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Dust and Diesel – Conclusion – 25.01.2013

January 28th, 2013 Posted in Backstage Tags: , ,

Back in cold Germany. After 26 days, we landed safely in Frankfurt on January, 19th. Of course, people ask me: How was it? It’s hard for me to find a short answer to this question. However, I’ll try to sort my thoughts and draw a conclusion – let’s see, if I succeed.

Sensational, exciting, new, fascinating, overwhelming, valuable, impressive, thought-provoking: these are all adjectives, which apply to the journey.

Since I have never been to Africa before and I’ve formerly never driven on this route, the impressions of the journey –more than 6000 km at least – are very extensive. The scenery changed constantly and allowed the most beautiful views: mountains, lakes, the sea, steppe, desert, beach, oasis, etc.

But accompanying these vistas was the large amount of waste everywhere. Even in parts of the desert, plastic bottles and bags are not rare. But this belongs to Africa! And this is one of the biggest lessons, which you learned pretty fast on this journey: Africans have different worries than how to deal with their waste. Poverty, educational deficits, no real health care system, societal systems strongly influenced by religion, corruption – that is what they are struggling against.

Especially in Mauritania (there are app. 500 000 slaves among 3.200 000 inhabitants), poverty is tangible. During our stay in the capital Nouakchott, we heard that the public school had no water supply, because the 300 € for a water pipe were lacking – some rallye participants spontaneously agreed to bear the costs.

Remembering these circumstances, it feels even better to know that we could help children better their chances towards an education and future prospects by selling the cars on the spot. In total, the cars brought in approximately 21 000 € for the projects. That’s enough to pay all bills for a half year (rent, employees, food, etc.). Basically, it is alarming how little they have to live from, and how we live in abundance. Sorry for the moral side blow, but it’s a must after such a journey.

The most exciting station on this trip was the 4-day-stay in the desert. On the one hand, because of the scenery, on the other hand, because of the driving adventure. You can’t imagine, what conventional cars can withstand. You drive over dunes, on the beach, you’re in the air with two tires and knock down hard. The ground is sometimes like corrugated sheets, hard as concrete, which seem to loosen every screw – but the cars survive. Our bus didn’t even get stuck in the sand, had no flat tire, didn’t need oil or water. Maybe a cleaning would have been appropriate, as the red flash was sand blasted at the end.

Something I will always remember is the silence and darkness in the Sahara. After the sun has set, the wind falls silent and it gets dark, without the light domes of villages or cities; just dark. For the first time, I saw the sky full of stars in its full glory. And there are a lot of stars. Useful, as well as a welcome cheering up in the evenings, was my Eurolite flashlight. Whenever someone wanted to explain a constellation in the sky, he took the flashlight and lit up the stars – in the dark surroundings, the LEDs act like a huge laser sword or a decent-sized sky beam.

Right after the incidents in Mali and Algeria, many asked me about the security situation. In short: I was never afraid or had the feeling, that anything could happen. Surely because we drove in convoy and with military protection in Mauritania. Additionally, we were en route in the west and not inland. No doubt, I will be spending some more time indeed in coming to terms with the impressions and in sorting them, but one thing is for certain: it was a worthwhile adventure which I would gladly repeat on occasion.

Thanks to all our supporters and to the people who thought about and shared in the exitement with us!



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