Second year anniversary of Chile to Kili project…
It was a beautiful day as sun break through the dark accompanied with muzihin calling for morning prayer, it is first october 2013 my twenty seventh birthday and second for Chile to Kili since the launch of the project.
Listening to birds call in this calm corner of Rabat, in this morning my brain was occupied so much to process, so much to reflect on this day as I looked around; What I have, behind… Where I am coming from. And in front… Where I am going. Well, what a moment! I wondered back into childhood all the way to current state and position, couldn’t transcend what seem like great fortune to live.
Last physical position of earth like this, last october I was cycling in the California, USA. Opposite position from where I am today. Separated with immense Atlantic Ocean. Honestly, I was full of fear and feelings of uncertainty. The commitment I took on has worn me down, not only by pedaling what seemed like endless kilometers, but also seeing and confronting the wide world of controversial subjects such as conservation of natural environment, poverty, access to eduction and sustainable development. As if that wasn’t enough burden, the effort to gather scholarship funds hasn’t yet produced the expected results… Far from that! In the middle of all this, I need to keep a positive mind, which will be the main driving force: I need/want to continue. Thanks to the experience I bestowed from my childhood till these very days.
Thanks again to Philippe and Yves for insisting and offer a little but worth celebration for this day. And loads of appreciation as well for all the friends who spent their valuable time to send me happy and best wisher.
Morocco, the most western frontier of human movement from Sahara desert and Arabia. Its general environment and ecology describe so many things, for me it is another living laboratory or open book. As I cycled off from Tangier to Rabat, my high feelings of excitement will slowly come down to be replaced with the reality which characterizes continental Africa. The two extreme poles, the high optimism and frustration of poverty or low quality of life. As I cycled in this oppressive heat under a blue sky along crystal blue ocean which offered cool breeze, I though about this place.
This place, if not the whole part of Morocco, has been frontier of prominent human civilizations, has been subjected to a number of them and eventually merged all those influences in what Morocco is today. Today progress is hanging on the air, with not only a booming economy mainly demonstrated by spectacular infrastructures but also by considerable social reforms and progress.
The level of liberty is higher than I expected, considering the country being islamic and having Qur’an as a guidance for the majority. Often the merchants will tell me ‘This is muslim’s prices’. It seems that important laws here are neither written or spoken. Who would expect there would be gay friendly bars in downtown Rabat or prostitution in Casablanca? Being so close to Europe, urban areas here have not much differences, people are less and less conservative, especially in the young generation. Though from time to time, I still come across religion fanatics and learn how deeply this kind of brainwashing affects people. Once they learn I am African, they fancy it and claim brotherhood according to islamic while enquire how Qur’an is practiced in the place I come from. As a believer of good education as the way to progressive humanity, I hope every corner of the world will achieve this one day.
As I cycled to the massive city of Casablanca, I felt the traffic intensifying forty kilometer before the city center. It is traffic of all modes of mobility from bipedal to huge trucks. The most irritating and painful ones are half motorbike-half bicycles… They are hundreds of them polluting with their half burnt fuel and their noise.
I couldn’t find my enthusiasm while visiting the city landmark, a huge mosque stretching to the ocean with a long tower making it the third largest mosque in the world. I felt an equal proportion of fascination for the human art and frustration if one want to think logically: why would somebody spend such a fortune on this while there are much more pressing needs around? I hope one day we will do things according to the important needs and balance our actions.
It wasn’t easy to sort out accommodation in this busy and bustling city. For some reasons, I will serve one which I assume to be race prejudice. Thanks to my acquaintance, Jilali, 65 years old, for his tireless efforts of keeping on walking in city to ease the situation with city informations and a spice coffee break. We knocked into eleven hotels to end up into a huge but empty one with windows next to the mosque’s huge loud speaker.
Companions have been a great support, especially those who joined for a short ride or few days. After a good time with Nelson, I was joined from Casablanca by Mariana.
The presentation to potential donors of American travel group was short and informal, with no projector for the slides. But the environment was very conducive: the sunset on an exquisite riad’s terrace… I was absorbed with talking and forgot about the slides in the iPad. nonetheless the presentation was well received and the discussion very rich, with lots of opinions, comments and questions. The group had a wide knowledge of Africa, including Tanzania they visited a number of times. As they traveled in different countries in the continent, it was easy for them to comprehend my case, understand my cause, and… who knows… contribute to make my dream come true. A big thank you to Gary, Massimo and Le clos des arts!
The old and modern city seems to lay into a wide valley in the Atlas Mountains. It is a fascinating place for landscape, strong and ancient culture, architecture, art, etc. Morocco with its easy access from Europe, multiple destinations and variety of experiences to offer, makes it a very touristic destination. Marrakech is the peak of these swum of tourists. Just as merchants and travelers where attracted here in the old days due to its unique position, it remains today as a get away to the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean.
I am now looking forward to climb the mountains and descend to Agadir, the last main town in Morocco before facing the deep desert throughout Mauritania.