African Odyssey
Series front
Q & A
About the trip
Related links
The Journey
Day one
Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day six
Day seven
Day eight
Day nine
Day ten
Day eleven
Day twelve
Day thirteen
Q Kay T. El Paso, TX 4/23/00 12:51:31 AM
World Bank & IMF tout heavy investment in Kenya and Uganda for "infrastructure." Do you see any evidence that some of this investment is going toward road construction?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 11:55:40 AM
Funny that Kay should mention the IMF. I'll be writing a story about infastructure improvements in Kenya and how the IMF is forcing Kenya to crack down on corruption. Overweight trucks -- easy to get by inspectors who can be bought off -- were responsible in the past for tearing up Kenya's roads. Since the IMF is funding a new round of road improvements, the agency is pressuring Kenya to enforce weight limits. By most accounts, it's pretty hard to overload a truck nowadays. Uganda is also making an effort to repair roads that were woefully maintained. I recently traveled in southwest Uganda, where I was involved in a small collision in 1997 when my driver attempted to avoid a pothole. The Ugandans are diligently repairing that road, greatly reducing the worries of travel there.

Q Noreen Saggese Sewell,N.J. 4/23/00 3:33:06 AM
What were the weather conditions in Mombasa when you left and what weather do you expect to encounter?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 11:56:15 AM
Mombasa was a sultry 86 degrees on Saturday -- humid as usual for the Indian Ocean city. Most of the country we travel through should be pleasantly mild -- 80s in the day and 60s at night. It's the rainy season in East Africa now, but the rains have been disappointing (or disastrous, as you can see by what is happening in Ethiopia). We encountered light rain today driving into Bungoma, Kenya, accompanied by dramatically dark clouds.

Q Noreen Saggese Sewell, N.J. 4/23/00 3:37:27 AM
How will James assist his father with this trek over the next two weeks?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 11:56:55 AM
James does a lot of the "grunt" work. He siphons diesel from the auxiliary tanks into the truck's main tanks (the truck is carrying 1,800 liters of diesel). He checks the tires to make sure they're inflated. He checks and reties the tarpaulin covering the sorghum. He runs documents over to the weigh-station officials while Francis drives the rig over the scales. Some day James aspires to be a driver like his father -- he gets to practice with the truck when it's empty. He reckons it will take him about five years to be qualified to drive.

Q susii Philadelphia 4/23/00 9:03:22 AM
How did you get to be a reporter for the Inquirer Mr. Maykuth?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 5:01:46 AM
I went to journalism school at the University of Missouri. After working for a small newspaper in Missouri, I was hired by the Inquirer in 1984 during a moment when my editors apparently lost leave of their senses. They tried to get rid of me by sending me to Africa in 1996.

Q Briana NJ 4/23/00 2:10:18 AM
Has your journey to help children in Africa with AIDS been effective to the children you have helped?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 11:59:02 AM
It's hard to determine if the stories I write about people in need in Africa have any sort of effect, but humanitarian agencies tell us the attention the media gives to issues like AIDS does raise public awareness in the States. Some people respond by becoming more generous to the humanitarian agencies. Others call their lawmakers to put more pressure on the US government to become more involved. I'd like to think the stories enlighten people and make a positive contribution.

Q Ruti Phila., PA 4/23/00 5:02:32 AM
Why on p. 1,the 5th paragraph from day 1, did they write, "the FABLED Mombasa port?" What does 'the "fabled" port' mean here?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 5:02:57 AM
I suppose I was taking some poetic license with that. Mombasa is well-known in Africa as one of those places where all sorts of illicit trade was conducted, and is still conducted. It's a very colorful, gritty sort of town where people of many different cultures coexist, sometimes peacefully.

Q alexandra moylan,pa 4/23/00 12:01:05 PM
Mr. Maykuth, Is this the most difficult assignment you've ever had? Did you have to take a lot of equipment or did you pack light? How about food?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 12:00:28 PM
I once went hiking with the Nicaraguan Contras for six weeks, which was physically very demanding and required a photographer and I to pack extremely lightly -- we slept in hammocks and ate all sorts of strange wild game. This trip does not require us to pack very lightly, since we're going by vehicle. So far we've encountered plenty of restaurants along the way, so there's no shortage of cooked food. We're very busy filing our stories and photographs each day, so we've begun to raid the stash of dried fruit and granola bars that we're taking to get us through Sudan.

