I have my hands full in Cairo, between meeting contacts and organising the logistics of the journey ahead.
I start by announcing myself at the Belgian embassy, not only to provide the itinerary I am planning to follow across Egypt and Sudan, but, also to receive the medical supplies that have been sent from Brussels through the diplomatic mail as explained in the “Logistics #2 – Getting Supplies while on the Road” article. Those supplies are supposed to cover my needs over a distance of 4000 km, across Egypt, Sudan and the first half of Ethiopia where I will find the next embassy of Belgium in Addis Ababa.
The first step is to send part of my supply to Aswan, 1000 km further south, to make sure I will have fresh insulin to enter Sudan. Yet, the only temperature-controlled transport service I could get a quote from in Cairo is asking for USD 750,00. This, of course, exceeds by far my budget. I need to find another solution if I don’t want my journey to end in the south of Egypt !
In Cairo, I am also to meet with Emma Scolding. I was put in contact with her via Laura Moss, the organiser of the Cycle Touring Festival I attended in May 2017, near Clitheroe. Having heard about my project and knowing a lot of cyclists in the UK and around the globe, Laura sent me a message putting me in contact with Kate Hargreaves who cycled across Africa a couple of years earlier. Kate Hargreaves having cycled across West Africa and not East Africa, put me in contact with Peter Scolding, with whom she used to study medicine, and who used to work as a doctor in the Sudan. Back in London a couple of years ago, Peter Scolding put me in contact with his sister, Emma, who recently started working in Cairo as an English teacher. Once again, a long string of people are actively engaged in making Bike with Diabetes a reality!
Emma helped me by spreading the word, both in English and Arabic, in different social media groups about the project and the need for volunteers to interview. Mennatollah Gamal, a 25-year-old diabetes patient, reacted positively.
Yet, the first interview I am to conduct, is with Doctor Ahmed Sahmi, an ophthalmologist who will provide an insight on the situation of diabetes in Egypt. More about this later…