July 3, 2011

Review and outlook

2011-05-18_geburt-alegra (127).JPGTOPtoTOP Asia president Chris on the helm while relocating Pachamama to RSYC together with Michael. Soon after this picture was taken, there was a squall and we needed the radar to make a safe passage in the heavy traffic of Singapore harbor.

Outlook: next major TOPtoTOP events:

TOPtoTOP Asia founding Ceremony in Singapore at the RSYC on the 13th of August 2011

Clean up Kilimanjaro Expedition 2011: Check our position thanks to tracker and where we are cleaning!

World Climate Conference in Durban South Africa, from the 28th of November till the 9th of December 2011

Earth Summit in Rio from the 4th to the 6th of June 2012

... and in between we have two big Oceans to cross: the Southern Indian Ocean and the Southern Atlantic Ocean, approx. 12'000 nm!!

Review and thank you:

Because everything was so busy when Alegra was born, we like to thank you all and specially Anna, milk man Robert, Chris, Ginny, family Steiner, family Preisig, family Thatcher, family Subodh Mhaisalkar for the big help. Here only a brief, uncompleted summary of the intense time till now. We are at the moment in preparation mode for the big events above and the next cycling, climbing and sailing legs.

2011-05-18_geburt-alegra (21).JPGBest example we found just before Alegra was born: Mr. Tang's mobile recycling facility.

2011-05-18_geburt-alegra (124).JPGSandra and Peter from the Swiss consulate in Singapore issued Alegra's passport in no time!
To issue the birth certificate in Singapore when you are living on a boat, was unique to the Singapore officials. But like the other 3 kids, also Alegra has now "Pachamama" in her birth certificate.

2011-05-18_geburt-alegra (126).JPGTOPtoTOP Singapore members in training for the next school event: Dominique is using Annemarie's costume.

Thumbnail image for 2011-05-18_geburt-alegra (132).JPGAnna our friend and best helper in the final stage of the pregnancy and in the first days of Alegra.

2011-05-18_geburt-alegra (140).JPGAlegra first time on Pachamama.

We used the short time in Switzerland also to meet with CEO's of best practice examples and representatives of the Swiss government to organize the next Solution Award Expedition and the next major events in South Africa and Brazil.

Last month we worked also on a new, more interactive design of the TOPtoTOP website. Thanks to all involved in that process, special thanks goes to Kathrin and Daniel from Internezzo, Natalia from Global Arena, Jürg from push&pull and Thomas.

In between we enjoyed the baptism of Alegra on Mount Gonzen and the opportunity to see our family and friends: Andy and Vandy, Jean-Marc, cousins at the wedding of Gian-Polo; Nicole, my godfather Pin, Oma, Neni, Armanda and Franz...

...but the magic moment was when our grand grand mother Tata had Alegra in her arms. - 3 generations united: Alegra - Nona - Tata. That's the secret of life and drives us to build on a sustainable future for our magic planet earth!

2011-06_ch_taufe-alegra (148).JPGThere is exact one century in between Nona's and Alegra's hands!

Posted by dario at 10:49 AM

July 12, 2011

Start "Sea to TOP of Africa"

2011-07-12_peponi_start-at-sea.JPGKalanga and Dario at the Indian Ocean, Peponi, Tanzania

Kalanga, the Masai from the village Loibosroit A and his friend Dario, a Swiss mountain guide, started today from Tanga cycling from the shore of the Indian Ocean towards the TOP of Africa, Kilimanjaro. You can track them here!

2011-07-12_tanga_putting-bike-together.JPG1st we have been in 3 differnet shops in Tanga to get all parts to asembly 2 bikes for us. That's a good example for recycling used bikes.

2011-07-12_pangani_kalanga.JPGKalanga, - in one of the small villages between Tanga and Pangani.

Posted by dario at 6:22 PM

July 17, 2011

Cycling trough Maasai land

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_school.JPGschool in Loiborsoit

2011-07_tanzania_cycling-trough-tanzania.JPGcycling trough Tanzania

2011-07_tanzania_cycling-repairs.JPGWe were lucky to have a "Victorinox" and not many repairs.

2011-07_tanzania_maasai-country.JPGtraversing Maasai country

We started at the Tanzanian coast at the yacht club in Tanga where we plan to pass with Pachamama in October.
We said goodbye to our TOPtoTOP volunteers Gabi, Nicole, Olivier and Stephane who joined us to this point. - We will meet them again soon for the clean-up on Mount Kilimanjaro. - We from the cycling team (Kalanga and Dario) are travelling light on the bike, carring just the most important equipment to camp outside and are organizing the food on the way.

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_family-of-kalanga (9).JPGArriving at Kalanga's family boma, where TOPtoTOP danated the 2 bikes.