Q Ruti Phila., PA 4/23/00 5:06:05 AM
Whoops! Why on p. 1,the 5th paragraph from JOURNEY, did they write, "the FABLED Mombasa port?" What does'the "fabled" port' mean here?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 12:00:03 PM
See answer above

Q chazzman42 4/23/00 5:08:59 AM
how long do you think the trip will take? do you feel threatened at all?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 5:05:02 AM
I expect the trip to take two weeks. I'm not sure I can handle anything much longer than that -- it's very exhausting bouncing around in the cab of this truck as it grinds through pot holes. So far we haven't encountered much that would be threatening. Most people in Africa are very warm towards foreigners, and when they see us in the truck, they usually react with waves and thumbs up.

Q shortlegs Phila. Pa. 4/23/00 12:18:29 PM
As a retired truck driver I am curious about the pay of the drivers for this very dangerous trip. Thank you
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 12:02:16 PM
On Day 2, I did a profile of driver Francis Kuria. He gets paid about $170 a month in salary and the company gives him $114 for expenses -- food and lodging -- during the drive to and from Uganda. Considering the round trip could last two weeks, that's not much.

Q KGregory Philadelphia, PA 4/23/00 7:47:24 PM
In your Day One article who wrote....."displaced by the country's 17-year civil war." What are the reasons behding such a long and deadly war?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 12:01:39 PM
The civil war in Sudan is very complex. I hope to write about it in more depth when we reach Sudan at the end of the week.

Q deja philadelphia, pa 4/23/00 8:03:59 PM
what was life like in southern sudan before british rule?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/25/00 5:06:34 AM
That's a good question. I will pose it to the Sudanese when I get to Sudan.

Q Chris Royersford , pa 4/24/00 5:21:29 AM
Can you get a good cheese steak in Africa?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 3:06:18 AM
Africa unfortunately is deprived of cheese steak. Those who get to eat a lot of meat are considered wealthy. The favorite food in rural Africa are starchy foods like ugali (that's Swahili). Ugali is a pounded and boiled corn that has the consistency of Play Dough. Africans eat it with their fingers, deftly rolling a glob of ugali into a ball, which they used to dip in stews of goat meat or vegetables. West Africans have a similar food made from cassava (the same root from which tapioca is made) or pounded yam. East Africa also has a very good freshwater fish called Tilapia. Lake Victoria is a great source for the fish, which young men sell by the side of the road to passing motorists. The drivers typically tie the fish to the front of their car to keep them cool until they get home. It's a strange sight to see fish stuck to the grill of a car.

Q Briana NJ 4/24/00 1:32:36 PM
Has the rain effected your journey through Africa
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 10:02:04 AM
We have not yet encountered any sustained rains that inhibited our travel, though there was some drizzle on Monday that made the road so slick outside Eldoret that Francis and the other drivers slowed down to 5 mph on a sustained downhill. He used his airbrakes a lot to prevent the trailer from jack-knifing behind us. If anything, Africans would like to see more rain now because there has been a drought in the region, affecting agricultural output.

Q punkrokker pa 4/24/00 7:12:04 AM
what kind of gas mileage do you get
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 10:18:36 AM
Anwar Bayusuf, the operations manager of the trucking company we're travelling with, says his vehicles get about 1.13 kilometers per liter of diesel. That's approximately 2.8 miles to the gallon.

Q Dennis and Patricia Winnop Dallas, TX 4/24/00 8:17:20 AM
Hi Michael! Really enjoying your photographs! Best Wishes. Dennis and Paticia
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 3:23:03 AM
Habari, Dennis and Patricia. Michael says hello. Wait til you see the video Michael has taken on the trip. It should be appearing soon on the web site.

Q Trish Dallas 4/24/00 8:20:08 AM
What kind of food do you eat on this type of trip? Do you carry it as though you are on a camping trip?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 10:20:17 AM
We're carrying some canned food and snacks like granola bars, nuts and crackers. We're eating ordinary food when it's available. Eggs for breakfast, sandwiches and "chips" -- French fries and lots of salad and fruit, such as bananas, pineapple and papaya. A couple of days ago in Eldoret we had lunch at a hotel, which had a "burger" on the menu. I took the plunge and ordered a "hamburger." The waiter accepted this order without comment. Ten minutes later, he served me a burger with a slice of ham on it.

Q Nan West Chester, Pa. 4/24/00 9:29:11 PM
Why does the Sudan Air Force Planes bomb good-will trucks of wheat for their own starving people? I love your articles; very interesting.
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 10:21:24 AM
I suppose the government regards much of the aid that goes to the people of southern Sudan as directly or indirectly helping the rebels. The government has been criticized for its aerial bombings by the international community.

Q PT Medford, NJ 4/25/00 9:53:30 AM
What is a regulars day feeding consist of??? PT (age 8)
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 3:26:37 AM
Please see my answer above about the food we brought with us.

