As a theatre maker I came up
with a plan for a journey.
A journey of a little girl on a
tractor. A journey to the end of
the world, and back. But what
is the end of the world?
If I was a child, I would say:
the South Pole! As an adult
I said: the worst war-country
I can imagine. Both voices,
The one of the child and the one
of the adult, said: We want to go!
Then I thought: All right,
we'll just dó that.
Many people talk about it,
but few actually do.
Fear holds people back,
Held-back people have regrets.
Fear and regret are damaging
to people's lives, are damaging
this world. Governed by fear
and regret, there's no room for
Southpole challenges those fears.
It tries to encourage.
Southpole is about the will to face
the world with an open-minded
attitude. The will to face world's
Southpole does not want to be
afraid. Southpole asks:
What is it you fear?
What is it that makes you happy?
What gives you courage?
As a child I mount a tractor
and head for the South Pole.
As an adult I'll make sure I
make it home safely.
Of course you can also follow my adventure’s during the final leg through this website. I’ll upload video-clips from the pervious leg of my Tractor Girl story that may not be shown anywhere else. But here’s the address of the website that was especially created for the expedition, with cool features I can only dream of is: www.antarcticatwo.com! : )
Goodbye to the home base…
Time to say goodbye to the people from Massey Ferguson in the UK. But we will be working closely together to keep you all up to speed on our adventures and whereabouts! During my (not their’s!;) last communications meeting in the UK last thursday, I was introduced to this man from ‘the archives':
Ted: “I’ve started working for Harry Ferguson back in 1952. And I can remember seeing them putting the brand new selfmade tracks on the tractor’s and loading them onto the trailer to be shipped to the Antarctic’s to the Hillary team back in 1958!”
Wow, to meet this man today on my final ‘communications meeting’ with the MF team in Coventry! : ) #believeinit (it’s really happening!!) The team here will be managing and collecting all our stories and place them on: www.antarcticatwo.com
Uh oh.. Simon’s already in Cape Town! (Simon’s one of the photographer & filmers of the expedition). This is all going to fast for me. The contents of my bags are still lying in orderly piles spread around the bag in my attic. I’m not there yet to pack them. Is this everything? Am I sure? I’m too busy with other more important things, but wait! I’m almost leaving!
Tractor-dog Biba, who’s travelled with me for years through Africa (she’s from Tanzania), senses I’m almost leaving. She doesn’t want to leave my side. She sleeps by the bed tonight, for old times sake…. So sweet and cuddly! I love her!
Your dream going with me on an Adventure?
From today you can digitally (&for free) upload your dream to travel with me on the back of my tractor, all the way to the South Pole!
Where? here: (link)
I remember it well…. Running into a BBC World crew in the drought of Southern Ethiopia. In their wake some humanitarian organizations arrived, bringing hay for kettle that had already died. Local people asked me; why is nobody really helping us? Maybe it was the politics that had stopped them all from coming sooner, but now that people had started dying the matter had changed. Maybe.
I was happy when the people from the BBC offered me to share a meal. And really relieved when I found out how involved they were in getting the stories of the people in the area across to the World. (even offering me the chance to do the same, something I’m still grateful for). For a day or two they took me under their wings and I had the privilege to see them in action. It really touched me.
Then I moved on to cross the border into Northern Kenya where no one dared follow me. It had just started raining in the area for the first time in three years, and the whole region ahead of me had flooded. The military post at the border had asked me: ‘If your tractor can do what you say it can, will you please call back from the next military post updating us on how many people and vehicles got stuck in the area so we can start trying to arrange help.”
With two soldiers on my tractor bouncing around, local people had a good laugh wherever I went. It opened up communications everywhere. But then we got into remoter territory and I passed truck after bus that was completely stuck in the mud. On the side of the road were woman and children, men sitting seemingly without food or clean drinking water. They told me they’d been stuck there for days.
Over the course of many days I heard stories of people in the area. Stories of despair, displacement and tribal war. A local primary school director during a break stopped me and told me about how he’d witnessed a massacre exactly where we stood only half a year before, killing most of the woman and children of the village, leaving him and some others desperate survivors. ‘Something must change, he said.’ Around that same time a plane crashed into the hills of remote Marsabit town I was heading to. In it a whole group of politicians that had set out to the North to finally talk about peace in the area. That night I arrived in a chaotic Marsabit. And slept, not in my tent but in a ‘hotel’ that was more like a brothel.
I arrived in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, with a soldier on the back of my tractor and stayed a few nights in what white people would call a ‘poorer area’ of the city. The people I met were hospitable and friendly.
A few days later the Tractor girl story became the talk of town. I was asked to bring my sudden popularity to use by walking the catwalk of a fashion show organized by a UN woman’s group to give some support to a female Kenyan politician (the honorable Nyoke Ndungu) who was trying to get a law in place that better protect victims of rape. Now that was really the talk of town, high and low, nobody believed that law would come to pass.
Because there were no local men or woman that dared share their story, afraid of the stigma it would give, I shook the dust out of my hair, kicked off my boots, and gave a public speech in front of mrs Ndungu and a big group of others, about how in my own country only recently the law had finally changed. And how that had made all the difference……. to me.
The stories I collected of the people in Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya are amongst the saddest and toughest I’ve come across in those 3,5 years of driving a very slow tractor through Africa towards the Cape of Good Hope. But they all travel with me on the back of my tractor to a continent where at least, there’s never been war. They all travel with me to the South Pole.
This article was written In response to the article posted by Martin Plaut. One of the most dedicated journalists I’ve seen. Martin and Rumella Dasgupta were part of the BBC World crew I met in the drought of Southern Ethiopia. It was a privilege meeting you. Thanks for all you’ve shown. Martin’s article: http://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/on-a-tractor-to-the-south-pole-via-sudan-ethiopia-kenya/
Here’s the links to the stories I wrote on this website while on the road through Africa: Part 1 meeting at the border & Part 2 getting to Marsabit and beyond…
Gratefull and super happy to announce the tire company Trelleborg has become a sponsor to my Antarctica by (tire-driven!) tractor expedition end of this year!
The last few months they’ve done extensive testings and research on the glacier in Iceland. They’ve really challenged themselves in the extreme cold and really outdone themselves big time! : ) Grateful for these people to work with, and for the Trelleborg company joining the expedition!!!