NALA gets a little Brother
( Painted by David Thuku from the Brush to Artstudio in Nairobi, Kenya 2015.)
You are already looking forward to the "little surprise" I have for you?
Some of you have guessed it.
I get a little brother. I'm so curious. I hope he is cool and relaxed to travel with him soon and show him the world out there.
More from the my new brother, i will write you later.
At the end of the year, we will travel to South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and maybe even Ethiopia before continuing on Bicycle through West Africa.
NALA love SADE songs
( Painted by Michael Musyoka from the Brush to Art Studio in Nairobi, Kenya 2015.)
NALA and the red Apple
( Painted by Elias Mungora from the Brush to Art Studio in Nairobi, Kenya 2015.)
NALA in real ?
( Painted by Samuel Njoroge from the Railways Art Studio in Nairobi, Kenya 2015.)
Have you ever wondered how NALA would look if she was real?
I mean in real life?
I have no doubt that there are everywhere NALA's who have dreams.
Just listen to your heart and do what is close to your heart and feel good about it. My NALA certainly enjoys life and learns a lot of everyday situations.
She is free in mind and does what she want to do.
You can do the same if you hear to your inner voice.
All the best for you and you always can write me if your reach your Dream.
Best wishes to you
André and Nala.
NALA loves Flowers
( Painted by George Ngaruiya in Ngecha near Nairobi, Kenya 2015.)
NALA with Guestfamilies
( Mosaic by Apollo Amanya in Kiserian near Nairobi, Kenya 2015.)
On my 3 year trip through Africa, I met a lot of people. Many were very friendly and very helpful.
Some people even invited me to their house. I was allowed to eat, drink, shower and even stay. I thought that was great.
I felt very comfortable and was treated like a daughter of my own.
I missed my family sometimes, so it was nice to have a small family.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who gave me a home to stay. Friendships also remained from short acquaintances.
I miss all my host families very much and hope we can meet again.
It was really nice at your place.
Thank you for your great hospitality,
You are also welcome at my place wherever I am.
Bye for now
NALA says good-bye to Nairobi
( Painted by Gloria Mwange in Nairobi, Kenya 2015.)
Nairobi in Kenya is one of the liveliest and noisiest cities I have been to so far on my journey. It is a very exciting place as well and the daily traffic chaos is as good as it gets.
Then there are the little discotheques on wheels, the matatus that play such loud music that you can’t even hear your own words anymore.
The air stinks from all the black and toxic exhaust fumes from the busses and trucks and more than ones I got covered in a cloud of said exhaust fumes.
Then there is the smell of burning garbage since people like turning the road side into little refuse incinerators.
There are all these colourful people that run around hectically. When you want to enter a supermarket there is always a security guard checking your bags and it’s the same things when you want to get on a bus or enter any kind of public space.
I came across many police men who always asked me for a little „tip“ because I didn’t carry my passport with me. Even the big bosses at customs at the airport were always very creative in their ways when hinting that it was time to pay a little “motivational tip”.
But I also made many new friends in Nairobi who I will never forget.
I lived in a nice and quiet room at Maggie’s and Britney’s house who were wonderful hosts. And there were all the artists who created wonderful artwork of me.
They were such talented people and I thank all of your from the bottom of my heart!
I stayed in Nairobi for a very long time and that’s why it’s about time for me to move on and get pack on the road and out of town.
I need some fresh air and green trees and lush landscapes to cycle through. I love nature and seeing the world.
I enjoy looking at trees in the evening sun and inhaling fresh and clean air.
Liberty … here I come.
I will get back to you soon.
Good night and sweet dreams!
NALA on the Elephant
( Painted by Joan Otieno ( Railways Art Studio ) in Nairobi, Kenya 2015.
Oh well, the same old dream of mine hasn’t come real again.
I didn’t get to ride on an elephant.
It’s a pity! And I really thought that in Nairobi I would have time to visit the elephants and feed baby giraffes.
But no … after my exhibition I didn’t have any time at all to fulfill this lifelong dream of mine
Next time … I hope!
If you are ever in Nairobi, check out David Sheldrick´s Elephant Orphanage and tell them NALA said hello.
Until then … best greetings to all of you
Robbery in Nairobi
Painted by Leevans Linyerera in Nairobi, Kenya 2015.
It’s the 1st of April 2015, exactly 2 years after my start in South Africa and I am in Nairobi, Kenya.
I was waiting at the bus stop for my bus back home to Buruburu. I was waiting and waiting and waiting but there was no bus in sight. There were about 200 other people waiting for the same bus, but luckily I was the first in line. There was no bus at all, not even one going somewhere else. Nothing, nada, zip.
