February 2009 - Issue 4 - Sudan
• North African Source of Life • The Meaty Continent • Featured Projects
PRACTICE • LEARN • SHARE
Letter from the Editor Dear Newsbeet Reader,
(3) ‘Journey to the Source’ by Angus Argyle (4) ‘Jungle Joy’ by Tamara Jacobi (5) Sudan beettv and routelog (6) team blogs ‘A North African Source of Life’ (7) ‘A Meaty Continent’ Classifieds (8) ‘Lost in Seasonland’ (9) ‘It Should Be No Surprise’ by Pete Dronkers
Welcome to our Sudan edition and Issue #4 of Newsbeet. Inside, we have two wonderful articles from Jon and Aukje, a great get-away deep in the jungles of Mexico, ponderings on the ‘Economic Crisis’ and a recipe for adventure. WE WANT YOU! Newsbeet is seeking a team of volunteer writers who would like to publish regular columns. If you are the type of person who is interested in new technologies, organizations across the globe, international music or have column ideas of your own, then we want to hear from you. Please send all column/content ideas to email@example.com I look forward to hearing from all of you. Your New Newsbeet Content Editor Amanda Gomm
Editors: Jon Earle and Aukje van Gerven Content Editor: Amanda Gomm Assistant Editor: Angus Argyle Contributing Writers: Tamara Jacobi, Angus Argyle, Pete Dronkers Contributing Photographers: David Henley, Tamara Jacobi
Cover Photo: Van Gerven – Cycling into the sunrise in the desert
‘Journey to the Source’ - by Angus Argyle (Canada) Journey to the Source 2008 was an adventure for four friends who cycled across northern Tanzania. If you would like to replicate what we experienced you first need a few key ingredients. First off, you will need two passionate gentlemen from New Zealand, one fun-loving Dutch woman, and a mellow Canadian lad. Gently place them all on single-speed bicycles. Next, you should incorporate a healthy serving of humour, loads of patience, and good communication skills. Lastly, garnish with a Swahili-English translation book, a copy of Lonely Planet's East Africa publication and a local mobile phone. If you follow this recipe, there is no doubt your end result will be wildly flavourful. Our Tanzanian dish started in the coastal town of Pangani with 50 km of bumpy red dirt road heading inland. We came face to face with several long hills that made me groan in the heat of the day as we pushed our loaded bikes. But, the best part about hills is that once you get to the top, and after a very thorough brake check, you get to grip onto your handle bars, lift your legs and yell “WHEEEEE!!!” as you race down the other side. The fantastically mild weather, the small herds of goats, and the quiet stretches of open highway will smile upon you as you pedal into the beautiful sunsets nestled between gently sloped mountains. Over 600 km of road and countless tire punctures lie between you and the edge of the Serengeti National Park.
oranges, mangoes, bananas and large avocados top off the menu. In Tanzania, you get to be fully immersed in Swahili, and you learn about local issues through coincidental meetings with government and education workers. At the end of the journey, you can visit the Oldupai Gorge, site of the oldest known remains of humans’ ancestors, and donate your bicycles to a local school. Months after you have completed this flavourful Tanzanian dish, the complex taste of it will linger. Everyday occurrences will trigger memories of magical moments, emotionally charged events and lessons learned. And, for a brief instant, you will be back in Tanzania with your friends. For a short film and taste of the adventure, watch "The Story of the Phoenix"
Friendly greetings from locals, especially children, follow you as you glide through a village or pass by a family farm. But, events will unfold that help you to realize that this is much more than a mere bicycle trip. At the end of the day, curious locals may surround you as you set up camp and repair punctured tires. Meals of goat soup, rice, beans, deep-fried chicken, local specialties, and lots of fresh Aukje, Jon, Angus and Dave - Journey to the Source participants
‘Jungle Joy’ - By Tamara Jacobi (United States) I have assumed my early morning perch in the jungle. A visit to the composting toilet is actually quite enjoyable—the scent of wood chips, the cheerful sound of birds singing their early morning songs, the comfy seat lid embroidered with a palm tree, the walls of bamboo and a sand floor. This charming natural toilet is part of Tailwind Outdoor, an eco-lodge I run with my family, deep in the heart of Nayarit, one of Mexico’s jungle states. The view from my morning perch is sweet. I gaze out over swaying palms and the ocean nearly 200 ft below me. Off in the distance, I see the green papaya trees planted just last year when Tailwind first opened. I consider how these trees have gracefully survived the vicissitudes of jungle life and have now become harmonious with their surroundings. I smile and think of Tailwind’s own evolution towards a similar harmony and sustainable relationship with the jungle. It is December 2008 and I have returned to San Pancho with my family to launch another year of Tailwind bungalows and adventure tours (sea kayaking, hiking and surfing). After the summer rains the jungle appears twice as dense as when I last saw it. My skin is moist