The day before our planned departure from Dar es Salaam we suffered a huge setback. Guillaume took a ride to the city centre to give an old man a pair of welding goggles that we had bought him with some of the money donated by friends and family for this purpose. The man is welding with nothing but an old pair of sunglasses, a recipe popular in Africa but one that will almost certainly blind him eventually.
Having spent most of the week in the city Guillaume is by now very comfortable there but sadly this time he stupidly took all of our valuables with him. The bike was already packed for our departure so most of our belongings tagged along.
Caught within the human chaos of Dar central our side panniers were either cut off or somehow came loose. We don’t really know and because Guillaume did not even get off the bike both scenarios seem equally unlikely so there really is just speculation as to what happened.
Stolen or missing is irrelevant, the only sure thing is that we lost equipment worth thousands of Rands without which the rest of our journey will be quite difficult or maybe even impossible.
Both our medical and first aid bags as well as our very expensive paraffin stove and light but durable pot and dining set was in the panniers. We will be able to replace the first aid and some of the medicine but sadly the stove and pots aren’t available here and my year’s supply of contact lenses will be difficult and expensive to replace.
In a nutshell, I can’t see, we can’t cook and the poor old man never got his welding goggles.
Luckily the tent, which was also on the bike and our passports and electronic equipment, did not get lost/stolen so we still have a roof over our heads and passports to travel with.
Today we will buy the bare minimum to replace what was lost. Our medical kit will now consist of one strong antibiotic, malaria treatment, a disinfectant and hopefully another six months’ worth of contact lenses. The first aid kit will make way for Burnshield, a handful of plasters and one bandage. We will attempt to buy a small gas stove and one small pot to enable us to make food on the road, but if we can’t find anything for cheap we will buy a pot and make fire for cooking – good old fashioned caveman stile.
But, despite the almost R7000 loss we agreed to push on as soon as we have done the necessary damage control here in Dar, we will figure the rest out on the way. We hope to reach Tanga before the end of the weekend and then move to Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti before entering Rwanda or Burundi and then Uganda.