At some point after waiting for over 2 hours … it had gotten dark by then … a bus came and I got on and managed to get a seat by the window. Inside the bus it was rather smelly and close and I was happy to get some fresh air from the open window. I was very hungry and I put my bag on my lap to open it and look for something edible. I was lucky and found a 2 weeks old mandazi. Yummy … what an antique taste!
The bus left, but the traffic wasn’t moving at all. Rush hour at its finest, nothing goes! Every road seemed to be jammed and no one could pass a crossing because busses blocked roads in every direction (typical for rush hour in Nairobi). Nobody cares about the other. We were stuck, the bus didn’t move one inch.
All of a sudden a hand reached from outside through the (unfortunately) still open window and grabbed my bag, pulled it outside and it was gone. Simply gone, vanished. Darn!
I can’t believe it! I wanted to get out of the bus and follow the guy who stole my bag, but suddenly the bus started moving and I couldn’t get off and the robber was long gone.
I was shocked and it took me a while to understand what had just happened and that my bag was gone with all its (to me very valuable) content … my beloved friend Kasper who had been with me for two years, ever since he fell off the bus in Zimbabwe.
Kasper was my best friend who I could tell everything and he never objected to anything I said. Then there was my diary filled with lovely messages from all the people I had met on the road so far. And of course my camera and my mobile phone (yes I have a phone … I got it from the farmer when I set out on my big adventure).
It was all gone in a second, gone forever. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I felt a terrible pain in my heart when I got off the bus and walked home crying. I told my friend what had happened and the next day we went back to the city, desperately searching for Kasper and the rest of my belongings.
We put up want ads all over the place but it didn’t help at all.
No sign of my beloved friend Kasper.
I met a little teddy bear later on my journey and he joined me. But I am still missing Kasper.
Still feeling sad …
Painted by Erick "Sticky" Muriithi from the Dust Depot Art Studio in
Nairobi, Kenya 2015, Acrylic on Canvas.
Shoes, shoes and more shoes. Who doesn’t like shoes?!
After 3 years on the road I bought a new pair of shoes because the old ones had big holes in their soles. I went to the market and looked for some good, solid hiking shoes.
At the second hand market in Nairobi, well, at every second hand market all over Africa, you can find any kind of shoes.
Shoes galore… sneakers, high heels, pumps, sport shoes, canvas shoes, patent leather shoes, football shoes, wellingtons, business shoes, casual shoes, children’s shoes, sandals, shoes in all shapes, colours, sizes and rates of wear…heaps of shoes,
millions of different shoes, some new, some used … You can’t even begin to imagine …
Shoes are being washed, cleaned, little holes are being fixed with glue… at every corner someone is selling shoes. Some offer 100 pairs, others only 2 … but there are shoes everywhere. Some people set them up nicely in file, some people just leave them in a big heap.
And in the end I didn’t find any shoes I liked and that fitted and were new. I wouldn’t ever let my tender feet wear used shoes. I went to a shop to buy a pair and I am very happy with it.
But they didn’t only sell heaps of shoes at those second hand markets. You could also buy trousers, old and sweaty hats, dress shirts, bags, t-shirts, fake suits, socks, bras, panties, curtains and blankets.
There even are people who sell fish and shoes at the same time.
Happily shod I say good-bye for today!
Those shoes on the photos is nothing, what I saw.
NALA is afraid of a mouse
( Painted by André Pilz in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2015 ) MDF Woodcut and acrylic
While I was in the bathroom today I remembered an encounter which I will never ever forget in life. In June of 2015 I was on my way from Nairobi/ Kenya to Kampala/ Uganda.
I hadn’t been on the bicycle for quite a while then and the first days back on the bicycle were pretty exhausting and I got out of breath quickly and had to stop for a break very often.
One day, after a 35 km leg I arrived in Limuru and I was totally exhausted from the cycling I had done that day. That day I met Peter who lived in a dented iron-sheet shack.
Peter offered me to stay at his place and sleep on his couch and I gladly accepted. It didn’t take very long and the room (which was living room, bedroom and kitchen at the same time) was filled with children from the neighbourhood. They wouldn’t say a word but just stood there and stared at me in awe.
At night a noise woke me up. Something was gnawing at something. I switched on my torch and saw 4 mice on the table next to me eating away at something. Open buffet for those little rodents. They were cute to look at from a distance, but when one mouse started climbing up the couch I got rather scared and jumped off the couch. That little thing gave me quite a fright.
