Ride Day 1! Our first day on bikes was a huge success!
We started off on a bit of tarmac but quickly turned onto dirt roads that lead us past remote Zambian villages. Our small group is learning the benefits of sturdy bikes very quickly. While riding on paved roads is only slightly more challenging than it is in the US, dirt roads are absolutely unforgiving and often full of sand.
We sustained only minor injuries (mostly stemming from sitting on a bike seat for hours) and the one major bike malfunction was addressed by our fantastic mechanics in minutes and riders were well on their way before they had time to rest.
Our evening accommodations were once again in our lovely two person tents (mats and pillows provided!) but this time we were able to enjoy camping at a rural clinic. The amazing team with Thorntree Safaris provided shockingly good food from their outdoor, self-built, “portable” kitchen and all riders went to bed with full bellies and tired muscles.
The one major hurdle for all involved was the “basic shower”. Because we camped at a clinic and not a camp site, shower facilities were not available. A three sided “shower” was constructed with tarps, string, a hose and a shower head. Warm water was not an option. Ever single rider braved the cold water with something resembling a smile, thankful for any way to rinse a days worth of sunscreen caked with dirt off their tired limbs.
The clinic we stayed at plays a dual role for the surrounding village. In addition to medical services, they are also an emergency orphanage. Should a mother pass away and the father not be available to care for the children, the clinic will take charge of them until the family can sort out funeral, and eventually decide who will raise them. Unfortunately, there is the occasional case where the family is unwilling or unable to care for the children. There were two young boys at the clinic while we were there who had been left with no family. Because the clinic is not truly an orphanage, the children are cared for by the staff, and any cleaners who are around after hours keep an eye on them. The hardest thing in the world was leaving that clinic without bringing those gorgeous boys with us.
As I'm sure you can understand, internet has been a bit hard to nail down . . . more blog posts WILL come!