Saturday, 30 April 2011

Day 3

So despite my flu, I decided to carry on today. Hanret first suggested that I maybe try and just do short distances until I get better. Good idea! I already started getting itchy feet yesterday!

So today was the stretch between Malmesbury and Moorreesburg. Not far. Only 36Km...but was tough! Partly because I'm ill and partly because of all the gear I'm carrying! The heavy load is fabulous on the downhills, but drags you to snail's pace on the uphills!!

The idea is to push to Piketberg tomorrow and just take it easy. At least I'm making progress.

Between my 2 best friends Elise and Hanret, they're making sure I have a place to stay every night and taking care of admin. Thank you!

The last time I did this route it was right in the middle of summer. Now it's cold and windy! And I know exactly what the road ahead looks like! It doesn't get any easier. I am convinced, however, that I will find my rhythm on the road again soon!
Sent from my Nokia phone

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Day 1

What an amazing send off!! I, in all honesty, could not have asked for a better start to my journey. Friends, supporters and fellow adventurers were there in numbers to see me off. Some came as far as Johannesburg and Knysna!

As an added bonus, the weather played along and we had a beautiful, sunny day!
I had 2 cars following me. Hanret and her mom in the one and Telana (a.k.a. The one matchstick girl) in the other. My friend Jacobus right behind me on his bicycle.
Cristopher Venter and his girlfriend followed for a while on their scooter. Fellow adventurers Ray D. Chaplin, Ricky de Agrela and Justin Patrick Brogan waved and cheered as I passed them. It was really awesome having the guys there.

I made my way through the V&A Waterfront and all along through the harbour. Fellow cyclist, Sven, met up with us in Milnerton to cycle along.

I only did 50km today. I had planned on doing 80km but am afraid my cold/flu, got the better of me.

Depending on how I feel tomorrow, I will either spend another day in Malmesbury or carry on to Piketberg.

Thank you for all my wonderful messages, facebook messages and phone calls! Finally I am on my way!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Packed And Ready To Go!!

Right, the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos mixed with enormous pressure and a pinch of excitement.

I even have customs services at the Airport's number on speed dial!! :D
But luckily they came through for me and processed all my gear relatively quickly.
And with a big thanks to a friend (Jim Blagg) of a friend (Hanret Snyman) in Houston, Texas...I could order all my gear online from the U.S.A, which in turn meant best quality at best prices. :)

So now, on my last day left in Johannesburg, I am busy packing and repacking my gear.
Luna (my bike) has been boxed and is ready for the flight down to Cape Town tomorrow.

Thought I'd share a few photos of my individual gear, the whole caboodle, Luna before she's packed and after she's packed.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Jolandie Partners with Iduka


A few weeks ago, I was approached by an organization named "Iduka".

About Iduka

Iduka, founded in 2009, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote post-secondary education. Since starting its pilot project in Africa in 2010, Iduka has mobilized thousands of local students and volunteers in all of the African countries participating in the program. Iduka is launching a few campaigns to assist African students achieve their goals of post-secondary or tertiary education, including its campaign specifically targeting girls’ education.

They are an organization based in the U.S.A.
"Iduka is committed to bringing change to our community, country, and the world by helping students realize their dreams of a college education."

I have partnered with Iduka in promoting post-secondary education in all the countries I will be cycling through, with a special focus on girls' education.

The Name

The name is inspired by the Latin word educare, which is a root of the English word education. Educare means “to educate, to rear, to teach, to bring up, to raise” or “to support.”

The Mission

Iduka’s mission is to promote college affordability by connecting students with gifters, schools, and community service organizations through an Internet based micro-loan program.

Our goal is to provide students and their families one more financial tool to help them in their pursuit of higher education. We make this possible by offering an innovative plan based in a Web-based micro-lending system that connects gifters with students, and incorporates, whenever possible, student volunteerism as a mean for students to pay back their loans.

The Vision

Our vision is to become the world’s first person-to-person web-based program exclusively devoted to providing student micro-loans to all local, national, and international students in need of additional financial aid.

My Part

I will be acting as Iduka's principal fundraiser. I am working closely with Iduka's Executive Director, Miguel Martim. I will meet with local communities and Iduka volunteers all over Africa, give grants to students and promote education as I go along.
I will also be meeting with government officials in most of the countries I travel through to deliver an open letter, calling on them to deliver on education.

Together, Iduka and I will raise funds for my journey and for Iduka's mission.