In Ruanda at my host family’s place, there were 3 mice and 2 rats that came out at night to play hide and seek underneath my bed and then they would climb up on the curtains towards the ceiling and disappear in a hole in the wall. Yuck … goose bumps on my back. And the room smelled like a rotting rats’ nest.
But nonetheless I would like to thank all the people who let me stay for free at their places.
You all were a big help!!!
NALA listens to wonderful sounds
( Painted by Boniface Maina Brush Tu Art Studio, Nairobi / Kenya 2015 )
My dear friends, once in a while I need to shut myself of from all the sounds and noises in the big city.
All the people, the traffic, the bustle and the repeatedly asked W-questions are getting on my nerves and I need to withdraw msyelf from all that into tranquility.
I am in my own world then, imagining that I am listening to a harpist.
The music eases my mind and makes me dreaming.
Those soft sounds enchant my mind and go deep into my soul. It’s wonderful! I dream I can fly because I feel so weightless. It feels peaceful, it’s calm and makes me feel airy.
I have never felt this way before. I sit on a cloud made of cotton wool and look down at the city that seems to drown in all that noise. I am up here and feel free. Freedom … that’s what I love and never want to lose.
The music the harpist plays is so wonderful that I want to store it in my heart before
I wake up.
I hope you all find peace of mind and soul!
Have a wonderful day.
NALA and the yellow canister ( Painted by John Kariuki
Dust Depot Art Studio, Nairobi / Kenya 2015 )
Today I want to introduce the yellow canister to you. I have come across those canisters in Zimbabwe first and they have been with me ever since. They used to carry vegetable oil but their second purpose is to carry water that people have to fetch from wells since in many places in Africa this is the only source of water for them.
In some places you find a well where you have to pump the water up from 30 meters deep and that needs a lot of strength. Sometimes you are lucky and there is tap and a pump that is solar-powered. But usually you aren’t that lucky.
The canisters vary in shape and colour.
In Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Zanzibar you could only find the yellow, cubical-shaped ones. In Kenya they also came in blue, white and black. I also saw yellow and black round canisters (like in the painting here), but I prefer the cubical-shaped ones. They became steady companions and I wouldn’t want to miss them. They are very practical when you need something to sit on or take a nap.
They have a 20 liter capacity and most times you see women and girls carry them. Sometimes you can also see little girls carry smaller canisters since the big ones are too heavy for them. And sometimes they even use old motor oil canisters to carry water. YUCK.
In some villages people have to get the water from rivers, ponds or even puddles and you can imagine how dirty that water is. I usually get my water from a well … and I pump it myself! There is always a well in every village and many schools.
So … my dear friends … next time you let the water run for now reason you might want to consider that water is nothing that should go to waste.
Water is very valuable here because you have to walk for many kilometers to get it and you have to carry these heavy canisters. Clean drinking water is a luxury good!
Think about it …
Until later …
STOP Beading (Artwork and Story by Waweru Gichuhi, ( Brush Tu Art studio)
Nairobi / Kenya 2015
My NALA protests against such traditions and stands up for every young Samburu girl in the hope that all this will change.
~ Waweru Gichuhi ~
Child beading (aishontoyie saen) is a major cultural practice found in the Samburu community. Samburu morans, young worriers aged 15-35 years, are not allowed to marry.
Hence girls as young as 9 years old are assigned to MALE RELATIVES by use of red traditional beads. The young girl is adorned with beads, signifying ‘engagement’ for sexual purposes only. The mother of the beaded girl builds a hut outside their manyattas where the male relative visits the beaded girl to engage in SEXUAL ACTIVITY at any given moment he wishes. The ‘ couple’ is allowed to have sexual intercourse but pregnancy and the use of contraceptives are forbidden.
In case pregnancy occurs, it has to be terminated by use of herbs or by crude ABORTION. If the baby is born, it is given huge amounts of tobacco and abandoned in the forest as it is an outcast. This traditional practice of beading has the potential of spreading HIV in the community.
Girls who are initiated into sexual intercourse at a tender age have immature genital organs which are normally inflicted with cuts and ruptures in the process of intercourse with older men who are experienced and who may have sexual relations with other partners thereby creating pathways for HIV transmission and increasing their vulnerability.
Although no studies or surveys have been done, the practice has it is estimated that 3 in 4 girls in the 8-12 age group are beaded.
(Extract from Samburu Girls Foundation..Founded by Josephine Kulea)..
More Artworks from Waweru Gichuhi you can see here: ARTISTS from Kenya
NALA´s Bicycle (Sculptures made by George Ngaruiya, ( Ngecha Art Gallery)
Ngecha, Nairobi / Kenya 2015
Hello my friends,
have you actually ever seen my bicycle, which I have been travelling on for nearly 16,000 km and 2 and a half years?