with the light jungle humidity. The clear blue skies above promise yet another wondrous day of tropical living. The Tailwind headquarters, a collection of eco-bungalows, palapas, dipping pools, jungle trails, rooftop decks and more, sits on five acres of wild jungle and a white sand beach that borders a spectacular stretch Pacific coastline. Tourism season here runs from November to May and after three months of rainy summer weather we are back to open up for our second year in business. I do hope that, like our papaya trees, we have rooted ourselves for a long future in the jungle and great times ahead. On this jungle morning, inspiration and energy flows through my veins as I think of the exciting possibilities that await Tailwind in the coming months. I’m spending the first few weeks of my return to the eco-lodge preparing the land for visitors, which involves plenty of laboring, yet, rewarding tasks. I have crazily swung around a machete to clear jungle trails to the beach, carefully sanded the wooden platforms of our eco-bungalows and resurrected our two-person canvas safari tents. Today, my father and I will continue to put our creative skills to practice as we construct railings out of drift wood and rope, gauge the performance of our rain water collection system and ready ourselves with excited anticipation for our first guests of the season.
We are working very hard to embed a sustainable tone to the development of this area and our wonderful relationship with the local community plays a large part in that goal. The local kids regularly come and explore our jungle trails, helping us to identify the abundance of flora and fauna we have on these lands. The Tailwind staff is also involved in San Pancho’s new organic, community garden, and we donate 1% of our profits to local environmental and educational non-profits. Tailwind seeks to demonstrate what sustainable development on this coastline can look like and we strongly encourage local developers and business owners in San Pancho to regularly visit our headquarters and learn about realistic sustainable design and business practices. This year, we will be taking on the challenge of achieving certification through Sustainable Travel International. This certification will not only strengthen our relationship with the land and the community of San Pancho, but will also further develop Tailwind’s reputation as an environmentally, economically and socio culturally-friendly lodge. So, my jungle adventure continues. I sit here in my favorite outhouse on the planet and enjoy a ray of sunlight on my face for a few moments before diving into the day. I toss a scoop of woodchips into the toilet and head down the jungle trail. There is much to do before our first guests of the season arrive tomorrow. I’m eager to see the look on their faces when they see this jungle paradise. Sharing this place with others is truly a gift Feel free to come and share the remarkable natural wonders of this region. Let us experience a sustainable lifestyle together. Viva la selva! The Tailwind experience awaits . . . (LINK)
Photo: Tamara Jacobi
routelog - Sudan What is
A slow journey to: Practice being true Learn about sustainability Share this knowledge with others
beettv See the past issue Ethiopia: Aukje's burnt lip and hobble, Jon's encounter with the bucket and bowl. (10 mins)
A sample of our HD material, plus a short story of beetroute so far. (10mins)
Kms Travelled: 500kms approx (limited time
due to visa) take a journey through Sudan with the beetroute team. Desert, sand, the Nile, and more… (10mins)
Water in Plastic bottles consumed: 6.5L Highlight: cycling through Nubia Lowlight: the constant heat just north of
Metema, both day and night
A North African Source of Life - Jon In the past ten years, I have grown to respect rivers. My time spent working as an outdoor instructor and paddling from source to sea in New Zealand created this lifelong respect. Through keen observation, I became aware of the effects humans were having on these life-supporting highways. While cycling northward, parallel to Africa's longest river, I have noticed three types of human interference on the Nile. The Nile is 6695 km long and passes through nine different countries. “In searching for the source of the Nile, it became associated with the Garden of Eden.” (Brief Histories of Almost Anything). But for better or for worse, the Nile, like most other rivers across the globe, is being exploited. The White Nile itself is about to be dammed again, below the Namubaale and Kiita Dams in Uganda. “The $800-million hydropower project is the largest foreign investment made in East Africa.” (Guardian) This will cause homes, crops and land closest to the river to be flooded. The Ugandans living and working along its banks will become the world’s newest environmental refugees. A South African company is proposing large irrigation channels. They plan to divert water, up to 30 km from the river, (export.gov.il) in order to assist agriculture in Sudan. Another major concern for the White Nile is pollution. Runoff of effluents and fertilisers into the river from farms and other industries effect those living downstream. For example, increased salinity gives farmers low grade soil to work with, and the shrimp catch in