Q PT Medford, NJ 4/25/00 9:55:14 AM
what do you expect to accomplish on this trip? PT (age 8)
A Andrew Maykuth 4/26/00 3:26:37 AM
We hope to learn more about Africans, to learn from Africans, to see some new places and help our readers gain a better understanding of Africa.

Q joeboxer riverside nj 4/25/00 3:06:00 PM
how much does diesel fuel cost? and does the driver need any special permits to travel from country to country?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:34:27 PM
In Kenya, diesel costs about 53 cents a liter. In Uganda, it's about 69 cents a liter. That's more than $2.50 a gallon. The truck driver does need all sorts of permits to cross from one country to another. Part of the reason we are held up at the border is because the driver doesn't have all the documents he needs.

Q joeboxer riverside nj 4/25/00 3:17:00 PM
this article is very interesting and i look forward to future articles from andrew
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:35:06 PM
Thank you.

Q Madeline Philadelphia 4/25/00 4:01:20 PM
I was advised five years ago that you could not travel to the Sudan without an armed escort. The political situation does not seem to have improved. Will you have police or army escort after you cross into Sudan?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:35:23 PM
I don't think we'll be accompanied by an armed escort. It's not one of the conditions of our travel permits a representative of the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association, the humanitarian wing of The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement.

Q Hiro Texas 4/25/00 5:12:55 PM
Mr. Wirtz: Is there anything you need to be careful esp. when taking photos? How about film process, recharging batteries, heat, communication/ language, etc.?
A Michael Wirtz 4/28/00 6:43:36 PM
I am using digital cameras and transmitting via a sattelite telephone. Transmitting takes about 30 minutes per photo at 2400 bits-per-second, and that's with a small image file! I import the photos from the cameras into a laptop computer. I view small thumbnail images to make my selections, then edit and adjust the photos in the computer. Then I add caption information before transmitting. The cameras, computer and satellite telephone require a lot of battery power. We recharge the batteries at night if we have electrical power. If not, we can connect the equipment to a car battery. Most people agree to be photographed. I try to approach people in a friendly way and explain the them who we are and what we are doing. Some people expect to be tipped for a photo, a result of too many tourists. Language has not been a problem. Many people speak English.

Q Jacquie Middleburg, NC 4/25/00 6:32:09 PM
African Americans seem never to be included on these trips to parts of Africa for aide, it appears to be mostly s. African whites, What can A.Amer. do to help their people there.
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:36:04 PM
There are lots of things that Americans, including African Americans, can do to help people in Africa. You could give money to humanitarian organizations that work in Africa. You could go to work for such an organization. You could become a missionary in Africa. You could invest in African companies or those that specialize in projects that empower Africans. A lot of people first get their introduction to Africa by traveling here to learn about, and learn from, Africans. I am gratified by how warmly most Africans regard Americans, considering how little we do in relation to our capacity to give. (By the way, I have not run across any white South Africans so far on this trip).

Q Scott Alexander Boothwyn, PA 4/25/00 8:34:45 PM
Thank you so much for your work. I hope you will also give us your take on the GOS relief flight bans to vast regions of Sudan. I think they are guilty of ethnic cleansing. Do you agree?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:36:26 PM
I'd like to spend some more time in Sudan before I reach any conclusions -- I've only been there once before. The Government of Sudan probably has some security concerns about any flights that come into rebel-held territory. But by most accounts, its bans on relief flights do seem pretty vindictive.

Q Christy Wirtz Wilmington, DE 4/25/00 8:45:56 PM
Enjoying Andy's writing and Mike's pictures,immensely. Such fun to follow you guys on your travels! Would like to know when you are coming home, tho!
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:37:11 PM
At the speed we're travelling, Michael could qualify for temporary residency in Uganda very soon. Maybe he'll be home next month.

Q Daniel DeSanto Wilmington, DE 4/25/00 8:48:55 PM
Hi Mike. It looks like you're getting some great shots. Have you seen any chincillas? Please let me know. Love, Da
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:37:26 PM
We haven't seen any chincillas, but we've seen zebras along the road, hippos at Lake Nakuru, impala, waterbuck, wildebeeste, flamingos, dik-diks, lots of lizards and masked weavers (a crazy yellow bird). We've also seen lots of road-kill, but we won't get into that here.

Q Peggy West Chester 4/25/00 2:52:08 PM
Michael - Enjoying your photos. Are you using a digital camera? If not, how are you "transmitting" the Photos over the telephone. How do you choose which "one" to send?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:37:49 PM
Please see the answer above about our equipment.

