The Lucky One?

Happy that my friend Mr. Bashi set me up in modest but nice room convenient and in proximity to the wireless access point, Gorillas Hotel in Kigali is the first in many weeks that offers free wireless internet for its guests. Eager to update my blog while catch up on email I was happy to hear that my guardian angel, Martha from Malawi, made contact with Peter in Lilongwe and my Moleskine book and blue dry-bag are one step closer to me. Meanwhile, Martha made a police report and armed with the serial number of my phone served search warrants with the two major mobile cellular carriers in Malawi in hopes they can track down who has my missing phone. It’s a longshot, but worth a try. I guess.


Gohanda. Just another perspective.


Keep your eye in the grass.


Rwanda. Rwanda. Rwanda.

Long shots. Have you ever given up on something? Just tossed it as a learning experience, barely worth the effort exerted? Ever say to yourself or a friend, don’t bother, I’ve tried that before and it won’t work? Or just say something like forget it, “kiss it goodbye, you’re in Africa. You’ll never get it back.” People close to me know about my infectious and sometimes annoying optimism. For the most part, with me the glass is always more than half full. Good things happen. There’s good in humanity and life is good. And it’s about how much you put into it. If you invest into something, you should reap returns. As an associate and friend of mine used to love to say “garbage in; garbage out”. So put something good in and…?

Well I get a lot of garbage – junk – e-mail. And it’s annoying. Since I was wondering around Ngorogoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti sleeping in a tent and hanging with my friends Simon and Big Ben, I hadn’t checked email for nearly a week. My inbox loaded with SPAM, I started deleting. And deleted more. And more. Just about to hit delete, for some reason the subject of an odd email stopped me.

Subject: Your tyre

Subject: Your tyre
Date: March 2, 2008 8:07:26 PM GMT+03:00
To: allan karl

In American English we spell those rubber things we put on cars, trucks and motorcycles “tires”. So this email at first appeared like junk/spam but I clicked it open and in the second time in a few weeks I had to pull my jaw off the keyboard of my MacBook Pro laptop computer:

Hi Allan,
I believe you lost a spare tyre between Lusaka and Chipata. It has been found near Mpanshya Mission, about 60 km west of Luangwa bridge, and it is kept safe here.
Kindly advise what we should do with it.
Michael Scholz

On January 29, 2008, on the road from Lusaka to Chipata in Zambia a spare tire I carried flew off my bike when cheap South African bungy cords broke. I traced more than 30km over two hours hoping to find the tire on or beside the road. But bush-grass taller than me permeated the landscape and steep embankments ran down to streams, rivers and minor gorges. I was sure the tire took a huge bounce and disappeared into the bush. Though I tried my best, not willing to give up – yet.

I stopped a half-dozen people along the way asking – hoping – that someone saw it. I gave my Zambian cellphone number to a few people. The promised to call if it turned up. A guy on a bicycle told me he knew the people who cut the grass on the roadside and promised to call. A couple students said they didn’t see anything but promised to call if something turned up.

Dejected and spent, I spent my last night in Zambia at the Hill View Lodge in Chipata. Nobody called me. The next day I lost my phone with my important black book. I hoped February would start better than January ended.

Now the black book is on its way back to me and my tire is in safe-keeping in Zambia. And who said that once you lose something in Africa, you’ll never get it back? Be positive my friends. Be positive!

I’ve made contact with Ray Wilson, the legendary KTM dealer from Lusaka who will retrieve the tire for me and find a way to get it to me in Northern Africa.

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