the Mediterranean has decreased. (about.com). The Sudd, an area of the Nile, located in southern Sudan has a water evaporation rate of 55% annually (answers.com). This natural loss is due to the sun’s hot glare but with the increased human pressure and control over this waterway, Sudan’s vast swamp area, which the Nile feeds, has the potential to dry up completely during different times of the year. This would leave plants, animals and humans all in desperate search for this liquid life source. Further downstream, in the city of Khartoum, the White and Blue Niles unite. This area is home to over two million people. Yet, despite the large number of people depending on this world-famous river system, raw sewage, plastics and other harmful pollutants in the waterway are creating health problems.
Because the Nile flows through nine different countries, the implications of political agendas impact the countries both up and downstream. In 1964, with Soviet help, Egypt constructed the Aswan High Dam, along the country’s border with Sudan. “This dam became a symbol of Third World Independence from neo-colonial control.” (Brief Histories of Almost Anything). The dam regulates a constant flow of water into the county and ensures that the citizens of Egypt have enough water to farm, drink and provide food all year long. But, the implications to Sudan are not as positive as they are for Egypt. Some 60,000 Nubians were relocated, up to 600 km from their homes. We travelled alongside this mighty river on and off for months. My respect for this enchanting river deepened as we witnessed the start of Uganda’s new dam, chatted with the Nubian communities whose livelihoods depend on the river, and learned about the history and significance of the High Aswan Dam. It will be interesting, to see how this region progresses in the years to come.
References http://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/river-nile-facts.html http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/may/31/energy.uganda http://www.export.gov.il/Eng/_Articles/Article.asp?ArticleID=6481&CategoryID=646 http://geography.about.com/od/specificplacesofinterest/a/nile.htm
A Thought on the River of Life. Like in a life, a river begins its journey at the source and in its purest form. It then trickles slowly downstream entering into a flow. Here, the river can move quickly but calmly, create rapids, and other times slow down to almost a meander. There are waterfalls, which can give you a feeling of adrenaline or utter fear and panic. Rivers can run into hazardous features that can halt progress, these features can even potentially be fatal; but most rivers no matter what the course continue to flow through and reach the sea. Like rivers, we just need to be true to ourselves, avoid building artificial barriers, and keep our systems of support strong and healthy. Most importantly, we must never let the extreme heat of the sun dry up our hopes and dreams. If we keep those alive, the view of the sea of possibilities, is that much more exhilarating.
‘The Meaty Continent’ - Aukje One thing that has become very evident here in North and East Africa, is that most Africans love to eat meat! It has been 9 years since I have placed a morsel of seasoned chicken or juicy steak into my mouth but here on this continent, it is hard to avoid. Straight into our trip, I was challenged with no other option but to eat goat soup, or beef stock, but most of the time a solid serving of beans and rice would suffice as a vegetarian dish. In Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia, one could have injera with shiro (bean puree) and in Sudan our selfcooked pasta would close a long day. But it wasn’t until reaching Khartoum that something dawned on me. I stood in front of a mirror and I didn’t look healthy. Being naturally thin is fine, but when your breastbone is sticking out and your cheeks are hollow, you need to start packing on more calories. I made an indisputable decision: my health is more important than my principles. With hardly any other options to gain weight, it was time to start eating meat again. It differs in each country or region, but you will find mostly goat, sheep and chicken as the main meat dishes in Africa. Beef is available, but expensive. There are butchers in most villages, where the freshly slaughtered animal will hang in front of the store and customers can point to the piece of meat they would like to purchase; a world of difference between our neatly packed chicken fillets or rump steak in the supermarkets. In rural areas of Africa, it is obvious that meat not only comes from animals but that meat is an animal in an altered state. A refreshing and honest approach, I think. Western culture’s meat consumption is enormous and people often seem to forget that the juicy morsel laying on their plate, next to the potatoes and veggies, was just a few days ago, alive. Don’t dare say anything bad about someone in the west’s dog or cat, but the fact that worldwide, more than 50 billion animals are killed for food* every year is ‘normal’. It’s not normal! The meat industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world and meat consumption is one of the top two or three contributors to serious environmental problems, from local to global**.