I don’t think you have; that’s why I will show you now… here it is … my bicycle!
Oh well, now you have seen it.
It has two wheels, a handlebar, a saddle and even two pedals.
And you have to pedal very hard to get the bicycle moving. The rack holds 3 bags and in front there are another two bags, but you can’t see them in the picture because I took them off when I quickly went into town.
The bicycle even has a rear-view mirror which helps me to spot those trucks that all of a sudden appear behind me and pass me at high speed.
Man … one time it was very close … a truck passed me with only about 17 cm in between the truck and me on my bicycle.
After that I was so happy to still be alive that I ate a big “survivor-pizza”. In the next village, I bought a rear-view mirror.
On my journey so far I had a flat tire 12 times (only) and one time a tire burst.
And I made it into Kenya before the first spoke broke.
While I am here in Rwanda my bicycle waits for me in my cosy room behind my squeaky bed. It take a rest before we continue to the other part of Africa.
So much about my beloved bicycle… I will tell you more stories some other time.
More Artworks from George Ngaruiya you can see here: ARTISTS from Kenya
"Enjoy your meal" ! (painted by Wendy Kariuki, ( Dust Depot Art Center )
Nairobi, Kenya 2015
Food is a very important issue when travelling, because you have to stay strong and healthy; otherwise you might fall off your bicycle due to exhaustion.
Once in a while there wasn’t anything to eat, simply because there wasn’t anything available. In those cases I had to rely on shortbread biscuits and tuna, which I had found at the bottom of my backpack one day and I assume those had been hidden there for half a hear or even longer. Sometimes I had to eat baked beans without warming them up … just straight out of the can.
I always had a coke with me, because it contains tons of sugar and goes straight into your system to give you an extra push when you are overly exhausted. But when I came across some fresh fruit juice, I preferred that of course because it’s healthy and sweet at the same time!
But let me tell you a little more about all the different kinds of food I have eaten on my journey so far.
This country is all about meat, mostly game like kudu or springbok and of course lots of beef. I do like cows, but the beef in Namibia is so tender and delicious. For the road I always packed lots of biltong (that is typical Namibian dried meat). In the North of the country people at mush all the time, mostly made of mahangu. Just ask Google what mahangu is.
In Zimbabwean towns I had to live of chunk food many times.
There were always places called Pizza Inn, Chicken Inn, Bakers Inn or Creamy Inn. But sometimes I was lucky and I found a small local restaurant that served chicken, rice and vegetables. Whenever I was near a lake, I ate a lot of fresh fish.
There was fish, chicken (chewy but all organic) and all kinds of vegetables. Not the kind of vegetables that you know, but mostly green stuff, different kinds of leaves that are edible, like leaves from pumpkin plants, sweet potato plants, cassava leaves (manioc) and rip; and of course Chinese cabbage (maybe because Chinese people are ten a penny in Zambia). And with the vegetables you ate rice or nshima (the name of mush in Zambia). And along the roadside there were always people selling grilled corn cobs.
Oh man … on the way the food got very dreary. Chips baked into an omelette, with cabbage on top. And I ate that almost every single day. And the oil they used for baking was from the last century, or so it smelled like anyway. More than once they didn’t have eggs and that’s why it was only chips (sort of pieces of potato soaked in said oil) and cabbage. At Lake Malawi I had the chance to eat fish sometimes, which wasn’t very good though. It was fresh fish, but they baked it in old oil as well and that took all the taste away. And sometimes, for a change, I had nshima, cabbage and egg …. Dreary!
But then I stayed with a host family for 3 months and we went out to eat to a Chinese restaurant quite often … pure relief!
In Malawi, for the first time of my life, I ate a roll that tasted of absolutely nothing.
It was the ultimate un-sensation of taste … I can tell you that!
Rice and beans, beans and rice, at the ocean there was always fresh fish and lots of ugali everywhere (that’s the East-African version of mush) with cabbage. And sometimes, when I was very lucky, the cook of a host family in Dar es Salaam made delicious “pilau” (rice cooked with beef and spices). And then there was mishkaki, which was very delicious as well, but more like a dish for dolls, because these tiny pieces of meat didn’t really fill me up.
Plantains look like green bananas and they eat them here with meat or fish in very tasty sauces. That kind of banana is more like a substitute for potatoes.
And they are delicious and very satisfying.
Typical East-African breakfast dishes are mandazi, a sort of doughnut baked in oil, and chapati, which is a sort of flat bread. I always used to put some jam or honey on my chapatti, or ate it with a banana, just to make it a little sweeter. Many people in Tanzania have beans for breakfast, simply beans … Oh and one more thing: I drank a lot of fresh milk … yummy!
