The hard earned 3 last countries of Africa are waiting
Does anyone really know how we got this far?
Africa has certainly been an amazing adventure. I cannot repeat enough how large the continent is. If you learn nothing less from me then please just remember going around Africa is equal to going once around the entire planet! Is a huge continent although not the largest.
If I should quit this project and go home then I really wish you would remember what I have learned. The world is far from a utopian paradise. However the world we live in is so much better that most of you would ever be able to fantasize. People are truly just people and they share far more of the values you have than the media will ever let you know.
Video status 21.05.2017: https://youtu.be/XGlbOVT9YBQ
I understand why people are attracted to negative news. If I were given the choice between 2 articles and one was a car that exploded and the other was about a woman growing sustainable vegetables in her garden... then I would pick the car. However if there were another alternative and not just good and bad news, then I would go for that. I would read the informative article whether it was good or bad. If there were an article saying how many cars explode, what can be done to prevent it and input from 3 experts stating possible scenarios for how we could move forward, then that would be far more educational and interesting than reading something fearful. And much of our news is simply packed with fear. The message appears clear: "It could happen to you. It could happen anytime and anywhere. It's all getting worse!" But you should know that isn't true. In fact most things (by far) are getting better. Now, the woman's article about vegetables could be about how you could do the same. The impact that sustainability has on our future world and 3 experts could way in on various ways that we could live our lives with more care and a greater outcome. However the article would probably simply generate a pat on the back and be squeezed in between the other stories: terror, crooked politics, disease, poverty and then a happy woman growing vegetables. That doesn't appear balanced or representable to me at all. However that's what most newspapers look like today. And as a result people get the impression that the world is on fire. And it really isn't. Though it's true that we have lots of work to do.
I don't feel like writing this blog. I generally put a lot of work and research into them. I write them on my smartphone because it's easier than to write it on my glass faced tablet. I then transfer the text to the tablet and edit the photos. Then I need to upload the photos in the most cryptic way you could possibly imagine because the blog is powered by Joomla which works much better with a laptop or PC. The tablet/iPad was a decision made about 4 years ago when we were planing the Saga. It's good for photos, research, video, social media and it's lightweight too. However it's a nightmare for real work. Once the photos are uploaded to their individual folders I can create the blog online, transfer the text and add the photos one by one. The entire process from writing to posting the blog never takes less than 5 hours and sometimes it takes 9-10. So there goes that day... once every week. That's the work that goes into creating the Friday Blog. Now imagine you really don't want to do it... but you also don't want to fall behind. If I don't get it online then I'll have twice as much content to chose from the following week. I pick what I want to write about. It's far from everything and everyone I meet that goes into the blog. If something has value to me and represent the world and place I am in then it often makes it in. The rest goes deep inside my memory and is recalled if I go through my photos or somehow get reminded by smell, sound, taste or something I see. Memory is far from perfect so I expect a lot of it gets distorted or forgotten. Not much to do about that. I'm fairly busy as it is.
A lot within the Saga gets done "behind the scene" and I don't believe you can imagine how much logistical work goes on everyday through meetings, research and thinking. If I would cut the Red Cross Red Crescent and the social media out of the Saga then I'd be a lot more free. However then it wouldn't be the Saga as we know it and who's to say, perhaps we wouldn't have gotten this far at all. The network across the social media has benefited me greatly and the Red Cross Red Crescent has also played a role a few times (although very rarely). To wonder about how the Saga would have played out without either is like thinking about Schrödinger's cat. Is the cat alive or dead? Who knows without opening the box?
The show must go on...
Sometimes I want to stand up between a crowd of random people and scream: "DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH TO STAND HERE NEXT TO YOU?!?"
And just thinking about that, we could wonder: what have any of us been through to be here? You get to live your life and I get to live mine. Who's to say which of us have the more interesting story... Do you ever stand in line and think about who's standing in front of you? Or ride the bus and wonder what lives those around you have lived? Probably we don't wonder enough about it.
I'm still in Malta. However not for long. I was working on something complicated which fell apart after a few weeks of hard earned work and it wasn't recoverable. I can't reveal more right now however I can tell you that it tore me apart and I considered throwing everything away and going home. I had tears in my eyes but they didn't roll down my face. The went back inside me and flooded my heart. My heart screamed in silence and I was all alone. I couldn't see my way out and if you took the situation apart then most would wonder what got me to that point? Because what I was working on was like painting a single wall in a room inside a castle. Just a single wall. What I felt was the entire castle falling apart around me and I cared! People around me can only see the wall. I see the castle. Eventually a voice in my head said: "Act upon what you preach". Let's keep on keeping on. People are just people. A stranger is a friend you've never met before. Let's keep on keeping on. Let's keep on keeping on...
LET'S KEEP ON KEEPING ON!!!
And so we will. If completing the Saga was easy then anyone and everyone could do it. Get out of bed, drink more water and keep on keeping on.
Malta remains an interesting and beautiful country. At times I focus too much on the constant noise from the traffic which is too much. However you can escape the traffic. I found my way to St. John's Co-Cathedral. A magnificent building with centuries of history.
St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture. It was built as the conventional church for the Knights of St John. The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art. This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship. The audio tour is well worth the visit.
The whole marble floor is an entire series of tombs, housing about 375 Knights and officers of the order. There is also a crypt containing the tombs of Grandmasters like Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, Claude de la Sengle, Jean Parisot de Valette, and Alof de Wignacourt.
The painting depicting 'The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist' by Caravaggio is the most famous work in the church and considered one of Caravaggio's masterpieces. I could see why!! However no photography was permitted of the painting so go google.
Dave managed to create the best meat I've ever had in my life! He smoked it for about 10 hours.
I really like Malta. And I really like the Maltese. Malta is a friendly country however it fades in the light of Sudanese and Egyptian hospitality. The culture is different and the amount of help I receive from people appears to have more to do with the individuals and less with the culture as a whole. Some have been very helpful and have done whatever was within their reach. Others have merely been polite and then minutes later not given me a second thought. The task at hand is not easy: the 3 remaining countries in Africa. How many people in the world would be able to say that they had been to all African nations less 3? Not many I imagine? Last Friday I dropped in on Thomas Smith Shipping to say thank you for the service at my arrival to Malta and inspire, educate and entertain some of the staff members. This flattering article came out of it: https://www.tcsmith.com/danish-globetrotter-reaches-maltese-shores-aboard-gunhilde-maersk/
What keeps me afloat in tough times like these are the good friends within my network. I have been skyping with a few friends which truly relieved my heart. Do any of you remember Dafaalla from Sudan? He calls me now and again and called me a few days ago. Most central to my wellbeing might be my hosts in Malta. Alex and Dave are giving me an enormous amount of support. Both of them are really easy going and they are super kind. If I need my space then I have it. If they are doing something then I'm invited. If anything, they have made my life so much easier than what it would have been without them.
It's at times very hard to put a finger on exactly why I don't break down and go home. I know that many people "out there" envy me and believe that I'm living there dream. I know that because people write me all the time saying so. There is a much darker side to the Saga at times. However looking back I still believe it has all been worth it and that I am doing exactly what I was meant to do. I certainly credit wonderful people like Alex and Dave for keeping me afloat. Sometimes it's a pat on the back or a cup of tea that makes a difference. At times it's something much bigger.
Getting closer to launching the crowdfunding campaign.
I'm not giving up. I'm not going home. I still have some fight left in me!
If Danish is your superpower (or any other Scandinavian language) then this is a real a treat! There are some interesting questions in this one: