I feel so lucky to know and meet this family on my trip. They help me to find gears which I can’t get in Ethiopia. Their house is like a heaven in Ethiopia!
Through ‘warmshowers'(www.warmshowers.org), host website for cyclists, I could stay with Swiss family. I feel so lucky to know this family. On the picture the upper left is Stephane, On the right is his wife, Anne Beatr, down left is Julie(7 years old), and the right one is Zoe(9 years old)
I was supposed to stay only three or four days, but thank to this family I could order bicycle’s parts from Switzerland which I do need.
Anne is working in Swiss Embassy. One diploma will visit at the next week from Swiss to Ethiopia. Stephane helps me to find out what I need and orders on Swiss website, veloplus.ch. And then Anne asks her who is coming to bring my stuff. I pay with a visa card. And then done! It is like one team!
Stephane’s family has been just here over two months. It is impressing that they are gonna live here over four years. While I stay with them, I do love playing with Zoe and Julie. Especially Zoe is 9 years old that I can communicate easily with her than Julie.
Zoe makes me scared as bringing 1000 piece puzzle which I’ve never done. I used to playing a puzzle when I was a child. But I never try this one. Zoe, a smart lovely girl, suggests that we should separate pieces by color!
There is some long behind story about playing puzzle together. But it is too long to write now that I will omit it! The girl who is watching camera is Julie.
Julie asks me to play Post office. I ask what the way to win is. But I realize that it is just a role playing that there are no winner or things.
I play blocks with Zoe as well.
She makes three-minute alarm. We have to make a house in three minutes. It is a competition. And this is what she makes! How smart! Mine is horrible……. Later I realize that she is used to playing this one that she knows how to make house well.
After building house, we try to play a domino as building each other name. It is not easy that I suggest her let’s give up writing name. A few minutes later she success building my name’s domino while I try to build simple circle domino! Oh. How beautiful you are! Sweet!
She also loves drawing! How sweet!
They ask me to play a photograph. “What is that game?”, “Bring your camera”. Oh got it. They want to take picture with my Camera, Dslr. This picture is taken by Julie. Julie is good at a model, and Zoe is good at taking picture! How harmony!
Yard is enough big to play soccer. I and Zoe are Swiss team, and the guard and Julie are Ethiopian team. The football game is really keen competition that the game is drawn as 4:4.
Actually that day Ethiopia plays soccer against Nigeria for the World Cup preliminaries. Sadly, Ethiopia lost the game.
They raise a rabbit. But it looks like a pig that it is too fat! When she sits down, I can’t see her legs. I am wondering she is too fat or all of this kind rabbit is like her?
Stephane cooks with very interesting way. I’ve never seen people make spaghetti with this way that it is very interesting. At that night we all have more than two plates.
On the weekend I follow them to a tennis playing.
They play at the children school.
In this school there is a interesting thing, turtle! I check that there is at least over big six turtles. Never knows where they come from. It is funny to see a turtle eats the grass.
I’ve never stayed with diploma’s house before. She looks so busy that I am wondering a diploma is a busy job or only Swiss diploma is busy. On the weekend we visit a welfare group. It is actually kind of her unofficial work on the weekend. That’s how I could go together. On the floor there are grasses. It is an Ethiopian culture about inviting.
I love this picture so much although the photo is out of focus, because I can see sweetheart’s smile!
Children get along well in a minute!
Zoe and Julie bring their toys to give local children. How sweet!
He is another Swiss diploma’s husband. He is a Colombian that he speaks Espanola. It is frustrating that I can’t remember many Espanol words while I try to talk to him in Espanol. Since I left Latin America, I’ve never communicated in Espanol with people.
There is one funny thing that while I cycle between African villages, I can’t communicate with a local people in English many times. When I am embarrassed, I speak in Espanol to African local people like Si, no, grasias, haora, manana and things. I don’t know why I do this.
This welfare facility has a long story. Long time ago Married Swiss couple came to Ethiopia. Although they had already four their own children, they adopted six local children more. On the picture, third one from the left who wear white dress wanted to come back to her country to give back what she got from her parent later. She started building small welfare. After years and years it is bigger and bigger that now Swiss embassy is connected with here. That’s why we visit here. Right now her mother come back to Ethiopia and stays with her daughter who built here. It is really impressive story! Love is like a river that it is flowing.
I have had many problems in Ethiopia. The first thing is my bicycle is broken, but I can’t find parts. I’ve heard that Ethiopia is the country where many diplomas live. Although it is true, most of local people I’ve seen are the poorest in Africa that it is not possible to find a nice bike shop even in the capital.
Another problem is I must get USD before going to Sudan. It is embarrassing that Sudan is a sanction country that there is no ATM for a foreigner. Another shocking thing is it is not possible to get USD in Ethiopia that Ethiopian government is very strict about it. What I can do is to find the way to get USD from other people or to get Ethiopian money and exchange to Sudanese money on the border.
There is ATM in Ethiopia, but most of thing is only working with visa card. I have two different cards, Maestro and Plus. I have to find ATM which is working with my card. I find information that maybe I could get cash from Dashen Bank’s ATM.
