Three gee. 3G. My newly fave number and letter. The re-entry of 3G internet connectivity into my life means that I can (possibly) avoid blogging suicide after days in the Vodacom Desert and get a post out to my Heartpeople. I’m sorry.
And this is a post of two halves. Yes, the joy and the sorrow. From high to low. Just like the story of The Heart and Sole Tour. Rollercoasterness, babies! With your permission, I’ll give you the bad news first. Yes? OK. Good.
Here’s the thing. The unavoidable, somewhat inevitable, awful, chuffing nightmarish thing. After three weeks of toiling up mountains in absurd heat, rain, majestic electrical thunderstorms and a spot of hail, The Heart & Sole Tour has come to a grinding halt. Why? No money. Geen geld. Asinamali.
A humungous thank you to all of you who have contributed dosh to us but we simply do not have enough to continue. Apart from our “Spirit of Ubuntu” lunch (which I will shortly pictorialise for you) we had a bad day on Monday. Searing heat, virtually no hard shoulder on which to cocoon ourselves from flying trucks, crazymaking and potentially dangerous potholes and very, very, very tired bodies and minds.
The Heartman still managed to push himself 32km or so away from Engcobo towards Queenstown. But, because of the heat from hell, we only really rolled off after 5pm and, eventually, at after eight, we gave up and drove to Queenstown to rest minds and bodies. In fact, when we found a place to sleep, I didn’t so much find the bed as the bed found me. We came together as one. No shower. No brushing of teeth. El Collapso.
The next day was our birthday. Yes. Ours. Both born on January 19. Similar characters. With differences. I woke up The Heartman to give him a present. I had thought of getting him a pair of grey socks from Pep Stores, I told him, but I had something better. “Whashat?” he gurgled from his nightly slightly parallel universe. “Look. We’re not going to get much further. We’re knackered. We need a break. We need more funds. It’s your birthday. Spend as much of it as you can with your woman and your dogs at home.” His eyes opened. Wide. “Go. Get a flight from East London. Rest. Raise money. See you on Sunday.” He grinned and said something about Hatman not being so bad after all. He went. He’s recovering. And approaching some corporates about giving us the support we need to finish what we started and achieve our objective of raising awareness of the madness that are the millions of landmines still blowing off the limbs of people all over the world.
We are excruciatingly aware of the near-apocalyptic horror that is post-quake Haiti. It is only right that the compassionate eye of the world should be trained in that direction. But we are not asking for much. Just enough to cover fuel, food and airtime coasts to cover the rest of the Heart & Sole Tour from near Queenstown to Cape Town. We are closing in on the 600km mark, which means that old Heartie and I are a third of the way into this beautiful adventure.
The Heartman has used his rent money. I have exhausted my savings. It has been a giant leap of faith. But, even as we hang suspended somewhere along the arc of that leap, we still believe. I have always seen the two of us rolling into Cape Town and that vision is as clear and golden as the day this crazy wonderful idea was born. Please continue to help us achieve that.
OK. I promised you some snaps depicting what I am calling the “Spirit of Ubuntu” lunch. Quick preamble. We ride out of Engcobo on Monday. Blisteringly hot. We find a couple of trees offering shade. There are a few colourful rondavel huts nearby. The children come. Then the adults. The questions about the bicycle that has lost a wheel. The smiles. The shaking of heads. Our new friends sit around us and talk animatedly about the mad mlungus (white people). Heartie naps. I talk with the small crowd we have collected. They are hungry. Yes, we have some food (stored for camping) in the truck. Ah, I will cook it for lunch says Mama Cordelia, clearly the Big Mama of the community.
I bring out Imana beef mince, rice, a couple of onions, tinned tomatoes and some Aromat spices. Mama C sends oldest daughter Nosipho on a long walk to the spaza shop to get paraffin for the stove she has conjured up from a nearby hut. Pots and spoons magically appear. Mama Cordelia cooks lunch for us, her two daughters and assorted new arrivals, numbering about eight. It is beautiful. We sit on the grass under the trees next to the road to Queenstown eating Mama C’s impromptu lunch. Deliciousness. It tasted something like this…
Ndiyabulela (thank-you in Xhosa), Mama Cordelia. And to your lovely daughters. And we’re sorry that we couldn’t accept your offer for us to marry them, even if they do cook as beautifully as you do!
Right. Back on the road…
And I was going to give you a small closing ceremony provided by Mother Nature as we drove towards Queenstown but the internet connection has slowed down in solidarity with the Heart & Sole Tour. I’ll try again later. In the meantime, if you are able to help in any way – no matter how small – to fund our ride, here are the bank details…
G. M. Brink, Standard Bank, Musgrave Rd, Durban. Acc. 056706804 / Branch Code 042626.
* And, should you want to read Shaun Trennery’s interview with Geoff “Heartman” Brink on the excellent izimvo.com website, please go right on over to here.