The Old Legs cause took on a face this week. I’m going to call her Barbara. Based on her date of birth, Barbara is supposed to be a pensioner. But she isn’t. Because her pension got wiped out in the hyperinflation years. And plus she has to support her parents, now in their eighties, whose pensions also got wiped out by Mugabe’s stupid economics.
And so Barbara still goes out to work, despite a debilitating and incurable auto immune disorder. And alas, this story gets worse. Barbara’s eighty plus year old Mom also has to go out and work to support Barbara because Barbara’s salary doesn’t even begin to cover the costs of Barbara’s medication. Catch 22, Zimbabwe style.
Barbara contacted me this week to ask if I could help get her registered with one of the pensioner charities we support. She did her best to fly a brave flag, describing herself as being blessed but I could pick up on her terror at the prospect of Hyper Inflation Round Two.
I told Barbara no problem, of course I could help. I trotted off to see Pensioners Aid. Who told me they would do an assessment interview soonest. But they also told me Barbara and her parents will have to join a thirty or more waiting list until more donations land. If I could, I would fast forward the Mt Kilimanjaro ride to tomorrow.
Like so many others. Zim closed in on me big time this week. Barbara’s story, prices doubling and then some in a week, fuel queues, not being able to buy my son’s medication, stock outs of basics like cooking oil and bread, and on and on and on. So I had no option but to go to Mbare and buy yet another very loud flower shirt. I have a quaint theory that if you dress like you are on holiday, sometimes you feel like you are on holiday. But it is starting to wear thin and the neighbors are complaining about my noisy cupboard.
President Ed, if you are reading, please fix all of the above soonest, or at least build me a bigger cupboard for more shirts. And also please take down your election billboards offering up promises of stable currencies, a properly good health sector, blah, blah, blah before you get bust for false advertising.
The other thing that gets me over the lumpy bits in life is helping others less fortunate. Please try it, it is good muti for the soul. And it sets us apart from the bad guys.
This week, I’m happy to introduce you to another pair of Old Legs – Adam Selby, husband to Linda and proud father of 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren.
Adam writes – “I’m a 1958 model so am celebrating entry into official old age . I like to believe 60 is the new 40 – but I’m told 9pm is the new midnight. Training for this trip certainly makes that true!
I’ve worn many caps through an exciting career living and working in Zimbabwe but the core business, and what still makes very day a new experience, is supply of fruit and vegetable locally and exports to Europe, Asia and Australia.
The lure of riding to Kilimanjaro is too exciting an opportunity to refuse. To be able to raise money for a great cause is just icing on top- I hope we make it to see the icing on the mountain.”
I got back on my bike after a three week hiatus for runny tummy and Mana Pools. Adam and I peeled off from the rest of the Herd on Saturday morning to pedal up Pig Hill. On our way up foothills that weren’t there three weeks ago, Adam renamed Pig Hill Expletive Pig Mountain. But that didn’t stop him from scampering up it like a startled Klipspringer. Startled Klipspringers are annoying. Small wonder they’re endangered. When I got home I asked Google if it was petulant to wish a puncture upon a Klipspringer and he said yes but also entirely warranted.
Whilst on subject of training, I can confirm that hell will freeze over and pigs will fly on the 10th of October. After riding his bike an average of 41 km every single day for the last 401 days, Dave Whitehead has decided he’s not going to ride every day anymore. He says he doesn’t want to be regarded as obsessive.
But what’s actually happened is Google told him that very fit people are more prone to suffer altitude sickness on Mt Kilimanjaro than less fit people. Dave’s fear of altitude sickness is now almost as developed as his fear of being eaten by lions whilst on his bike, a fear born in the Kalahari. I say almost because I felt compelled to point out to Dave that the man eating lions of Tsavo live just next door to Kilimanjaro. Poor Dave now also stresses about developing a tummy because he’s not riding every day anymore. Lions love tummies.
I would like to acknowledge our first corporate sponsors of the Old Legs 2019 Tour- Alan and Eric York from Dumile Beef, Stuart and the team FX Logistics team, Arjan, Bruce and all at OZ Import and Zimflex, Graeme Murdoch at PHI Commodities, Pro Pay, Selby Enterprises and the management and staff of The Directory. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making a difference.
Please support our cause by going to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour.
In Zimbabwe you can transfer to Bulawayo Help Network, Account Number: 0041087600345101, Ecobank, Bradfield Branch
Or you can use Bulawayo Help Network’s Ecocash merchant number 139149.
Funds raised will help pensioners across the width and breadth of Zimbabwe.
This week’s Swahili lessons-
Ni sisi karibu huko bado? – Are we almost there yet?
Funga up na waka pedaling- Shut up and keep pedaling.
In closing, I’d like to say Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Cailyn. She told me she’s turning five next week tomorrow. For her birthday, I’m giving her my dirty bike to clean. Cailyn’s best thing in the whole world is cleaning stuff. Me and Cailyn are a match made in heaven.
Until next week, enjoy and pedal if you can
Eric Chicken Legs de Jong