We also have a communications officer, Jessica Field, based in the United Kingdom that will help with keeping blogs updated and spreading the word via the internet.

We hope to do some live-streaming of the trip. This is still being discussed.

More information on our partnership and details will follow. So keep and eye on this page.

For more information on Iduka, please visit:

Iduka's Website
Iduka's Blog

So as you can see, this is truly a global event with people involved from all corners of the Earth! :)

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Monday, 11 April 2011

First Aid - Sponsored by ER 24

A HUGE thank you to ER24 for sponsoring my First Aid kit!!


1 x Antiseptic Solution 100ml
2 x Plastic Lock-on Splint
2 x Splint Wadding 100mm
2 x Sterile Gauze 75x75mm 5’s
1 x Forceps - Stainless Steel
1 x Rescue Scissors
2 x Safety Pins 10’s
6 x Triangular Bandage
3 x Conform Bandage 50mm
3 x Conform Bandage 75mm
10 x Anchor Plaster
10 x Plaster Strip
1 x Paper Tape 25mm x 3m
1 x Antiseptic Ointment
2 x First Aid Dressing No.2
2 x First Aid Dressing No.3
2 x First Aid Dressing No.5
3 x Gloves per Pair - Large
3 x Gloves per Pair - Medium
1 x Cervical Collar - Medium
2 x CPR Mouthpiece
1 x Eye Bath
1 x Eye Shield
3 x Eye Pad
4 x Eno Sachet
3 x Crepe Bandage 75mm
3 x Crepe Bandage 100mm
3 x Elastic Adhesive Bandage 50mm
3 x Elastic Adhesive Bandage 100mm
1 x Deep Heat Rub 75ml
2 x Disposable Ice Pack
1 x Rescue Blanket

Plus 5 x Malaria Test Kits.

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Sunday, 03 April 2011

What it feels like to be taken hostage...

Advanced Tactical Training:

Not too long ago I had an interview on one of the most popular and biggest radio stations in South Africa... - 5FM

A day or two after the interview I received an email from the producers telling me that there's a man trying to get hold of me. He said they want to sponsor me some training.
Training? What kind of training?

Well, not too long after I receive a phone call from the man in question.
"We heard your interview on the radio and would like to sponsor you with advanced tactical training" - he says.
"Awesome" - I think to myself. I mean, let's be honest, I will be going though some really hectic areas. And especially now with current affairs as they are, especially in Northern Africa. This is absolutely perfect.

First session, I get picked up and taken to the shooting range where they give their training.
I am being trained in 'Krav Maga'. For those who don't know what it is and would like to know more, you can read up on it HERE.

In short: Krav Maga is a hand-to-hand combat system that was created by one Imi Lichtenfeld. The Israeli military forces get trained in this fighting style. And it's lethal.

So the first day we focus on techniques. Punches, kicks, disarming your assailant etc.
I have to punch, fight, kick, defend and counter attack for my life for 4 hours!!
(Apparently if you can survive for one minute....ONE minute full on can survive) - Just in case you were wondering. ;)

It really is amazing training. And these guys don't take it easy on you either! (Which is use pussy-footing around me and then come a real-life situation and I can't handle it)

Needless to say I could hardly move the next day. It hurt to breathe! (and I'm not over-exaggerating)

But TONIGHT's training is what I really want to share. The experience I had absolutely unbelievably scary, exciting, traumatizing...all at once. (and could save my life)

TONIGHT'S TRAINING (This is what I really want to share)

I had no idea what to expect tonight. I knew we'd be doing 'night training'. But that's it.
So we get to the training site. We wait for the two guys who are supposed to join us. 'They're supposedly running late'.
As it gets dark we leave again to go buy some cool drinks. When we get back on site, it's just about pitch black dark outside. (there are NO lights anywhere)

We stop to wait for the two guys who are joining us.
First thing I notice is (what looks like) a fire cracker being thrown over the wall. (Okay I should maybe just mention that I have had weapons training and some 'scenario training' some years I'm not entirely clueless and I kinda know what to look out for)

I instantly know that this is a 'bomb cracker'. (It's supposed to stun and disorientate me)
So I point it out to the person sitting next to me and cover my ears.
The 'bomb' goes off and I giggle, thinking "HA!!! It's gonna take more than that to scare me". thing I know (and I really did not expect this) I am being RIPPED out of the car. Thrown onto the ground. Hands tied behind my back. (another 'bomb' goes off) Balaclava is pulled over my head. (now I am blind and disorientated)
They're screaming at me from every corner - in Arabic. (I can only see a flashlight through the 'blindfold') I don't scream, cry, talk, try to fight back or anything. I just keep quiet and 'go with the flow'.