Aside from pollution, there is also ethics. What happened to respect for nature? People used to hunt for their meat, or farm their animals until they were fat and ready to be eaten. They were part of the circle of life. In our western world, it is just consumption. The process of slaughtering a sheep on the Islamic Holiday of Eid fascinated me. The whole family joined to watch the sheep being killed, and then butchered. As if they were watching their daily soap opera!! Don’t get me wrong, it is not as if the cattle here are treated any better then back home, but in many places, animals are at least part of a more natural process. They live on the land, not in small cages, and are a part of life, not tucked away. They eat and shit on the streets, healthy or dirty, and are always there for everyone to see, smell and experience. I have been eating meat now for a few weeks. It feels funny. A part of me feels guilty for collaborating with this polluting industry, and as an animal-lover, I would much prefer only to eat the meat of ‘happy cows’, if such a thing exists at all. Maybe it’s better to call them ‘honest cows’, here in Africa, the meaty continent. * http://animalrights.change.org ** H. Steinfeld et al., Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, Livestock,
Classifieds SEEKING FRESH & DYNAMIC VIDEO MARKETING TOOLS FOR YOUR BUSINESS/FOUNDATION/PROJECT? Along the beetroute, we are making tools for sustainable focussed business, organisations or projects, that are looking to show life on-the-ground to their investors or as a sales pitch for further investment. These funds have directly financed beetroute's ongoing journey costs. beetroute is seeking further projects, businesses or organisations in Turkey, and Europe that are working towards sustainability. We have a sample of our work, and have a reference from our previous client, which we can send on request.
â€˜LOST IN SEASONLANDâ€™ - Document Snowboard Magazine #5 And of course, sometimes you stop, look around and wonder what you're doing with your life. Like when you choose between new snowboard goggles or between a mountain bike and getting your car fixed because you need it all. When you suddenly wake up and somehow you are 26, smart, talented and still compiling your 'crap job list'. Crap job #47 - carrier of scaffolding. When your best friend talks about her promotion and what she's having done to her new kitchen - not the kitchen but HER kitchen. When you are a fullfledged 'grown up' and your parent's fridge is still an Aladdin's cave filled with edible treasure, the likes you haven't tasted since the lat time you were at home. When a double bed with a duvet feels like Christmas, Easter and your last ten birthdays all rolled into a piece of furniture. Sometimes when the surf is crap or it hasn't snowed in two weeks and you feel immobilised. You get to the point when you are wondering if the next time you'll notice you'll be 37 and still marooned in seasonland on crap job #85 and saying to yourself "just one more summer/winter and then I'll do something serious" . BUT THEN . You make a mundane trip to buy a phonecard and the setting sun has coloured the mountain snow a brilliant unearthly vermilion. The unjustifiable beauty of the ocean as the sun sinks below the horizon with you and your surfboard merging into the scenery. That's when you realise this isn't a postcard or advert, this is your life. You can drop in on your friends unannounced and someone always has time for a game of chess. Nobody gives a shit how much you earn. The feeling of a body that is naturally fit through your interests without irreplaceable hours that evaporate in a gym. You get used to the fish jumping metres from where you are bobbing and the jellyfish doing what they do best, absolutely nothing. The utter stillness of the mountains as you ascend on a chair lift. You take it for granted: the different cultures you are living amongst, just how lucky you are to be living in a time, situation and society that allows you to do pretty much as you please. Your freedom of movement. Your freedom. The most enjoyable part is hindsight. In retrospect you forget about the insects, being broke, being ripped off, the inhumane living conditions and loosing your stuff, money, bottle or rag. You remember the individual characters of cultures/countries, the unique colours and lights, the tastes, the textures. How years later the fragrance of a meal projects you through a haze of routine, to a place you thought you'd forgotten.
