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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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Third list of questions asked by the Pupils of the School of the Clos Herbert in Caen in France (In 3 parts) :

Monday 8 of October 2007, 14 months ago, I was starting my trip from the school "Le Clos Herbert" in Caen, France. The newsletter written on my website are very often printed and delivered to the pupils who can have a better idea of my travel.
When some of the subjects make them curious, the headmaster collects the questions from the pupils in each classes.
Today, I will try to answer the questions of the Standard 6,7 and 8 concerning my first year of travel.

 

Questions of the Standard 8 :

1-How are you ? Are you in good health ?

Hello everyone! I have to say that I am feeling pretty good, which is not so difficult when we have the chance to live our dream!
As for the good health, I have been lucky enough to not get really sick while crossing Africa, even though I havelost some weight. I will gain them again one day, I am convinced.


2-Do you feel in a hurry to meet your relatives ?

I would say that what I miss the most on the road, this is the family and friend but that is still very bearable. Indeed, I am so busy to meet new people everyday that I have not really the time to think about what I miss. I think instead to live the present and to realize what I have around me today.
Moreover, I am always travelling with a picture of my parents with me. I add that I found out that it was the favourite picture of the local people in Africa, who are interested to see how can look like my family back in France.


3-Don't you have a pain to your thumb? (Joke)

SmileIndeed my dear thumb had to face all kind of weather. He has been through the sandstorm, snow, rain and even more. But he is still there and I am raising him proudly along the roadSmile


4-How long time do you wait the most to get a vehicle?

The longest time that I had to wait along the road was in fact only 6 hours, so far. In Africa, hitch-hiking was working very well and I realized that it was easier to stop the vehicles than in Europe.
While waiting, I kept myself busy by different means. However, when the road is really empty, it happened even to me, to get out my bag a book and to start to read.

In Uganda, it has happened to me to read along the road while waiting for a lift

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5-Which subject did you talk about in the TV Show you have been ?

In Turkey, one of my drivers, interested in my story, drove me straight into the television studios to help me to be on a TV Show.
The subject I talked about were in relation with the explication of my project, my experiences of hitch-hiking so far, my future way towards Africa at this time and my association with the School of "The Clos Herbert" (I even translated in English the poem that you have written to me in the beginning).
Already I was talking with an optimistic view about the good intentions of the majority of the people who gave me a lift... I am still seeing this everyday.

 

Questions of the Standard 7 :


6-Are you working in this moment ?

I am today in the city of Cape Town, in South Africa. My aim is to find a boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean. If I see that the seeking of a boat is going to take too long time, it is very possible that I will look for a job in this stunning city of Cape Town, to not loose to much money while seeking a boat.
Also, for the Atlantic Ocean passage, I will offer to work aboard while the sailing time.


7-Did you cross any desert?

From the beginning of my trip, it has happened to me to cross deserts and semi-desertics areas. I would say that the warm desert which was the moss difficult to travel was the Nubian Desert in the North of Sudan. The temperature was over 50 degrees Celsius when I was crossing it.

The Nubian Desert in the North of Sudan was quite hot to cross: over 50 degrees Celsius

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8-Which animals impressed you the most?

In Africa, fauna and flora were impressives. I could discover various animals in their natural environment such as the Elephant, Zebra, Buffallos.
However, I have to say that I really like the Girrafe with its long neck.
You will soon have the opportunity to discover on the website a newsletter just about the animals I had the chance to watch in the African continent.

The Girafe and its never ending neck

PHOTO 3==) La girafe en Afrique du Sud


9-Have you seen the rain in Africa ?

Many times, I could see the rain in Africa because some areas have what they called "the rainy season'. Indeed, in some times of the year, the rain is coming strongly and quickly.

In Sudan, a big rain is flooding the road. We had to push our vehicle!
PHOTO 4==) Pousser la voiture au Soudan


10- Did you help people in difficulty ?

I try at the maximum to give back the help that the people are giving to me me everyday.
For example, I choose to stay for 1 month in an orphanage in Mwanza in Tanzania to work with some children, who had lost their parent because of AIDS.
When I was staying there, I could give some mathematic and English lessons to those children who really wanted to learn.

In Tanzania, "Jeremy the hitch-hiker" became "Jeremy the teacher"

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11-Which dish did you prefer in Africa ?

I would say that mainly, I found the African cuisine very basic. However, I had the opportunity to taste some dishes which were onctuous. The seafood products, for example, were delicious in the coastal areas because they were just coming from the ocean.

In Mozambique, I could eat some very nice fishes.
PHOTO 6==) Poisson grille au Mozambique


12-How do you call the African currency ?