Q W. A. Johnson St. Davids, PA 4/25/00 9:59:12 PM
In your Day One report you described how the highway follows the railroad to Uganda. Does any of the grain move on the railroad or is it abandoned?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/28/00 6:38:19 PM
There are lots of transporation routes into the interior of Africa, and the transporters of relief food use almost all of them. Which route they choose depends upon how quickly they need to deliver the food, its final destination, what transport is available and which one is the most cost effective. The Uganda railroad still functions, but it's very slow and the line that goes to Kampala is very steep when it climbs out of the Great Rift Valley -- trains need to be broken up and reassembled. Rail cars are also in short supply. Some goods travel by rail across Kenya to Kisumu on Lake Victoria, where the rail cars are transferred to barges that sail to Uganda. The largest distributor of relief food in the region is the World Food Program, the U.N. agency whose primary source of food is the US government. WFP sends almost all its food aid from Mombasa to Kampala by rail because it's the cheapest way to transport it. WFP has a large warehouse in Kampala where food is dispatched by truck to Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. WFP also moves large amounts of food aid into inaccessible regions of southern Sudan by air, though it is by far the most expensive way of delivering food.

Q 4/27/00 3:45:03 AM
Q Barbara Philly 4/27/00 3:48:40 AM
Are you by any chance going near Gulu in Northern Uganda? If so, Abitimo Rebecca Odongkara, whose family lives in Germantown, runs a school there: UNIFAT. Could you visit there?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/29/00 4:05:38 PM
We passed through Gulu on Friday, but like many of the places we have gone, we were on the fly. We wrote a story from there about children who escaped from the Lord's Resistance Army.

Q 4/27/00 9:03:14 AM
Q Tyler voorhees, nj 4/27/00 6:27:12 PM
What are you most afraid that you might encounter durring this trip?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/29/00 4:05:57 PM
I'm afraid my computer will break and I won't be able to read my e-mail.

Q Paul Kearns Dallas 4/28/00 12:05:23 PM
Do you find yourselves the focus of derision or curiosity?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/29/00 4:06:12 PM
Not too much derision, at least not to our faces. People are very curious, though. They don't see too many muzungus (white people) riding in trucks. That gets lots of double takes. People sometimes think we're the owner of the truck. In the more remote parts of Africa, they don't see a lot of foreign visitors, so I'm accustomed to standing out. It's something you learn to deal with. People are always watching.

Q michela philly 4/28/00 12:33:47 PM
What is the average percential of child abuse in africa?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/29/00 4:06:51 PM
I don't know the percentage. It's such a hidden thing, and I suspect there's not too much reliable research out there. I think Africans might define child abuse differently than they do in the States. Corporal punishment is widely practiced. Yet children are generally well-behaved and obedient. It's rare to run across an insolent child. At the same time, children are less supervised once they get to be mobile than in the States. We see crowds of children running along the highway on their way to school with no adults in sight. It makes me cringe to think what might happen if one darted into the road.

Q Kevin Sparkman Medord, NJ 4/28/00 1:08:29 PM
Greetings. Enjoyed following your trip. My company is concluding a 2 wk webcast trip in the country of Georgia at Check it out when you can. What digital cameras are you using for your work? How many people are actually part of your team?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/29/00 4:07:22 PM
I'll check it out when I get somewhere where we have access to the Internet. Michael is using Nikon digital cameras. Our team consists of me and Michael and the driver of a second vehicle that is carrying our gear and giving us a little extra mobility from the tractor-trailer.

Q Joyce Belmar, NJ 4/28/00 4:05:55 PM
I am very much enjoying your series!! We are exposed to little information that a person can relate to about everyday life in these countries. Also, the wildlife and nature shows tell us much about the wildlife but practically nothing about the human life that is so affecting the wildlife! I actually pictured the Lake Victoria falls like a beautiful site (ex: Niagra) before reading your article! I enjoy reading about your honorable and dedicated trucker and h
A Andrew Maykuth 4/29/00 4:07:47 PM
Thanks for your note. We're trying to do something a little different with this series, and we're gratified that you appreciate it.

Q Phillip Gilliam Philadelphia, PA 4/28/00 4:31:29 PM
Great story so far. I'm curious though, what makes of trucks (mack, volvo, mercedes) do they use over there??
A Andrew Maykuth 4/29/00 4:08:07 PM
European trucks dominate the market here. M.A. Bayusuf & Sons Ltd., the company we're riding with, uses Mercedes Benz trucks exclusively. Other big transporters use Swedish trucks like Scania and Volvo. There are some British Leylands knocking around out there. The Somali drivers -- they're the rogue cowboys of the road -- prefer old beat-up Fiats (Somalia used to be an Italian colony). We don't see many of the big American rigs that dominate the U.S. highways. We see left-hand drive trucks and right-hand drive trucks -- Rwanda, Burundi and Congo drive on the right-hand side of the road as they do in America, while the former British colonies like Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, drive on the left. Makes for confusion at the border.

