I’m probably writing you this letter by the grace of the glowing bonfire lit before me in the middle of this jungle. Or maybe, I’m curled up (by the same bonfire) along the shores of one of those lakes we once heard of in Geography class. Well, I’m here right now and it is a lie what they wrote in those books, or maybe I have forgotten the exact words the author used. But who cares, I’m relearning geographical wonders.
My two wheels brought me this far. Yes, my bicycle took me across our beloved country to this specific point in time to appreciate nature. You may be wondering if I’m crazy for having chosen to cycle hundreds of kilometers, and for what. Trust me, sometimes I wonder too. But my consolation is in every hill I conquer bringing me to breathtaking views, and this goes on past villages, past towns and through Mother Nature’s heart to gems like this!
It is amazing how much you can see atop the saddle (when sweat is not stinging your eyes of course). It is incredible how people are ever so warm and welcoming to visitors (particularly on their bicycles) as we pass through their homelands. Children chant my name (which range from “Mzungu”, “Mchina” to “Mzungu Mweusi”) wherever I go. They gleefully ask “How are you?” without exactly meaning to or caring how I feel but just as a form of greeting. Speaking of which, I have waved my hands in greeting countless times on the road today and the days earlier to the extent that I think the joints have loosened and I feel I might lose my hands the next time I lift them.
But that’s the fun of it. I stay happy and active on the bike. My smile broadens with every passing stranger…But most of all, I am myself with myself on this road.
Songs that we once sang as little toddlers creep back to my mind and slip out of my lips. Memories of the games we played, the crazy things we once did years ago and all those moments of joy and embarrassment are reignited. There is a re-connection with myself; past, present and future coming together in an easy flow of currents of thoughts. every stroke of the pedal stirs it all up until I can literally hear our laughters and cries; feel and taste the joys of the days gone by.
Because that time is past and I can never regain it, here I am making new memories for tomorrow. I have climbed hills so steep they felt like mountains and swooshed down to the deep depths of valleys it felt like flying on the ground. Yet the greatest fun of all is the knowledge that tomorrow will be a new day. A new exploration. My mind is the driver, my legs cannot do anything else but conform. And the wheels will keep spinning…20, 50, 100 or even more kilometers further. Trust me, I’m not running from anything or towards anything, I’m just being in motion and in oneness with the world.
Tell my folks that I will return with folktales, not of hyenas and hares though. But of people and places; smiles and sweat; good food and bad food experiences; and of struggles, strain, pain and triumphant conquests. Tell my folks I shall be back a lot hairier than I left, not because I became unhygienic and unkempt, but since akili ni nywele, my hair is a sign of the wisdom garnered en route.
The Baiskeli Adventurer