On the trip we made it to the home village of Kalanga. Loiborsoit A is a great place to experience the Maasai culture. Kalanga's brother Lengai runs a guest hose. It was build thanks to the support of the NGO "ENKAINA-E-RETOTO". In partnership with "ENKAINA-E-RETOTO" and the Maasai, TOPtoTOP likes to support the village Loiborsoit A that it becomes a "TOP best practice example" how to maintain their tradition for a sustainable future for people and land. - Like in other destinations on the expedition, Loiborsoit A will share the knowlege of old sustainable technologies combained with new renewable innovations and will inspire other villages in the region to go the same path: this for the ultimate goal to get a better planet for all of us. Here some images:

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_boma.JPGThe Maasai are living in bomas: The cows are protected in the center during the night and surrounded by the houses of the different family members.

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_maasai-house-inside.JPGInsight a Maasai house it is always cool during the day and warm at night.

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_massai-happy-people.JPGMaasai are happy people and love to sing, dance and play.

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_collecting-honey.JPGMaasai live from meat and milk. The milk they put in "Kalabas", where it stays fresh for 3 days. They also collect honey (see picture above) and Oloisuki. The Oloisuki fruit collection managed by Lengai is another very good and sustainable project of "ENKAINA-E-RETOTO".

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_waiting-for-water.JPGThe biggest problem is water!

Climate changes brought more draughts in the region. In 2009 a Maasai lost all his animals and did suicide. They are not allowed anymore to enter the Tarangire National Park to water their cows, like they did for centuries. Furthermore lions coming out of the Park become more and more a problem. Kalanga's father just lost 2 cows this week. It will be essential for the survival of the Massai that part of the big money from the "safari tourism industry" are compensated and i.e. used to build sufficient water holes for the Maasai along the Park borders. That might also benefit the wildlife. - It looks like that 2011 will be a disaster again - in Somalia already is!

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_not-enough-water.JPGWomen collecting water. A good solution would be a Katadyn water filter for each family to produce drinking water.

The borehole pumps, tubes and tanks are in bad conditions and urgently need maintenance. Funds of approx. US 5000. - are needed to go for the most important repairs. In a long term it would be great to make an already drilled borehole operational. This will cost another USD 15'000.- for a new pump and solar power station.

2011-07_tanzania_-loiborsoit_school-2.JPGProud students after the first clean up.

TOPtoTOP was in the school in Loiborsoit A. Only half of the 667 students can afford an exercise book to make notes. That's half a dollar, - so a total of USD 200.- per year would improve the schooling efficiency a lot.

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_recycling-workshop.JPGRecycling work shop

In this school we would like to build the "top practice example" in the region. Here some ideas:
- installing a biogas cooking facility for the 2 meals served to the students: This will help to reduce the tree cutting.
- building a water collecting system on the roofs of the class rooms leading to a water tank to fight the water shortage.

2011-07_tanzania_loiborsoit_clean-up.JPGClean up

2011-07_tanzania_londorossi (5).JPGLondorossi Gate Kilimanjaro - stop cycling and start climbing!

Finally we made it cycling to the Londorossi Gate on Kilimanjaro on approx. 2200 m and approx. 400 km from the sea.
Here the road stops and we start on Tuesday with TOPtoTOP volunteers Gabi, Nicole, Franz, Carl, Carl jun., Johanna, Marie-Louise, Veronika, Robert, Oliver, Kalanga, Stephane and many locals the "TOPtoTOP Clean-Up Kilimanjaro Expedition 2011". Kalanga will be the first Maasai cycling from the sea to the TOP of Africa.

What you can do:
- Come to Loiborsoit A as a TOP-volunteer and help to realize above ideas? Get in contact with Lengai trough lengai80(at)hotmail.com or info(at)massailand.com
- Donate to above programs: Please mention "for Maasai project 2011" and may specify
- Can somebody approach the solar company "3S" in Lyss, Switzerland and ask if they are ready to contribute some solar panels to run a water pump?*
- Can somebody find out how we best repair a hole in this 10'000 l plastic tank from the company "Kiboko Water Tank - Chapa Kiboko"?
- Can somebody approach the company "Geberit" in Jona, Switzerland for new tubes to lead from the pump to the tank?*
* Exact figures like how many kW solar power, tube length and diameters etc. please contact info(at)massailand.com

Because of the pirate situation in the Northern Indian Ocean, the cyclone season in the Southern Indian Ocean and the birth of Alegra, we decided to go to the TOP of Africa just after the baptism of Alegra and profit from the good climbing condition. In August we return to the boat in Singapore and start to sail to Africa on a Southerly route to avoid the pirates. In this time of the year the sea and weather conditions are also much better.