In Africa, there is a different currency in every country. I will give you a list of the currencies of every countries I crossed in Africa, before to show you the real coins and bills when I will come back.

Egypt: Egyptian Pound
Sudan: Sudanese Pound
Ethiopia: Bihrr
Kenya: Kenyan Shilling
Uganda: Ugandan Shilling
Tanzania: Tanzanian Shilling
Malawi: Kwacha
Mozambique: Metical
South Africa: Rand

13- In which African country have you seen the most beautiful landscape?

It is a very difficult question because the African landscapes are very various and many places are amazing. The mountains in Ethiopia, the Malawi lake...
Anyway I can say that the Cape area in South Africa, where I am currently, is maybe the most beautiful natural scenery I have seen so far.

The Cape area in South Africa
PHOTO 7==) La region du Cap en Afrique du Sud


14-Which religion is practiced in Africa ?

There is many and different religions practiced in Africa. Mainlym the people are tolerant between them about this subject.
Thus, the religions that I discovered in Africa were the muslim, catholic, protestant, orthodox, jew, copt, hindou (there is many Indian communities in Africa) religions amongst others.

An orthodox Church in Ethiopia

PHOTO 8==) Eglise orthodoxe en Ethiopie


15-Which differences have you noticed between the African people?

African people are incredibly various and that would be a life of work to study the diversities of every ethnies in Africa. To give you an example: in Uganda, there is more than 80 different langages spoken. Every ethnies and people have their own beliefs and origins.


16- Did you go to traditional event ?

Indeed, I had the happiness to have been invited to such events. The most popular event seems to be the one which is bringing the people together: the wedding. The rules of the marriage are anyway very different in each places and countries.
I could participate to a Nubian wedding in the south of Egypt, trying to learn the different songs and local dances.

A Nubian wedding in Egypt

PHOTO 9==) Un mariage nubien en Egypte


17-Did you learn to play African music ?

Unfortunately, my artistic talents are very limitated, I didn't learn African music instruments. However, I could try many times to initiate myself to the different drums that I met on my way. The drums, which seemed to me to be the Musical Emblems of the continent.


18- Did some people wanted to join you on your World Tour ?

I cannot say that anybody wanted to joined me definitely for this world tour but many times, I shared some hitch-hiking days with some travellers that I met on the road. I indeed hitch-hiked with a German in Sudan or with an American in Malawi.

19- Do you intend to come back now ?

I like so much the journey so far that it would be difficult to say that I am impatient to come back. Adding to the fact that our Planet Earth is pretty big and that I have still a lot of things to discover, people to meet, landscapes to stare at and kilometres to hitch-hike!

 

Questions of the Standards 6/7 :

20-What is the most beautiful city you have visited ?

In Africa, most of the cities are not very interesting, contrary to the stunning natural landscapes. This is the reason why, while crossing Africa, I was answering to this question, that the people liked to ask me, by Istanbul
On this trip, I really like Istanbul, in Turkey, for his history and his atmosphere.
Nevertheless, I just arrived in Cape Town and I have to say that I will need to think at it two times because this city is situated in an amazing natural area.

Saint Sophia, church which became mosque which became museum in Istanbul


21-Did you go in the slums ?

At many times, I found myself inside what we called the "Townships" in Africa. The life seems to be very difficult and the population are coming by thousands to get closer to the cities with the hope to find a job.
I must say that the Townships are completely different in South Africa where they are just huge (SOWETO or SOuth WEst TOwnship in Johannesburg would have over 3 millions inhabitants) and where the materials used to built the shelters are very far from the mud houses of the other African countries.

A Township in South Africa

PHOTO 11==) Un Township en Afrique du Sud


22-Which country did you prefer and why?

As I focus my adventure to meet the populations, the country that I prefer must be in relation with the place where I received the best hospitality.
That's the reason why the most hospitable countries were for me Syria and Sudan so far. It was almost impossible for me to refuse the eternal requests to offer me the tea, food or a place to stay overnight... a real happiness for the traveller!

The sudanes smile, an emblem of the kindness of its inhabitants.

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23- Are you always eating enough?

To get food was not the most difficult thing. I have always eaten, if maybe not enough to not be hungry anymore, but enough to wait until the next meal.
I focus more to have enough water to reach my next destination on the road.


24-What is the worst thing that you have eaten?

In Mozambique, I have been invited to a Zambian party. Those one had prepared a dish that we can find in Zambia and which was... fried millipedes!
I liked the taste anyway, crunchy, of the millipede.


25- How many langages do you speak now ?

In Africa, even if the number of langages spoken are huge, I have mainly succeeded to get understood in English. I am still speaking only fluent French, English and some german.
However, I could learn some notions of Arabic, Swahili or Portuguese. Those notions were just helping me to ask for water, to get the good direction, etc...


