Erin's Tour d'Afrique Bike of a Blog!
An 8,000 mile personal and philanthropic adventure across Africa…

Easter in Kasunga

As the second starry twilight descended over the Tour d‘Afrique’s rest day at Chitimba Beach, I wizened up to the fact that we were surrounded by water in one direction and mountains in every other direction. I have not yet mastered biking across water (I’m saving this for Victoria Falls in a few weeks), so this could only mean one thing…more epic climbing across Africa!!!

I like the challenge of climbing, especially given that we will soon face long, flat and less varied days in Zambia and Botswana, so I put in two hard days in my easiest gears. The altitude brought some relief from the relentless humidity…especially when Dave pulled off the road half-way up a 10 kilometer climb, and jumped into a waterfall shrieking. Ahhh Dave. I managed to hang onto the “bros” into lunch on our first climbing day to the town of Mzuzu, and even dropped them during the afternoon. The bros have a propensity for lingering around lunch forever, and then stopping for three or four cokes before camp. Thus they get beat and publicly shamed in the blogosphere by girls who are slower, but significantly more disciplined at pacing. The tortoise strategy works on this Tour!

Our camp in the town of Mzuzu completely refreshed me. I had a hot shower, took a long nap, hung out with fun people, remembered it was Good Friday after I ate two bowls of meat, had an uninterrupted night’s sleep and even finagled fried eggs and cornflakes for breakfast instead of the usual porridge. The day following Mzuzu was a “mando” day with over 2,000 meters of climbing, our most to date. It was tough love. We rode through forests and former forests, so witnessed the devastating effects of deforestation in Malawi in the smell of freshly cut pine lining the roads. It rained and stayed cloudy all morning, which provided a generous respite from the heat. The afternoon resulted in a tricky crosswind, which at one point blew my bike and me clear across the road on a steep downhill as I shouted “wooooaa booyyyy” to the amused locals.

Canadian Lani counted the day’s uphills, which amounted to 41, including a final nasty one directly into camp. Camp was a delight- cooler temperatures and a bustling schoolyard full of curious children. The boys started an impromptu football (soccer) game, and I enjoyed the sight of intercultural competition and the Malawi team of children winning easily against the TDA boys. The mothers and older sisters of these children sang religious hymns in the background, well beyond sunset, to welcome the dawn of Easter the next day.

On Easter Sunday, we awoke at 4am to the sound of the same women singing. I thought it was a beautiful start to Easter in a very Christian country, but another rider was less amused and shouted “who’s ipod is that!?” from his tent. My rain fly was soaked with humidity, but breakfast included Nutella so all felt right in the world. We didn’t have any Easter eggs on Tour, but did have fried eggs for lunch so I guess this counts. We rode just over 100 kilometers of fun downhills into the town of Kasunga (such great nomenclature in this country), where an expedient search of the town yielded a few Snickers bars and a functioning ATM, but no internet or other conveniences.

I was able to call my family from a satellite phone, and had to temper my jealousy as they were sitting down to a delicious Easter brunch, after I missed our annual scavenger competition for the “Golden Egg.” Yes, my siblings and I are in or close to our twenties, and Easter is still a hyper-competitive sport. It was so wonderful to speak to them. Our campsite was at a hotel with a hopping nightlife scene, so I fell asleep on Easter to the sound of an old Backstreet Boys album pumping on the dance floor. What a memorable Easter Sunday in Kasunga.

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2 Responses to “Easter in Kasunga”

  1. Er,
    We all missed you this Easter but we dedicated the “Golden Egg” to you. I even put a picture of you on the egg. Col was the winner and I am surprised you did not hear her shriek all the way in Africa. Enjoy the next part of your ride – soon you will be to Victoria Falls. Be safe, don’t forget the bug spray and lotion. In my thoughts – Love you and so proud of you.
    MOM

  2. I think you did find the Golden Egg, as all of you Easters to come will never compare to this one! Take care of yourself inside and out!

    Love Debbie


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