Tag Archives: Africa

Elephants, just what the doctor ordered!

16 Aug

Howdy folks,

Well after my last blog post you were probably thinking that being in the middle of Africa may not be the best place to be, and trust me I thought the same a few times as well. But Africa has elephants!

I think it is impossible to be thinking about any “worries about tomorrow” or “regrets over yesterday” while watching these majestic creatures amble by. Oh, by the way if anyone is wondering why I talk about these worries and regrets it is because it originates from my favourite quote, the quote that my tattoos on my back represent. It goes:

“Regrets over yesterday, and worries about tomorrow, are the twin thieves that rob you of the moment”. ANON

Michael Linke the founder of BEN, Namibia has been in town for some training and the opening of our container which opened on Friday (I will post some photos). This weekend past I went along with him and his friend on a camping trip to the nearby Bwabwata National park (Caprivi game reserve). The same park that Mandy and I cycled through for 190km on our way to Katima.

After a challenging week for me, it was just what the doctor ordered. Good company, plenty of laughs, a few wines and plenty of elephants and hippos. For those of you wondering how Mandy is doing? She is experiencing Africa before heading back home. She spent last week at one of Southern Africa’s top 4 game reserves in Zambia, she saw everything and described it as magical. She just texted today saying that after a day long bus ride she has arrived on the shores of Lake Malawi for some much needed rest and relaxation and no doubt beer!

As you can imagine I have plenty of photos of elephants, but have only added a few. And Sich, I got about 3 hours of elephant footage for the doco! (just kidding, only 2.5 hours)

The best Christmas present!

24 Dec

Can you imagine being an orphan in remote sub-Saharan Africa and opening a sea container full of 400 bikes? If not then check out the photo below which sums it up. The little fella in the centre at the front was so excited he got his peace sign around the wrong way, PRICELESS!

The last blog post was of us and the Bicycle for Humanity’s (B4H) volunteers packing a sea container full of bikes. In this blog post I want to share with you what the Bicycle Empowerment Network, Namibia (BEN) does with the sea containers when they receive them at the other end in Africa. The photos below are of the B4H Melbourne container that was sent to Zambia at the start of the year. (Thank you to Ylva for sharing her photos with me)

The container has landed!


Preparing the foundation for the concrete pad. Having a concrete surface to repair bikes on as opposed to picking up nuts and bolts out of the red dirt adds real benefit to the Bicycle Empowerment Centre (bike shop).


Everything coming together.


Making the house a home, or should I say making the sea container a Bicycle Empowerment Centre.


BEN, Namibia founder Michael Linke fixing a buckled wheel in the new bike workshop. Michael said this container was one of the best set-up workshops he had been a part of. This was due to the Bicycle for Humanity volunteers that organised $8000 worth of building materials to be placed in the container and them having the time and skills to go to Africa and co-ordinate the construction.


The hard working volunteers that made the trip over and organised all the building materials that enabled the construction of the best implemented sea container bike workshop out of the current 40 workshops that are operating.


Training the locals.  This is what I love about the charity, the bikes aren’t just given to locals and forgotten about, they are trained as bike mechanics and in how to run the bike shop as an ongoing sustainable business. Any profits go straight back into bike shop. It’s run by locals, for locals!


This is what it is all about, smiling African orphans with bikes that would have otherwise been landfill or still cluttering up someone’s garden shed collecting dust.


To all that have donated to the B4H charity, helped out/been a part of/follwed the Final Continent expedition, I can’t wait to be posting these photos from our container!

And on the fundraising front, GREAT NEWS, we received the best Christmas present as well, another $2,500 donation! This takes our total funds raised to just over $8000! Now only $4000 more to go before we reach the $12,000 target, which covers the transportation costs of sending the sea container to Africa (you can check out our progress at our charity fundraising page http://www.everydayhero.com.au/hapworkingtheworld).

A big THANK YOU to our recent donors: Leah and Craig, Nicola, Nic and Amy, Andy, Matt and Linnley at the Beer Library, Richard Inglis, Jacky and Trev and Julie Thorpe.