26- What was your biggest problem since you left?

Fortunately, I didn't have very big problem since I left but knowing that I am travelling often in very poor areas, it is normal that some people have some tentations.
Indeed, I have been very unlucky to get one of my bag stolen in Mozambique. Inside was my cellphone, my camera, my flag which has been offered to me in the beginning of my trip and some other objects.
The thief had been caught with my camera and my phone in his pockets... but not the flag which him, has disappeared.


27- Have you been attacked ?

No, except by a gecko who tried to bite me in South Africa , I have been attacked so far.

The famous gecko I was talking about

PHOTO 13==) Lezard en Afrique du Sud


28-Are you sleeping well ?

With the hundreds of places where I spent my nights, the fact to sleep well was a question with a very different answer from one day to another.
The worst nights that I spent are in the TOP 3 below:

3-One night to sleep outside in Bosnia, where the tempetature was sub 0. In the morning, my bottle of water was a bottle of ice.
2-One night in Malawi, 2 times I wake up and I discover that my bed was full of thousands of ants who were wandering on my clothes and my body... the mosquito net was really useless that time..
1-The worst night was in Uganda. I was invited by my driver to sleep at his place. In the middle of the night, I feel something touching my ears, then my hands... I suddently woke up with a huge rat on my body looking at me with his two darks eyes. Gloops!

Let's finish with one of the best, in Sudan, outdoor at the petrol station

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29-Do you have blisters on your feet ?

I think that the quality of my feet are getting better and better. Adding to the fact that my shoes are really miserable and that from the pictures of my semi-boots in Mozambique, I crossed the whole South Africa with my Flip-Flop... before they got the same treatment than my shoes.
My feet are stronger even if I had some blisters on my way to get to that point.

My shoes when I arrived in Mozambique

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30-Did you suffer of the cold and the hot ?

When we are travelling the Globe, it is easy to end up in the middle of hostiles climates. Even if I could bear the cold because I got used to get that cold in France (in Africa, -10 degrees Celsius are something pretty crazy), the extrem heat was something I had to adapt. The highest temperature was something arounf 50-55 degrees Celsius in the desert in the North of Sudan.

In the North of Sudan, the goal is to drink a lot of water

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31- Do you have enough money to pay a doctor if you get sick ?

"I want to realize my dreams of child with my responsibility of adult"was saying a dutch woman who crossed recently Africa with a tractor.
I love very much this quote and I support it completely. That's why I got an insurance for the medical costs in case. A good Health is the most important for me.


32- Have you been sick in some countries ?

I had the chance to have only just little stomach problems so far. I didn't have big sickness, I didn't have malaria for example. I know that I am lucky but I made everything to not find myself sick. For example, I was using a mosquito net in the malaria's areas.

The mosquito net, the best weapon against malaria

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33-Did you meet somebody who, like you, was touring the world?

When you are on the situation of travelling, we meet very often people who are in the same situation. I could meet an important number of travellers who had a project which was close to mine. Even if I didn't meet so many hitch-hikers, I could meet bicyclers, many 4X4 drivers, some motorbike drivers or some people using the local transports.
Most of them were travelling on the classic way Cairo-Cape Town and some of them were doing a World Tour.


34- Did you make friends ?

The first goal of this trip is to meet the population and to understand them a little bit better. On top of that, I am completely open to the meeting because this is my main activity.
Among the people I met, I could indeed have made some friend even if the interaction is quite short because I am constantly moving.
Nevertheless, the emtotion is impossible to translate when you find those sane friends some thousands of kilometres further...


35-Did you met some people who were volunteering ?

Africa is a victim of many problems, as you know. To try to help to those ones, some people are giving their time and their life by making some volunteering or working for charities. I could meet many people doing this kind of charities work.
As I wanted to share this experience, I could understand better the difficulty and the intensity to work in this kind of place.

Volunteering in Tanzania, the contact with the children was intense
PHOTO 18==) Moi et les enfants en Tanzanie


36-Do you know to come back to France soon ?

I cannot say that I am ready to come back home. I still want to learn, to discover and I have still 4 continents to travel: South America, North America, Australasia and Asia.
If I can succeed to complete this trip, I think I will be ready to come back in France and to start a new period of my life.


37-Do you miss your friends and your family ?

In some situations, I am wondering how would have react my family and my friends. It is true that I would have like to share those moments with them.
Despite this, I can be in constant contact with them thanks to Internet and the phone.
I am aware that I am very lucky to be able to realize my dreams and that is only a small part of my life. I will have all the time to share moments with my relatives when I will be back.