Q Suzanne Phila, PA 4/28/00 7:57:46 PM
What would you do if the car battery were to run out? By the way, I love the pictures you are taking!
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 12:31:26 PM
Energy supply is one of Michael's great worries. We took along an extra car battery in Kenya, but we only had to charge batteries while the car was driving and never really taxed the system too severely. The truck has two 12-volt batteries that we can tap into if we're desperate. When all else fails, there's usually somebody around with a battery or a generator who can be compensated sufficiently to let us borrow their equipment. If we had to, we'd just file shorter stories and fewer photos until we relocated a secure power source. I'm more worried about what might happen if one of the computers fails. And we're already in a tight position with the satellite telephones -- one of them failed on Day Two.

Q Cindy Jerusalem 4/29/00 3:08:21 AM
No need to reply- just want you to know that the series is tremendous. Great imagery, and it justifies all of the time you've had to spend away from your fabulous, patient wife. C.
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 12:32:26 PM
. Our wives are indeed exceptionally patient. My wife read the story we put together about our driver, Francis Kuria, who rarely sees his spouse because he is always on the road. "Sounded a little bit familiar," she wrote me.

Q Cindy Jerusalem 4/29/00 3:08:24 AM
No need to reply- just want you to know that the series is tremendous. Great imagery, and it justifies all of the time you've had to spend away from your fabulous, patient wife. C.
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 12:33:46 PM
See answer above.

Q tom wilmington 4/29/00 12:08:38 PM
Are you geting physically or emotionally tired‹-especially with difficult conditions, lugging equipment and sending photos and stories digitally every
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 12:33:46 PM
Some days we're pretty pooped. We've been getting up around 5 and working to nearly midnight to file our photos and stories. The story supplies a lot of adrenalin that keeps us going. So does the e- mail. I was hoping for a little more sleep last night, but the hotel with an electrical generator in Arua where we're staying unfortunately is also having a huge disco celebrating the end of school terms. The disco is right below our rooms. The music went on until 4:30 a.m. I must say I prefer roosters crowing.

Q Lauren 4/29/00 3:18:26 PM
What kinds of supplies do you get for the kids?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 12:33:46 PM
I assume you mean what sort of goodies we hand out? People in Africa sometimes expect gifts from visitors, and in Kenya, where there are so many foreign tourists, people are pretty forthright about their demands for being paid for having their photo taken. In Uganda, it's a little different -- a little more unspoiled. I used to hand out sweets until I met some folks at a game reserve in Tanzania who described how Masai villagers near the park gate had exceptionally high levels of tooth decay that they attributed to all the candy given away by tourists. Many rural schools lack even the most basic supplies, so now I give away pens or pads of paper. A child can always trade the pen for candy, but at least somebody has a pen.

Q Tracy Pt. Pleasant, NJ 4/29/00 8:30:16 PM
Hi. Just got back from a week in Kenya on business for Lucent. Did you find that although the political/ economical situation is difficult, most people want to build a technology infrastructure to move their countries into the 21st century?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 7:55:44 PM
I've found that many Africans are eager to embrace new technology. They understand the economic implications of improving communications and they are often frustrated by their governments' efforts to erect obstacles to accessing technology rather than making it more easy to obtain. Kenya is a prime example. It costs more than $100 a month in Kenya to subscribe to an Internet account and more than $500 to set up a cellular telephone account (and then it only functions in a few cities). Both the cell phone system and the Internet services are controlled by government monopolies, which see them as tremendous revenue sources and are not eager to lower prices to make the services available to a broader market. In places like Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa, however, the new technology is more reasonably priced and therefore more accessible. It's more democratic.

Q Eric Moore Voorhees, New Jersey 4/30/00 10:33:02 AM
What kinds of cultural foods have you ate since you have been in Africa?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 7:55:44 PM
See answer below.

Q Eric Moore Voorhees, New Jersey 4/30/00 10:33:34 AM
What kinds of cultural foods have you eaten since you have been in Africa?
A Andrew Maykuth 4/30/00 7:55:44 PM
Everyday African cuisine is generally wholesome but unspectacular. It's often a stew accompanied by some sort of starchy glutinous porridge made of corn, sorghum or cassava. The corn mush is called ugali in East Africa or mealie pop in South Africa. If you travelled to Italy, it's similar to polenta. The stew is sometimes made from vegetables or greens, goat meat, beef or chicken. (Chicken and pork are often more expensive than beef). Africans frequently eat the food with their hands, but I've never mastered the technique and usually use a fork to avoid embarrassing myself. Africans also eat lots of fruit and bananas, which are plentiful across the continent. The most sublime pineapple I've ever eaten in my life came from Liberia.