Currently I’m back home in NZ for Xmas/NY, and really looking forward to chilling out, no writing, no expedition, no rocks (I work with rocks), just family, friends and sunshine (maybe a few beers). So I hope everyone has an AWESOME Chrissy and NY, and I will catch you next year.

Nuthin but Love, Hap

PS Another great Christmas present would be if my lost baggage would turn up (been lost a week now1). So, if anyone from Jetstar is reading this (even if it’s at your call centre in India I’ve been dealing with) I would really appreciate if you would call me back. Luckily mum allowed me to open my Chrissy present early – gotta love fresh smelling Christmas undies!


The Final Continent Documentary!

14 Sep

Howdy Folks,

I got some great news last week. Richard Sidey (Sich) confirmed that he’s onboard for the final continent expedition and super pumped to make the documentary!

For those of you that don’t know Sich, I first met him through good friend Hazel Boot the amazing singer/songwriter none the less. When she was visiting last year in Paraguay she told me to get in contact with him as he was working as a videographer onboard an Arctic/Antarctic cruise ship. After meeting the crazy Antarctic work obsessed guy (me) briefly in the port of Ushuaia, Argentina (Sich pictured above showing me where his cruise ship had come from on the hostel map I was staying at in Ushuaia) he made some inquiries a couple of weeks later and got the inside word that an assistant waiter was desperately needed. A month later the below photo was taken, Sich welcoming me to the continent of Antarctica.

So who is this guy that is going to be cycling along with us through Southern Africa with his camera in hand documenting the final continent expedition, tying in my working the world quest and the amazing stories of people I have met along the way. If you are concerned for my safety and want to do a background check and make sure he’s not some sexual deviant with a fetish for skinny 28 year old Kiwi males then check out the following links

Sich’s blog – http://sichonice.blogspot.com

His website – http://www.richardsidey.com

His trailer to his latest imagery film from 3 years of working in the Arctic and Antarctic- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wV3V4VY4Rk

His award winning time lapse of New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, titled ‘Aeon’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpjQa2aSgMk

If you went into the above links (Or just checked out these photos of his that I’ve posted – how crazy the one above with the bear) you will see that I’m extremely lucky to have someone of Sich’s calibre on board. But it’s not just his wicked camera skills that excite me or his stunning good looks (I should really avoid having pints before writing blog posts), it’s his passion for the project! The only thing I can offer him is the guarantee that at some point along the way he will wish he hadn’t volunteered for this role, accompanied with a sore butt (from cycling all day), the high probability of diarrhoea, mosquito born diseases, dehydration and most of all plenty of good times, laughs and an unforgettable journey.

We have already had some epic email sessions about the documentary, and if you know about my ridiculously long email writing reputation then you will sympathise with Sich who received my longest ever email, it took me over 2 hours to write, flat out non-stop, unpunctuated Hap excitable babble…….. This was Sich’s reply to my email

My god Hap, are you in the clinic getting treated for OOS yet?? That was one massive body of text. I read through a massive bowl of weet-bix and cornflakes mix, two pieces of toast with manuka honey and then two cups of tea and I was still reading. What an effort!………….

I’m not going to divulge much more about Sich’s idea, the documentary is his little baby, and a good looking baby too. He’s currently doing some covert operation in the Himalaya’s (he actually is, well not covert but he’s there cycling or hiking doing something adventurous, the kind of stuff we would all want to be doing right now instead of reading this with a full day of work ahead). But it isn’t all fun and games, there are plenty of things to organise before Africa, prior filming, organising of interviews, coming here to Melbourne for filming, Nelson for filming, overseas interviews and the biggest obstacle of all, gaining funding for the doco! Although Sich said if all else fails we can do it Kiwi styles with duct tape and number 8 wire with the gear he has at present. Ideally if he’s going to pour his heart and soul into this project he will be wanting to use the best gear he can get – plus I’m hoping better gear will make me look better. If anyone has contacts or knows of filming grants etc please get in contact.

So that’s it folks, come the 2012 NZ/Australia/International film festivals watch out for Richard Sidey’s documentary masterpiece!