairo.  I’ve taken my bike in for a tune-up to check that everything is in good shape.  Still lots to do. The most onerous is the paperwork; it’s not a simple thing to leave one’s life behind for a few months.  There are a pile of mundane things to take care of, like making sure the monthly bills are paid, my apartment is looked after (oh, my poor neglected plants), and so on.  

I have been so focussed on the training and getting ready that I haven’t paid as much attention to where we are going. I’ve been to parts of Africa before—Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Morocco.  Trips that were a mix of work and tourism.  Over the last few years I’ve taken a little more interest in the affairs of the continent.  I regularly read a couple of African news sites to get a different perspective.  These are a couple of ones I check out: African News and All Africa.

We bike from Egypt into Sudan. Right now, Sudan is going through convulsions. A kind of “Arab spring”of its own with country wide demonstrations against severe economicstagnation.  TDA is keeping an eye on thesituation but I haven’t heard of any change in our route.

But beyond the political news, I love reading the current cultural news.  Through those sites I’ve discovered some amazing Sudanese (and other African) singers and musicians and have been able to check them out on Spotify. There is something electrifying about the richness of contemporary cultural expressions from places like Sudan with which we have so little understanding or connection. Here’s an excerpt from a song (Al Mursal) by Mohammed Wardi, one of the elders of Sudanese music.