January on a page

January and our running totals: 15 countries ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฉ ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡น; 8403km ๐Ÿšต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ; 702km other transport ๐Ÿšข; 4 punctures ๐Ÿ˜” (we knew it couldnโ€™t last forever); 31 kind hosts โ˜บ๏ธ; 37 nights wild camping ๐Ÿ•; 22 at campsites โ›บ๏ธ; 47 indoors ๐Ÿ ; 21kg of pasta ๐Ÿ!

World Thinking Day

We made it to Nairobi just in time for Girl Guiding World Thinking Day, and weโ€™re invited along to a regional celebration. This was a vibrant occasion, with a personal highlight for us being that of watching the First Lady dance to Baby Shark.

Kenya has the fifth largest participation in Girl Guiding globally, with the work that it carries out stretching far beyond the stereotypical knot tying and flag carrying. Informal education is used to give young women the skills and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their life, and which they may not get at school or home. One area is health; the association is working across the country to stop school drop-outs due to pregnancy and menstruation, and reduce HIV/AIDS rates.

We were luckily to meet Jayne Wachira from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the second charity which we are supporting (link to our giving site is on our support page).

Our own private safari

Kenya has satisfied all our dreams about what we imagined cycling through Africa would be like – in particular the wildlife. From day one weโ€™ve been on our own private cycling safari, without even entering a game park. Weโ€™ve have baby giraffe run alongside us, chased ostrich down the road, and witnessed a real life zebra crossing.

Paxtu Lodge

Taking the back roads meant we could visit Paxtu lodge, the home of Olive and Baden Powell, the founders of the Scout and Girl Guide movements. A special place to visit for us, and a fascinating little snapshot into their lives.

Cycling in the clouds

As we headed south from Nanyuki we no longer had the roads to ourselves, and quickly learnt that Kenyan drivers are the worst weโ€™ve experienced so far. It was time to get ourselves off the main road and into the tea growing hills. This meant some extremely short sharp climbs down into and back out of the clouds!

If itโ€™s only going to rain once…it would be at the equator!

At 6.30am on Sunday, we made it to the equator. This momentous occasion was marked with us celebrating alongside bus loads of teenagers having an equatorial party – clearly it was still Saturday night for them. We thought everyone would be at church on a Sunday morning!

Having sweated our way from the UK, cursing the heavy waterproofs at the bottom of our panniers which have only seen daylight once in Germany, they finally resurfaced – at the equator of all places! The 15 minute light shower was certainly not worth the faff of putting them on, but we were determined to feel as though it had been worth carrying them all this way.

Samburu riding school

People often ask for a ride on our bikes, and we have a bank of excuses as to why that wouldnโ€™t be such a good idea (too big, too heavy, too hilly…). However when a couple of guys from the Samburu tribe quietly and politely asked if they could have a go, we couldnโ€™t refuse. Hoisting themselves onto the bike as if it were a horse (nearside pedal first) was a sight to be seen – they certainly donโ€™t have anything under their skirts.