Q Katie Haddonfield 4/30/00 1:13:07 PM
What is the African Government doing to protect Africa's children against the LRA and other rebel groups, and what impact does the fighting have upon the kids?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/1/00 7:16:42 AM
The Ugandan government has moved a good number of soldiers into the northern part of the country to protect those families who are relocated into protected villages. But that means people have given up a lot of liberty to avoid the rebels. Some say the government could do more but it has divided its resources with the war in neighboring Congo, where Uganda has dispatched a fair number of troops. The counselors who work with children at the World Vision trauma center in Gulu say the children often are deeply disturbed by their experiences, especially if they were forced to kill another person or another child. It takes a while to get the children to open up. They use a lot of art therapy to get the kids to express themselves. One 16-year-old girl I met at the center had been badly shot in the leg while trying to escape the LRA -- she was sitting at a hospital for weeks with an untreated compound fracture. Since World Vision intervened more than a year ago, she has had corrective surgery four times but the leg is still badly deformed and the surgeons think there is little they can do to make it better. They've suggested an amputation, but the girl just can't bring herself to agree to lose the leg. She thinks it can be healed. The World Vision staff are trying to help her make the decision, but they recognize she will have to decide herself. It's part of the healing process, but she is having a tough time.

Q Bob Woolford Shawnee Mission ,KS 4/30/00 3:08:36 PM
How can the US really make difference in Africa? Should we make a difference?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/1/00 7:17:24 AM
That's a big question, Bob. There's a lot of debate about what US policy should be towards Africa and other parts of the world -- how much our interests are purely commercial and how much they should be guided by humanitarian concerns. It's a lot for me to bite off and chew as I'm rushing along on this journey. But I think that as the world becomes more globalized, there is no way that the US can avoid not being involved in Africa, and that we have a moral obligation to try to make our involvement as positive as it can be. We are a big, bountiful country and Americans should give something back to the world for the disproportionate amount of resources we consume. That means we should try to guide nations towards democracy, but we can also attach terms and conditions for doing business with countries or giving them aid.

Q Eric Moore Voorhees, New Jersey 4/30/00 6:59:24 PM
What kind of strange or amazing animals do you see besides the ones listed?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/1/00 7:17:48 AM
I must say that Michael, the photographer, has become a rather strange and amazing animal after ten days on the road. Just kidding. Africa has so many strange, interesting, wonderful and fascinating creatures. The sad thing about our trip is that we are moving so fast that we can't spend much time to pause and look at the wildlife.

Q princess veronica 5/1/00 3:43:04 PM
I was wondering if in Africa their were any special things like rituals or different hoildays celebrated there? Please tell me if there is!!!!
A Andrew Maykuth 5/2/00 11:00:48 AM
Each of the more than 50 countries in Africa has their own holidays celebrating those events or people that are important to them. They have days celebrating their independence, labor day (May 1), and holidays marking the birthdays or inauguration days of their own heroes. And as for different rituals, I couldn't even begin to tell you about those. In addition to different countries, Africa has thousands of different tribes and ethnic groups. Often people identify more closely with their clan than they do their national government. The different ethnic groups find all sorts of ways -- dances, prayers, potions -- to express their identity or their devotion to spirits. Even in the modern world, people dress up in the costumes their ancestors wore to celebrate their heritage. A lot of European Americans do the same thing -- St. Patrick's Day, for instance.

Q Dennis Winnop Dallas, TX 5/1/00 4:05:07 PM
Michael,With the length of time to upload 1 photograph, it's must take a long time to upload a video. What software are yopu using to compress the video file? Thanks
A Andrew Maykuth 5/2/00 4:02:30 PM
We're not able to compress the video sufficiently to upload on a satellite telephone -- at least in the amount of time we have on the road -- so we cheated and sent it by express courier from various locations along the road.

Q Jay Wagner Des Moines, Ia. 5/1/00 4:16:27 PM
My wife and I are sponsoring a Sudanese family who arrived here last week. We've enjoyed the series and look forward to hearing more about public policy in Sudan.
A Andrew Maykuth 5/2/00 4:02:30 PM
Thanks. I hope to cover some of those points in the next few days.

Q Jay Wagner Des Moines 5/1/00 4:19:13 PM
Our Sudanese friends say a no- fly zone in south Sudan would improve the situation for thousands of Christians. What do people there think the world can do to stop the civil war?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/2/00 4:02:30 PM
I expect a no-fly zone would help a lot, but this is not Iraq: The U.N. has not taken any sort of action to intervene in the conflict and still recognizes the Kharthoum government as the sovereign power over southern Sudan. Most of the people in this part of Sudan think the world should lend more support to the south to help them defeat the government forces. There aren't a lot of governments willing to openly support a rebel movement to undermine a sitting government, even if they are uncomfortable with the folks in Kharthoum.