If it is possible to get Ethiopian money from ATM, I might try to get Ethiopian money of amount of 800$ for staying in Sudan for two months. Then I will try to exchange at the border. If there is no exchanger, then I could lose all of this money, because at the day I cross the border will be my last day of Ethiopian visa.
It is very complicating situation, which I’ve never had experience. I try to go to Korean embassy to get USD. But they close today for Korean holiday. When I cycle around the city, people hassle me too much that I get worse stress. Why they never let me alone??
My iPod was broken while a street Kenyan people tried to fix it. I try to buy a second-hand one in Addis and get a connection. But the person who wants to sell doesn’t show up.
Man.. there is nothing easy one. I am so tired that I go to have an Ethiopian food. It is always interesting to have their meal. All the time it looks different. How beautiful Ethiopian food is.
After lunch I try to buying gloves, because I lost my bicycle gloves while there was heavy raining last week. I don’t mind buying any kind of gloves. But it is impossible. Yeah… I think I’ve never seen African people wear gloves… even people who work under construction.
Then suddenly I want to go to a toilet. Emergency!! It is weird that half of time I have a diarrhea after eating Ethiopian food although I enjoy eating their food. After much sweating, because of not only cycling but also… , I find a toilet! Yeah.
I find a nice shopping mall. A building is too contrastive.
While I try to find ATM, I see KOICA, Korea International Cooperation Agency, which is run by Korean government like Peace Corp or JAICA. The building looks much better than Korean Embassy in Ethiopia.
Next to KOICA building, I find Dashen Bank ATM. I withdraw Ethiopian money, which is amount of $ 240. I will try to do it three times more, because of limitation per day. I am just worried that it would be okay and worth to carry lots of Ethiopian money?
I do know that I must carry much USD for emergency. But the last time I see dollar was in Zimbabwe. I spent all of USD in Tanzania. I’ve checked information many times, but I’ve never seen this important information. If I knew it, I would have brought USD from Kenya.
I arrive home late afternoon around sunset. Already Anne is home. Anne comes and talks to me. I think I look very exhausted at that time.
She talks to me how my day was. I say people harass me too much that it is too tough. She asks me why I keep traveling with hard condition.
I am lost for words. ‘Why?…Why?..Why?,,’ I get shocked, because there is nothing to answer about it that I hold back my tears. ‘I get too much stress on this continent. Why I torture myself as keeping going?’
She suggests that she can help me to way to Turkey from Ethiopia by flight if I want.
I don’t know why I torture myself as keeping cycling here. But I do want to see the end of Africa. That’s all. I start, so I want to finish it. It sounds so silly. Sometimes life is so silly.
The next day I go to Korean Embassy again to get USD. But they say it is not possible to get USD in this country for me. Even they print some information that they warn me not to go to Sudan, because it is too dangerous now. I say I will consider not going to Sudan. Of course it is kind of lie. I’ve been many countries that I can feel which country is I must not go. I must not go to Somalia, Afghanistan or Congo, but Sudan is not that kind of country, I think. I will check it later on the border. If the country is going too dangerous, I will find the other way.
I’ve contacted with some person for North Africa. He introduces me some Korean pastor who is working in Korean hospital. Korean hospital is really big and nice. Surprising!!! The pastor helps that I transfer my money to his Korean account, and I get $ 800 USD from him. (I also exchange Ethiopian money which I took last day to USD.)
$600 is for Sudan for two months. $200 is emergency.
There is some picnic from school that I and Stephane go together.
It is typical Ethiopian music.
After that we go to a coffee shop. I wish I can see the way to make traditional coffee. I’ve had a traditional coffee many times, but I’ve never seen to make it such as frying coffee bean.
Stephane’s family is unique, I think. They have two cars that it is no problem to take children to school by car. But they love cycling to school and home every morning and afternoon. It is Africa that the road is not much safer than Europe.
I think they have really healthy mind to control all of things in Africa.
According to a plan, the order will arrive on Thurstday 10th Oct, we will install parts and invite the lady who brings my order from Europe on Friday 11th Oct, and I will leave Addis Saturday 12th Oct. My visa is expired on 18th Oct that I don’t have much time to cycle to the border, which is far 900 km (562 mi). But the meeting is delayed that the lady will come on Saturday. Anne says it is okay I leave on Saturday morning. But I do want to thank to the lady who brings my order that I delay my departure to 13th Oct Sunday.
It had been raining every day for two weeks while I had stayed. But around the day I leave, the weather is clear.
It is sunshine that we hang out at the yard. It is hard to take the photo of beautiful Julie, because she makes funny face many times!! Hahahah.
It is me and Anne.
Who takes this picture?
Julie or Zoe?
I can’t remember.
The before installing, I clean my bicycle well. I feel sorry to lucky(my bicycle) that I am really bad at maintaining.
