BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 17 AND OCTOBER 5, DIGNITAS INTERNATIONAL’S DR. COLIN PFAFF CYCLED FROM NORTHERN MALAWI TO NAIROBI, KENYA TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE URGENT NEED FOR BETTER DIABETES CARE IN AFRICA. FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT HIM AND DIGNITAS’ EFFORTS TO BRING LIFESAVING HEALTH CARE TO PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD BY VISITING THE RIDE FOR HEALTH PAGE.
By Dr. Colin Pfaff, Dignitas International
Although it was 8am on Sunday, Mombasa was still bustling, with heavy traffic congesting many roadways. After 760km of cycling, we pushed our bikes onto the Likoni Ferry surrounded by hundreds of other passengers that were also heading to the historical centre of the port city. It was as an evocative experience, made all the more powerful by a large ship that crossed our path as it maneuvered into the harbour.
We had arrived.
The humid sea air, the masses of people and the emotions of having arrived at our destination made it a memorable time.
The previous two weeks had been full of adventure, uncertainty, amazingly beautiful places and great people. Surprisingly, we only had one puncture and three broken spokes on our journey. The trip – as with any time away – makes you reflect and be grateful for many things.
Travelling also makes you aware of the similarities and differences across Africa. It became clear to us that even compared to her African neighbors, Malawi is really struggling.
While it was encouraging to see green fields, many crops for sale, productive industry and a strong entrepreneurial spirit across Mozambique and Kenya, it reminded us all the more of needs at home.
In Dar es Salaam, we saw private clinics for diabetics. In Kenya, when we bought groceries at Nakumatt, a large supermarket, we were asked at the till if we wanted our bill to include a donation for cancer care, part of a national social donation campaign. We also visited a large clinic in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, that is offering care for hypertension diabetes and other chronic diseases alongside HIV care. These are all reminders of the silent non-communicable disease epidemic increasing in the region, an issue we need more resources to address in Malawi.
My sincere thanks to all those who supported us along the way. It was a great experience and gave me lots of energy to carry on…