Q suraj patel voorhees,nj 5/1/00 6:39:20 PM
hello! In your journey has it been tough or easy on your trip? If so how?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/2/00 4:02:30 PM
It's pretty tough going, travelling all that way and then trying to get our stories out at night. But we're having a lot of fun.

Q Suraj Patel Voorhees \NJ 5/1/00 7:00:07 PM
Have you seen any wild animals such as cheetahs or lions or tigers?Were they harmless or dangerous?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/2/00 4:02:30 PM
We've seen a lot of animals, but no predators like lions or cheetahs. The truck drivers we are following don't have a lot of time or interest in visting game reserves, so we tend to go where they go. There aren't any wild tigers in Africa. They're native to Asia. But there are leopards here, which are among the most cunning and awesome predators I've ever seen. They're very shy, though.

Q Eric (The Master) Moore Voorhees, New Jersey 5/1/00 8:25:26 PM
I was the only kid in my class who could find this site. The one in the newspaper was a little off. I was wondering about the kinds of foliage in Africa.
A Andrew Maykuth 5/2/00 4:02:49 PM
Sorry you had problems finding the site. You are an intrepid lad to have located us all the way in Africa! Today we travelled through some lovely forests in Sudan, filled with all sorts of tropical foliage: teak trees with leaves as big and thick as a deflated football to bamboo stalks with leaves as willowy and light as feathers. Mango trees are big and graceful and have lots of dark green leaves. Many of the trees here are evergreen, and even when the trees lose their leaves, there is nothing like a colorful North American autumn.

Q Kathy Kelly Columbus, OH 5/2/00 12:43:18 PM
Hi Andy! My sister, Erin McFadden Racine, referred me to the site. Your travels are so interesting and exciting.I like the format. Keep up the good work!
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 11:42:52 AM
Thanks, Kathy. Who knows? Some of this sorghum that we've watched being trucked across Africa might have been grown in Ohio.

Q Jen M Havertown 5/2/00 3:15:00 PM
What can we do to help the people of Sudan?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 11:43:09 AM
It's hard to advise you, since the situation in Sudan is so political -- some might say the best thing you could do is to send weapons to the southern Sudanese. If you want to help feed the Sudanese or provide them with medical care, there are a number of humanitarian organizations working in the region, including various United Nations agencies such as Unicef or the World Food Program.

Q Kevin Voorhees, New Jersey 5/2/00 3:19:46 PM
Are there many people that die every day because of starvation? If so why aren't other countries helping?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 11:45:06 AM
According to the United Nations, more than 800 million people in the world are chronically malnourished, including 180 million children who are underweight. Of the 12 million children who die each year in developing countries, Unicef estimates that 55 percent die from malnutrition. The world's farmers produce enough food to feed the world's 6 billion people. The problem is that food is distributed unequally because countries are too poor to produce it or buy it. Another problem is simply moving food from one location to another -- bad roads. We've experienced that problem first hand in the last two weeks. Though the United States gives away the most food of any country, it is not the only country to donate. European countries also give through the European Union and some Asian countries like Japan are also active -- some give food and others give money to help deliver the food to the hungry.

Q Kevin Voorhees, New Jersey 5/2/00 3:28:42 PM
What is one of the most deadliest diseases in Africa
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 11:45:06 AM
The two big killers are malaria and HIV/AIDS. Malaria is endemic to most of the areas we are travelling, and there are a number of ways you can reduce your exposure to the disease and to treat it. AIDS is already taking a huge toll economically in Africa, and there is no cure, but it is easier to avoid exposure to AIDS than it is to prevent yourself from getting bitten by a mosquito.

Q Dave Voorhees NJ 5/2/00 3:43:47 PM
Is it warm, hot, or blazing hot outside?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 11:45:06 AM
It is sweltering hot in the sun and pleasantly warm if you're fortunate to be in a shady, breezy area.

Q Dave Voorhees, NJ 5/2/00 3:45:50 PM
Do mosquitos or any other bugs bother you that much when you are outside?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 11:45:06 AM
Mosquitos are a problem in the morning and the evening, but we use repellent or try to sleep under mosquito nets when possible. I also had a spider in my luggage this morning, but it seemed friendly enough and vacated my belongings without incident.

Q Devon Vooorhees 5/2/00 4:23:04 PM
Do you have any opinion on the fact that America is pratically throwing away money, when they could be helping the people in Africa?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 1:46:53 PM
Yes. I think America could do itself proud by throwing away more money on the poor people of the world. Myself included.