Yeah, my order is arrived!!!!! I’ve heard that I have to change all together, a chain, cassette, chain rings and rear derailleur. I could get a second hand Rear derailleur in Ethiopia, but the problem was I couldn’t get left of them. That’s why I ordered from Europe. All of things are around $ 220. I also ordered brakes $12, Kick stand $32, spare tire $ 57 and other small things. Total was $350. But Stephane asked discount to Veloplus, and thanks that Veloplus gives me 15% discount. So I paid over $300 for this order. It is my first expensive order since 2011.
As I told, Ethiopia is the country where most of diploma comes and lives. So, there is facebook’s group which I can find secondhand’s camera lens. (What’s Happening in Addis Ababa?) – (https://www.facebook.com/groups/387580667979185/?fref=ts)
I buy 50.8 and 55-250 lens. There is no chance to visit or see wild animal anymore, but I buy a telephoto lens 55-250 mm. Why did I buy? I don’t know. It is human’s habit to buy something without the reason. Anyway it is kind of miracle to buy second hand, not the stolen one second hand!! : )
Unfortunately, I can’t find secondhand iPod.
If I have to do all by myself, it would be impossible. I don’t know about the mechanic thing, and also shipping and tax will be too expensive. Another problem could happen that airport might hold my order forever. Thanks to many people I could get the important things.
There are more people who helps me, but are not on the picture. Thanks to donors through my website, I could order this one. Everything is miracle to me.
Frankly speaking, a spare tire was not on my list. But Anne and Stephane strongly recommend me to buy it. I am confident that my tire will last until Europe that I want to test it. But they said I must prepare the risk. Yes, they were right. So, I ordered!
This picture was taken last time on the road. My tire looks too worn out that I can see all of blue. But I don’t get flat tire often that I think I can use it until Europe.
Stephane warns me out as showing website. “The tire must be changed URGENTLY”… Seriously? I can still use it. I want to cycle to Schwalbe Company and give my old tire to them as a gift. And then I want to say “Hey I have a gift which you can test, so give me a new tire please, because I bring a good example!” haha..
We, Stephane, Anne, and I, do bet.
Anne says I can cycle only 500 km (312 mi) with this old tire.
Stephane says 2,000 km (1250 mi)
I say 4,000 km (2500 mi)
(Anybody is more than welcome to join our bet!)
Who will win?
But… Anne.. Are you sure? 500 km? That is nothing. I am sure.
Never knows…maybe she.. is…a predictor??
Actually Stephane installs all of things!! How smart!!!
Ex-Toothed wheel is too worn out like a shark tooth. It is funny that the first toothed wheel is much worn out than others. It means I used third gear often that there was not much flat road.
Cassette looks more worn out.
For a long time, pedaling was not smooth. Now I can pedal even at the back way.
I changed also my handle bar tape. I wanted to order yellow one, but it could get dirty soon. So, I ordered blue one. How lovely!!!!!!!!! It is my fourth time to change it. I will change it again when I go to Europe.
On the Saturday night, I finally meet Natalie who brings my order. I do appreciate to her. Also I meet Martine, who is working in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan as a Swiss diploma. I ask her how Sudan’s security thing is.
“Is it dangerous to cycle in Sudan?” I ask.
“Yes it is, because it is really hot so that you must take care of yourself very well.” She answers.
“No, I mean my Korean embassy said to me that I should not go there, because it is too dangerous.”
“No, it is okay, just watch out the weather and drink lots of water.” She only talks about the weather. There was a demonstration and many people were killed by government last week. But it seems it would be okay for me now.
However, Sudan is hot?? How much?? I can’t guess, because the place, Addis Ababa, I stay is so cool and nice that every night I need hot water to take shower.
I was supposed to leave on Sunday morning. But Anne suggests me to stay one more night. I am confused that she is just joking or serious? Actually last week she said that I should extend my visa and stay longer. But I was not sure it is serious or not? I just laughed at that time.
My Ethiopian visa will be expired soon (18th Oct ) that I must hurry to the border. One more day means less one day to have experience of Ethiopia.
The way to make a good decision is to choose which is more important on me. To have experience Ethiopian culture is important, but now to have time with them is more important to me that I decide to stay one more night. Besides Sunday is relaxing day that I can have more time to enjoy with them.
On the Sunday morning I go to another Swiss diploma’s house to have breakfast. Wow! It is amazing beautiful breakfast!!!
Anne says “Look! Your decision to stay one more night is the best choice! You can have lots of energy before leaving!”
She is true that I laugh.
Although I’ve never been Switzerland, Switzerland is another my favorite country now.
Here is my super hero, Stephane! He did most of thing for my bicycle! Thanks a lot!
I think it was the best choice to leave on the Monday, because everybody is too busy to greet longer.
While Anne says about farewell, I am too choked to say a word. Still the farewell is the hardest part of the trip for me. Sometimes I am too emotional to control it. I’ve felt too hard these days on the road for cycling in Africa, but thank to them I could have a beautiful resting at their house. I do appreciate for all of things to them.
I am gonna miss all of them so much. I am wondering that I am a special person to them as much as they are the special person to me? I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter, because I was enough happy to know them in my life.