Posted by dario at 5:41 PM

July 29, 2011

TOP of Africa summited

See the picture gallery of Franz about the TOPtoTOP Kili Expedition.

You tube film from Mount Meru; - a small doc coming soon!

Hot news from the TOPtoTOP Kilimanjaro Clean up Expedition 2011:

2011-07-27_kili-clean-up (12).JPGsunrise from Mount Meru, looking towards Mount Kilimanjaro


On the 27th of July 2011 at 06.00 a.m. and 07.15 a.m. 13 TOPtoTOP members (Kalanga, Carl, Veronika, Carl J., Nicole, Gabi, Johanna, Marie-Louise, Robert, Dario, Stepane, Oliver and Franz) summited Mount Kilimanjaro.
It was the 5th TOP of the "1st expedition over the 7 Seas to the 7 Summits only by human power and nature's force".

2011-07-27_kili-clean-up (5).JPG
Carl junior was with 11 years the youngest in the team.

2011-07-27_kili-clean-up (15).JPG
Kalanga became the 1st Maasai cycling from the Indian Ocean together with Dario and climbing to the very TOP of Africa. He sets an example with his clean climb and will be our TOPtoTOP ambassandor inTanzania. His goal is to visit as many shools as possible and share his experience and his important message to protect the unique environment.

2011-07-27_kili-clean-up (1).JPG
From the very TOP of Kilimanjaro to the base 150 kg of garbadge was collected thanks to the support of many local guides and porters.

Before the 6-day trek around - and to the TOP of Kilimanjaro, 25 kg of trash were collected on Mount Meru.

This expedition report is supported by Ngorongoro Farm House.

Go to the gallery for more pictures.

More about the TOPtoTOP Clean Up Kilimanjaro Expedition from Nicole and Johanna:

Mount Meru

We started in Arusha, 1450 asl. From there we drove to the Arusha National Park, where we started to walk. It was amazing how many animals we could spot such as giraffes, buffalos, monkeys, zebras and differents kinds of birds. The first night we slept in the Miriakamba hut, 2500 asl. After we climbed a 1ooo stairways and left the misty mysterious rainforest and got the first glimps on Mount little Meru, 3810 asl. At night we started from to the top of Mount Meru, 4562 asl.While we were waiting for the sun to rise we were frizing. The sun was rising just next to the next top of our expedition / Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Meru has one of the worlds highest big walls. It's 2000 meters high. Within twoo days we got back to the gate on 1500 asl during this time we were collecting little litter we could find. We set a good exemple for our fellow hikers. Some dutch people, our porters and our ranger helped for collect.

Mount Kilimanjaro
The expedition for the Kili began at the Londorossi gate. There the porters were controlled whether their equipment had the right standard for the Kilimanjaro, that they had enough warm clothing and a proper sleeping bag. Not only that was checked but also the weight of 20kg that they had to carry up in addition to their private belongings. In total we had 33 porters this was necessary for the tent, the food, for us but also the porters since they needed food too. Unforunately that is not a standard for Kilimanjaro. After 2 deaths of porters last spring our organisation decided to introduce basic equipment and to distribute food on a daily basis to the porters.
We hope that in the future this measurment will be regarded as normal and that tourists will be willing to pay this additional money for the wellbeing of the porters.
Thanks to our long route we could adjuste well to the high altitude. Nobody had serious difficulty with high altitude sickness but rather with the coldness.
In our last camp we had to leave our beds in the hut because the hikers from "coca cola route" had priority.
Just before we went to bed for the short night the chances of reaching the top were reduced due to hail and snow. Nevertheless at midnight we left with a beautiful stary sky.
The talus to Gilman's point (5685 asl) was our biggest challange. It seemed not to end. It was two steps forward and one step backwards at a time. We didn't believe to ever see the top. But with the support of our group and the songs from the guids we finally made the top but not for the view because it was clowdy and very windy.
We were relieved that we actually reached the top of the hightest mountain of Africa. The bad conditions up there were forcing us to get down immediately.
On the way down we met people whom we doubted that they have ever reached the top because of their equipment and their late departure.
While we were collecting litter on the way down we got positive feedbacks.
In our last night on our trip we collected all the nice memories such as the winding down from everyday life, the being out of connection with the world, the moment when we reached the foot of Mount Meru with all the giraffes and zebras next to us and in the background the two tops of Mount Meru and Little Meru, that many of us could enjoy this trip with their families which made it all the more special but this was not the case for poor Dario, the amazing bright star sky where you get a graspe of the uniqueness of our planet and of course much more that we cannot describe in words or show in pictures.
When we were walking through the rainforest to the Mweka gate the Kilimanjaro presented himself in all his greatness with a sparkling snowdress and told us goodbye.

Posted by dario at 3:04 PM