Tuesday, February 02, 2010
JOURNEY TO WISDOM
TAKING only a change of clothes, a tent and a pair of open minds, two young men from Athlone will soon cycle thousands of kilometres to Saudi Arabia to perform their pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca.
Nathim Cairncross (27) and Imtiyaz Haron (24) hope their seven-month pilgrimage will inspire other young people.
“There is a lot of wisdom to be gained and life lessons that can be learned when travelling,” says Nathim.
“Most young people have the desire to travel, but often depend on air travel. We would like to promote alternative means of transportation, and also, promote Africa as a continent.”
“People have misconceptions about Africa. There is so much in Africa to be proud of – why focus on travelling to Europe or America?”
Walking would have been too slow, and a motorbike not ideal – but a bicycle was perfect. Imtiyaz has worked in adventure sports for two years, which is how the idea of cycling to Mecca was born.
From Cape Town, they will journey to Pretoria, then through Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and Zanzibar to Kenya. In Mombasa, they will be faced with the choice of taking a ship to Yemen or continuing overland, via Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, where they would cross the Suez Canal into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a distance of between 13?000 and 14?000 kilometres.
Each day will bring a new adventure; the men will sleep in tents or mosques if they cannot find accommodation, but have heard people are willing to host travellers.
They are prepared, having spent lots of time in the saddle, but they are also concentrating on general fitness training. All that’s left is carbo-loading.
“But there is no rush, it is not a race,” says Imtiyaz. “We will also become fitter as we go.”
Themselves inspired by others, they feel the time is right for their mission, as they are without the obligations of marriage and family.
Nathim and Imtiyaz have used their own savings to fund the trip, but would gladly welcome any sponsors.
They would in particular appreciate filming equipment with which to document the trip.
“Life is about action. There is a time for ideas and theories, but action is where the sweetness of life can be found,” says Nathim.
Nathim and Imtiyaz will leave from the Islamia College Mosque on Sunday 31 January, and they promise to send People’s Post snapshots of their trip.
For more information phone Nathim Cairncross on 073?000?6384, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The fifth pillar of Islam, it is a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in a lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.
By Teresa Fischer