Dear followers,
Allow me to start by apologizing for keeping you in the dark for so long. We are in the Southern hemisphere and at the moment, it is winter. Looking out of the window right now, I see big dark clouds and a freezing North-western wind! You might be wondering how ones 'sees' wind! :) I actually see the rain drops crossing my window from left to right. Today, it's raining horizontally!
The good news is, the rain is getting more scarce and the days are getting longer and warmer. From early next month, you will be seeing more pictures of our training and of the places that we will be visiting.
The trailers design and construction has been taken over by my Friend Shuaib, whom we originally contacted to make us hitches to join the trailers to the bicycles and who decided that he didn't like our design. Shuiab has built trailers for busses, We assume that he knows what he's doing.
BUT, we have ran into very annoying delays and problem and general administrative issues with getting Charlene's passport, as you might remember from one of the earlier Blogs. At present, there is almost no chance for her to get a new Zimbabwean Passport. For those of you who follow African news, Zimbabwe is just as described in the media.
She has started the process of applying for South African citizenship based on her mother's nationality. But once again, being in Africa, things do not happen at the speed that one would expect them to happen at.
I would like to pause at this point to mention that this last sentence was not meant to be pejorative. It is merely a statement of the state of affair. I, myself, have become quite accustomed to this and thouroughly enjoy the relaxed African attitude towards various aspects of life (like time constraints).
Additionally, as we all know, an administration can take any activity requiring about 8 minutes of work by one normal person and transform it into a 3 months long process requiring 27 signatures, 6 meetings, 2 weeks of public objection period, 7 stamps, 3 affidavits in triplicates and of course 4 black and white ID pictures.
This feature of general administration is also subject to cumulative African time effect :)
This lengthy introduction leads us to the conclusion that Charlene will n ot have a passport by October. The process of application for citizenship was a 3 months process which is now nearing the end of it's 6th. The people whom she has contacted assured her that it would take a maximum of 9 months. This brings her citizenship to November or December.
We then add 3 months of Passport application which thankfully is more or less a constant and We'll be in March.
The WheelPower Africa Cycle Challenge will therefore be postponed by exactly 1 year!
We sincerely apologize for the delay and hope that you understand that this delay is entirely caused by factors we have no control over.
There is a plus side to this delay.
We will now have an additional full summer of training. We have all our gear and our trailers are days from fully operational. We are now looking forward to mini-WheelPower challenges to make our followers discover the western Cape through our eyes.
The important point to remember is that we are not giving up! We have Chaeli children who are counting on us to do this trip for them, we have you, our followers who are counting on us to help these children. WheelPower Africa is happening!