Most of us eventually find our place to stay. Ironically it's usually not so far from where we started from, the place we thought would be dismal in comparison to the rest of the mysterious world. Your life finds a natural rhythm and you blend into an existence you never thought you could. And maybe you lose your wanderlust but the subtle changes are still there. The way you can wait for a late flight or train. When you can convey your wishes to somebody who doesn't speak the same language without any embarrassment or ignorance. That's when your sacrifices, uncertainties and indignities seem to dissolve and it all seemed worthwhile. So you grab your pack, kiss your crying mum goodbye and head off again in search of excitement, inspiration, the unknown and crap job #48.
Photo: Peter Scott. Location: Whitewater, BC.
’It Should Be No Surprise’ - By Pete Dronkers (United States) It should be no surprise to the readers of this newsletter that the world economy is in bad shape. I used to work as an organizer to protect public lands as designated wilderness in the United States, and it worked. Now, non-profit budgets nation-wide are drying up. I now work on an assembly line with uneducated people who voted for “the white guy.” But it works to pay the bills, and if I had no work I’d reduce my expenses and go live in a tent somewhere beautiful and barter services for food. No matter what, it seems like there’s always a way to see the good side of things. It might get much worse, but I’m not worried about starving just yet, and I’d get a lot of backpacking done if I lived in a tent somewhere beautiful. In Detroit, automakers are on the verge of extinction, while the federal authorities are considering handing them $350 billion to bail them out of the crisis. But do we need more cars? My car was built in 1989 and still rolls when I can’t ride my bike. As I write this, it is sitting in the shop getting an assessment for an engine rebuild, which will cost 1/3 the price of a new car and use only about 5% of the raw materials that a new car would. And it gets better mileage than most of the newest compact cars. Common sense, right? Let the automakers fail. I work on the assembly line with a slight grin on my face while I listen to news podcasts and commentary from some of the world’s brightest minds. I believe a greater good will come from the “crisis”. Now is a critical time, as people here and in other developed countries are learning that for too long we’ve lived beyond our means, had expectations rather than appreciation, and relegated our bodies to the couch rather than the mountains, plains, deserts, or oceans. Let the banks take the house you could never afford and put two families in it instead of one. Let the financial industry collapse and send the Wall Street executives into bankruptcy. Let the personal injury lawyers and the multitude of consultants, policy analysts, and preachers go into the field, and get their hands dirty while they bury their pride.
Photo Opposite: Pete Dronkers enjoys the economic collapse while living out of a tent somewhere beautiful.
It may take a while until people caught up in the hype realize that every day is a gift to be cherished, and every meal is a blessing. Slow the clock down, work less, and see what happens. It might be then that people start from scratch. Then we’ll watch as it rebounds to sustainability, and everyone is humbled. Communities start working together. Neighbors start to actually know each other as they work to build their communal wind turbine or neighborhood farm, or as they help rebuild the engines of 30-year-old cars with the folks that used to build new ones in Detroit years ago. For us, this transition will come more easily. But we can help to prepare those who have perpetually lived within their comfort zone, kicking and screaming when they have to do something difficult, not knowing it’s actually rewarding in the end. It’s a good time to be alive. I’m not sure how long I’ll be working the assembly line, but if the economy continues to crash I’ll be looking out for the sustainability it will inevitably induce, thinking of a proverb that was coined by an Arabian oil tycoon: My grandfather rode a horse My father drove a car I fly in a private jet My son will ride a horse And that, I believe, is keeping it real. That is real wealth as we will understand it in the 21st century.
A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line. He says: “OK, now what?” (laughlab.co.uk)
Do you think your jokes are better? Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Issue ... April
Earle â€“ Nubian girl
"We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to." - Terri Swearingen
Contact Information: www.beetroute08.blogspot.com email@example.com
Featuring: - 'Journey to the Source' by Angus Argyle; 'Jungle Joy' by Tamara Jacobi; 'Lost in Seasonland' by unknown; 'It should be no surpr...