So the Kigali2Joburg is complete and tonight, we find ourselves spilt up in different hotels in Johannesburg or flying home to Canada. We finished with an awe inspiring hike into the mountains by Andrew’s family place, followed by our final ride into Johannesburg, through a beautiful part of the country. For a change, we took it slow and enjoyed every minute of it.
Last night we celebrated with dinner and enjoyed Mopane worms, a local delicacy that surprise surprise, tastes like it looks.
All the team had their own reasons for taking the ride. For me, arriving back In South Africa was the culmination of a great circle begun three years ago, when I rode from SA to Rwanda. 18,000 kilometres later, the circle feels complete.
I set out from Kigali with a few objectives.
To not dump the bike. I failed that one and dumped it six times, including being run off the road by a bus. I may or may not have had a passenger that day. No one was hurt but it was a bad moment I can now write about, with apologies to my passenger friend...should there have been one.
To cross off a bucket list item and fill up my passport before it expires. Did it but ...ummm....how do I get out of here?.
To go on a long road trip and for the first time ever, not lose my sunglasses. Sunglasses firmly in pocket.
To not get a fine from a dubious traffic cop. It took some persuading, a few selfies and an invite to one guy to my house for Christmas, but challenge complete.
To raise $25,000 to support the work of Wellspring in Rwanda, as we help give tens of thousands of children a quality values based education that will change their lives. I can happily report that although it doesn’t yet show on the website, we will beat that target, thanks to some very generous partners. Oh and the sponsor page is still open and you can donate here 🙂
And finally, to see where the road led me and what I would learn. There was so much.
i learnt once again that you can put a group of people together who, with a few exceptions, don’t know each other that well and you can build a team. You see, a team isn’t a group of people who work together, it’s a group of people who trust each other. Navigating our way across eight countries on some of the roads we took, staying in new places nearly every night, experiencing challenges we had to surmount every day....no matter what it was, this team took it in it’s stride. We literally trusted each other with our lives and finished with friendships that will last a lot longer than the five weeks we were together.
I learnt once more that it’s not comfort and security that brings out the best in us, it’s challenge. It’s the urge to go a little bit further, to do something a little out of the ordinary, to stretch ourselves and enter uncomfortable ‘now how do we get out of this?’ places....this is what allows us to thrive. Sadly, we’ve created a society that insulates us from challenge and risk. It isolates us from nature and the creation we were intended to be part of and robs us of a key part of what it means to be human. Yet being out on the bike, you are part of the essential essence of existence and you have no choice but to embrace it, to take M. Scott Peck’s road less travelled and to see where it leads you and what wits you will need to get there.
And I learnt, once more, something I profoundly believe. That people are beautiful. In the last six weeks since I left Canada, I have not met one person who meant us harm. Every single interaction has been positive and people have been unfailingly helpful, delighted to hear about our journey and to share a part of the excitement along with us. Even here in Joburg, my Uber driver to the hotel stayed in the car park to chat and wanted to see pictures. The Nigerian guy who trimmed my very messy hair today, spent an hour talking about how he would love to do such a trip, which led to us to talking about his desire to start a hairdressing school to teach kids a trade. And last night we met friends and family members of Andrews, all of whom are doing remarkable things to make a difference and help people. My gosh, I have no words for how great the human race is.
There is a feeling abroad right now, fanned into flames by cretinous, corrupt politicians and media personalities, many of whom are so uniformed that they can’t even pronounce the names of some of the countries that we have ridden through, that ‘the others’ are bad, that we are better, we are special. That we should fear and attack them to protect ourselves and our own superiority.
It’s true. We are special. All of us. Every single human being is remarkable and wonderful and unique and brilliant and priceless. So don’t listen to those idiots. They answer to you and I, not the other way around. Don’t give them the time of day and don’t believe the lies they peddle. We are all the same, each of us with our own individual stories, all of us trying to find our place in the world, all of us needing the help and support that we can provide each other, whether we know it or not.
A trip like this changes your perspective, your view, your very being, as you grapple with the simple truth that we are all in this together and that injustice and inequality must be addressed wherever we find it. One thing it has confirmed for me is that the work we do in education is crucial, and that particularly, our focus on empowering girls, working to give them the opportunities that boys have and to liberate their potential, has the possibility of changing everything. During this journey, i have strengthened a personal commitment I made two years ago to dedicate myself to this goal and will do all I can to be better at fulfilling my tiny part in it.
So I have question for you as I close. What is your Kigali2Joburg? What is the challenge you need to accept, the risk you need to take, as you consider the paths before you? What is the thing you are thinking about doing that will lift you out of normal into the realm of trust and belief, the place where in your extremity, you can reach out and touch the face of God and see again what you were intended for?
Whatever it is, please allow me to encourage you to take the leap. To reach out for the thing that will bring transcendence and transformation, to take the restless path that will lead you to the high places we so often miss. .You won’t regret it. After all, what have you got to lose?
Thanks for riding with us. It’s been a blast.
Kiglai2joburg over and out.