Fish, almost every day during that one month that I spent on Zanzibar I had fish, like stingray, perch and other fish (I forgot the names of all the other fish I ate), all very tasty, big or small, grilled or baked. And then I had seafood as well of course … octopus and calamari, in different sizes, grilled or cooked … simply delicious. And with the fish and seafood I ate cassava, sweet potatoes, rice or salad made of tomatoes and onions.
Ugali (mush), rice with beans, corn with beans, just like that, plain, nothing added. But sometimes I got to eat chicken or beef in addition to the rice or ugali, which made it much better and tastier of course. Then there was a kind of lentil soup, very plain but tasty nonetheless. And plantains, just like in Tanzania.
Kenya and Tanzania are „coffee countries“, which means they grow lots of coffee there, but only for export, they don’t drink much coffee there. They prefer to drink tea, which they call “chai”, and it’s cooked with lots of (fresh) milk. They boil the milk, with a little bit of water added (or just pure milk) and let the tea bags sit in the boiling milk for a while … very tasty! And the locals add tons of sugar before they drink it, but it also tastes good without (much) sugar. Oh, and by the way, they also grow lots of tea in East Africa.
In Uganda the main food is plantains. They eat it as plantain soup or mashed, which they then call “matoke”. And they eat it with meat, fish or peanut paste.
Oh well, in Rwanda I actually didn’t eat much local food. I ate good European bread (made by a Dutch guy) and Gouda cheese, sausages and croissants. And I am telling you, it was great to eat some proper bread again for a change!
Injera (flat bread made of sourdough) is the most basic food in the country. It takes 3 days to make injera (because of the special sourdough). One can eat it plain, but usually they eat it with beans, potatoes, pasta, tomatoes, beetroot, lentils, corn and meat.
The rolls in Ethiopia are the best, most cross and delicious ones that I ate in Africa so far. They taste like rolls in Germany (I was in Germany ones and I especially remember the rolls there) and are extremely cheap in Ethiopia. One roll costs about 7 US cents only!
There are different kinds of pasta dishes, meat dishes and salads. Ethiopia is the first country on my journey where people drink lots of coffee (I will tell you more about that later, since drinking coffee in this country is sort of an important cultural thing).
In Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia) you can find many coffeehouses where they sell delicious cakes and pies. Oh I like it here a lot, and so does my belly which becomes bigger by the day. And I drink lots of juice for the vitamin overflow … mango, papaya and avocado juice.
There is so much more to tell about Ethiopia. It’s so far, of all the countries that I have visited, the most exciting and extraordinary.
In case I forgot to mention something on my food list, please don’t hesitate to write me! I can’t always remember everything.
So…enjoy your meal … and always finish your plate (burp)!
Until later …
latest update: 24. August 2019
NALA made out of Flip Flops
" This extraordinary NALA Sculpture was made by kenyan born Artist Davis Ndungu from Cape Town, South Africa.
NALA and the unknown Objects 1
" The Vacuum cleaner"
NALA has a writer´s block.
painted by André Pilz, 120cm x 100cm, acrylic and dutch metal on canvas
Today I really wanted to start writing my book, but somehow I could not think of anything.
I had so many thoughts flying through my head, but I did not know how to start.
I put things on the table to inspire, but somehow I can not get started.
In any case, I already have the title.
"My little purple bike".
Maybe I'll start writing tomorrow.
Good Night, Friends
latest update: 6.May 2019
NALA ART Booklet ready for Download
The NALA ART Booklet is now available as PDF File for download.
Selected Artists show amazing NALA Artworks from southern and east Africa.
NALA Slideshow video on YouTube
On YouTube you can see the little video, which we shown during the NALA ART Exhibition in Germany.
This Video shows André´s and Nala´s artistic bicycle Journey through Africa.
The titles are in german language, but there are very nice photos to see.
Follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSkB-UHgOeo
It will be lovely if you can leave a comment about the NALA Project here: Opinion about The NALA Project.
Thank you very much
Yours NALA and André
I am currently in: Lenzburg / Switzerland
Tel. +49 176 4382 7985
+ André and NALA are back in Switzerland to promote
The NALA Project and their Artists. Searching new Exhibition Space.
We will continue our NALA Project Cycling Tour from
February 2020 in Congo Brazzaville, Gabon and Cameroon.
Cycled kilometer: 16.425 km
Tourstart by Bike was: Monday April 1, 2013
You can also find NALA on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheNalaProject
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