I then get frogmarched across a plane of sorts. (I know I must pay attention to anything I can make out about my surroundings - sounds, smells, what I feel under my feet etc) My 'captor' is a heavy breather!
(Although this is only a training exercise, they really make it feel like you are in a real-life-situation!!!)
I am then led down some steps. (I now know that I am being taken underground)
I stumble every now and then. They keep shouting at me in Arabic. Shooting off rounds every now and then.
Eventually (and after what feels like forever) we reach the bottom and they tell me to sit down.

They shout at me some more, asking questions. "Who are you? What's your name? Where are you from? What are you doing here?"
Next thing, they throw a bucket of ice cold water over me. (so now they're 'torturing me')

They then leave me there and tell me that if I try to escape I am dead.
I sit there for a few seconds, dead quiet, trying to figure out whether I really am alone now. (I now realize that I am actually shaking a bit. Yes this is only a training exercise but it's really not that hard to imagine it to be real. Especially with these guys)
Once I'm convinced that there's no one else with me, I free myself from the cable tie they used to bind my hands behind my back with and then pull the blindfold off. (I have also been trained in how to escape these kinds of 'restraints')
(Now had this been a real-life situation, I know I would be dead if they found me untied and my eyes uncovered) So at first I was hesitant to reveal that I had escaped my 'binds'.

The first thing I do is to try and orientate myself. I look and feel around. I try moving around. I can feel tyres (as in rubber vehicle tyres) behind my back and all along the wall. I can hear water trickling outside to my left. (So I know I'm not that far down) At the top of the steps there's also a dim light shining in. So there's an opening there. I can't go that way because I'd be walking right into them. (I am now plotting a potential escape)
I can't see a thing. It's so dark. I can feel tyres all along the ground at my feet. Trying to get out to my left (away from them) isn't an option as I do not know for sure that there is actually a way out in that direction. Even if I did manage to make my way over the 'tyre-obstacle-course' before they got hold of me again. So I wait.

Then they re-appear at the top of the steps and keep a very, very bright torchlight on me.
(This is where I start getting a little nervous. Because I don't know how they will react knowing that I am untied and I can see them)
They keep the light on me for a few minutes, not saying anything. (also meant to intimidate me)

Now they're advancing down the steps. I can't look at them (and wouldn't in any case) because I would get blinded by the light. They start screaming at me again in Arabic. Then asks me a list of questions in English. "What's your name? Where are you from? What are you doing here? Where do you live?". Then a firearm gets cocked. (At this stage I consider answering) But I keep dead quiet with my head down, staring at their feet. They shove me around. Some more screaming. The 'main intimidator' (I have by now figured out who he is, I know him) then tells me that when they return they will ask me one last time. If I do not comply, I am dead.

One of them stay behind... He just stands there. Torch to the floor. I stare at his boots. I'd guess a size 10 shoe. He's wearing 'camouflage' pants. I can kinda judge his size. (would not want to take him on)
He moves closer. Then stands still again for a few seconds. Just staring down at me. (Now I have NO idea what comes next...just trying to brace myself)
He moves closer. Stands staring at me for a few seconds. Now he's right up against me.

He sits down in front of me and says: "Hi Jolandie, my name is *****".
I crack a smile for the first time.

(They all come down and we then discuss what had happened)

I really am extremely grateful for the experience. One can sit and fanticise about how you MIGHT handle such situations. But you never really know how you might react until you are knee-deep in it.

I am happy to report that both my 'captors' and I were very happy with how I handled the situation. Yes, it wasn't FOR REAL. But still. I have never been the kind of person to freak out in a 'tense' situation. And now I just have even more knowledge and know-how to handle potentially life threatening situations in a way that may save my life.

(They told me afterwards that, apparently, at one stage I looked REALLY pissed off and they weren't sure whether I was going to have a go at them) LOL!!!

Well I just wanted to share a little bit of what I am going through before I have even started on this journey of cycling around Africa.
The journey before the journey. :)

The training that followed I'll share another time.

I am extremely grateful that there are so many people out there that believe in me enough, to want to support me in so many ways to ensure my success!

Thank you to every single one of you for all your support.

And tonight, a special thank you to the operators at Tacmo. For giving me this invaluable training! Thank you so so much.

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