38-Where has hitch-hiking worked the best?

I am still amazed to see how easy it was to hitch-hike all along this way. In Africa especially, many people told me not to do or simply that it was impossible. Anyway, I am happy to tell them that it was possible and I can even advice to do it in some situations.
For me, hitch-hiking was really easy in Turkey and recently in South Africa. Those are countries where you can expect that the people stop even if you don't ask for it.

In South Africa, I was surprised to see the vehicles stopping without beckoning them
PHOTO 19==) Autostop en Afrique du Sud


39-Do you think that our Planet is beautiful ?

YES.
I like this question and I like its answer to. The Earth is beautiful, without any doubt. This is why we have to do the best keep it as it is. Too many people have no interest in it and are just thinking about their own benefit without caring a minute about destroying a little part of our beautiful Planet if it can bring them some money.
The Earth is in danger, let's say it, and every little action to keep her safe will maybe save our environment which is so important to its survival.


40-Is there some people from other country going on your website ?

Indeed, the website is growing up everyday and is becoming a roundabout for the children of every country. Because of the pedagogical aim that I try to bring, some teachers are advicing their pupils to have a look on the website. It happens even sometimes to answer questions concerning you. The children of the world are curious to know the similarities that they have with the children of the country where I come from.

In Tanzania, the children were asking where the France was on the Globe

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41-Are you proud to have visited all those countries ?

To be proud is not my first feeling. I am happy, very happy, to have this chance to discover new countries, to have met people so differents and interestings.
After, I am proud to have made it possible by hitch-hiking and that I have been helped by the differents populations on my way.
I am proud to say that it wouldn't have been possible without them and that there are people with good intentions in every countries, in every cities, in every places I have been through.


42- In Egypt, did you go inside the pyramids ?

Unfortunately, I didn't go inside the pyramids because the entrance price was far too much important for my little budget. However, I have met some people who told me that they spent a lot of time inside to make some meditation... the place was good for this kind of activity apparently.
I could anyway visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo were I have seen many Tombs.

One of the Tomb from the pyramids in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo in Egypt
PHOTO 21==) Tombeau de ToutenKhamon


43-In Africa, how was the school? Do the children have enough book to study?

I would say that it is extremely difficult for a child to have a good education in Africa. The absence of materials is one of many reasons.
The problems that I have discovered while visiting the schools in Africa were just surprising:
-Not enough teachers
-Too many pupils by class (in Tanzania, I have seen classes with up to 120 pupils for one teacher)
-Not chairs, no office, few books, fews pens
-The children have to work very early to bring some money back to their family
-The childrens have so rarely something to eat in the morning, which is leading to some concentration problems for the lessons

This is only a small part of the problems that the African educational system have to face everyday.
Once again, the education is a chance and the European system is one of good quality: let's get some benefit from that!


44- How are they eating? Are they happy?

The life in Africa has seemed to me like a survival life. The main occupation seems to find something to eat for the next meal. Most of the time, the meals are coming from the closest field and is the fruit of the local agricultural activity: lots of mais, Kassava and rice among others but it depend of the areas of course. The meals are generally not very different but the goal in only to feed, not to appreciate what is in the dish.

The thing which make Africa so interesting is that the Africans seems not to be unhappy despite all the difficulties that they have to face everyday.
Those one have this philosophy of the present moment and they are taking care of what they have without thinking of what they could have or what they don't.
How many smiling faces have I seen on my way? They were uncountable.

A smile in Ethiopia which lightened my way...until the next smile


45-Do they have traditional games? Which ones?

Yes and they are so many! I met somebody in Tanzania who was making a study about the traditional games practiced by the different ethnies of the country. Once again, it would be difficult for me to remember everyone because I would need to study the culture of the ethnie to understand how the game is working.
Generally, the activity was to move some stones from one point to another on a woodtable.
I will not say more because I would say any mistake, as I haven't study more about the game.


46-How long do you think your travel by boat will take ?

I would say that it is my biggest unknown. I have never sailed and that will be my first experience!
I know that the most difficult is to find a boat going in the same direction than me and especially to accept to take me aboard.
The estimations for the Atlantic Ocean Passage from Cape Town to South America would be between 3 to 4 weeks. The other way could lead me to the Caraibeans, which would take around 6 weeks.
Anyway, I take this unknown as a challenge that I will have to succeed even if it take me a long time!

 

Knowing that we are getting close to the end of December, I would like to wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009, which I hope will be full of happiness.
About myself, I will be in Cape Town, or on the Atlantic Ocean for this time of the year... my wish would be to find a boat... which would be my best gift for this end of the year!


See you soon AND GOOD CONTINUATION

Jeremy



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