Q Greg Voorhees, NJ 5/2/00 5:32:05 PM
What are your real feelings about going to Africa to do this and don't you miss your families?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 1:46:53 PM
I live in Africa with my family, and Michael lives near Philadelphia with his, but no matter what continent we call home, we miss our families.

Q Cool Dude Voorhees, New Jersey 5/2/00 6:26:03 PM
Have you seen any carniverous plants in Africa? Is bonded labor on a rise or decrease in Africa and what if anything are you doing about it?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 1:46:53 PM
I haven't seen any carniverous plants, and if I do, you can bet I will give them a lot of clearance. I don't know much about bonded labor, but I try to do my best by paying people a fair wage.

Q ratna shah voorhees, nj 5/2/00 6:23:19 PM
How do the tribes in Africa vary?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 1:46:53 PM
Oh, my. There are so many tribes and so many ways they differ, mostly in the way they think and their cultural preferences. Ethnic identity is a source of pride and security for many African people, but it is also the source of many conflicts, rivalries and wars. It's a shame more people can't identify with the things we have in common rather than focusing on those things that make us different.

Q Eric Moore Voorhees, New Jersey 5/2/00 6:33:39 PM
How do you feel about this trip? Are you satisfied with the amount of help you gave? Do you plan on going on any more trips to foreign countries to help people?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 1:46:53 PM
I feel great about this trip, though I could use a nice shower right now and some clean clothes. I hope we've helped some people understand a little more about Africa and its people. And I certainly hope this is not my last trip overseas or in Africa -- the continent has much to give.

Q ratna voorhees, nj 5/2/00 6:31:22 PM
While you are driving through Africa, what types of wild life do you see?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 1:46:53 PM
We see some wild animals, though the most spectacular and rare animals are in game parks and we have not spent much time there on this trip -- too much time hanging out in truck stops. Today we met some young men who were hunting bush rats with their bows and arrows, and I wanted to see one myself, but all the varmints were hiding from the hunters.

Q ratna voorhees.nj 5/2/00 6:39:12 PM
Has travelling through Africa been an exciting trip?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/3/00 1:46:53 PM
It has been a thrill and an educational experience. Lots of fun, too.

Q Kia Philadelphia, PA 5/3/00 2:20:29 PM
How has this experience affected you? What have you learned?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I've learned a lot about a new area of Sudan I had never visited before, and I've learned a lot about food aid and the business of transporation. And somebody paid me to learn about it! What a great job!

Q Kia Philadelphia, PA 5/3/00 2:21:26 PM
Is there any end in site to the civil war? What can the U.S. do to help? And is the U.S. doing enough?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
There doesn't seem to be any immediate solution. Both sides are pretty entrenched and unwilling to surrender. The United States is not in a very good position to negotiate an end to the war because it is so clearly sided against the government in Khartoum.

Q sweetness241 voorhees.nj 5/3/00 5:01:37 PM
In Africa during the bombing did you see any of them explode or feel the reaction??
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
We didn't see any of the bombs explode. Even if I was in an area where the bombing was going on, I would rather stay in a bomb shelter and describe the aftermath alive than to experience the explosion as my last living act.

Q Adri voorhees 5/3/00 5:11:45 PM
Dear Andrew and Michael, In our language class you guy are all we talk about. I was wondering, what do people like to do for fun in Africa? Adri
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
See above

Q Kevin voorhees,nj 5/3/00 5:53:10 PM
How does it feel to give food to people in Africa that don't have much?... Good or ?ad
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
You should ask yourself that question, since it is your government -- that means you -- who is giving the food to hungry people in Africa. Does it feel good?

Q KEVIN VOORHEES,NJ 5/3/00 6:07:52 PM
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I have never done anything like this before, and I'm not sure if I have the energy to do it again.

Q Michela Mocknick Voorhees,NJ 5/3/00 6:10:52 PM
While on your travels, was there anything that you felt as though could of been provented from happening and why?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I have not really experienced anything where my intervention could have changed the course of history.

Q Kevin Leib Voorhees,Nj 5/3/00 6:23:25 PM
Yo! Whats up in Africa. Our teacher, Mrs. Stanley is making us read your articles in the newspaper. I that they are good for us learning about Africa and its people. Have you encountered any type of animals that can be a danger to you and your team?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
Gosh. People do seem concerned about our safety amid all the animals. I think animals have much more to worry about humans that we have to fear about them.

Q M&M Voorhees,NJ 5/3/00 6:18:14 PM
What has been the most exciting thing that has happened to you since you got to africa and has been the worst and please explain why? And who has been the most interesting person you have met since you got to africa?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I think this odyssey is one of the more exciting things I've done. The worst thing I saw was the bombing of the American embassy in Nairobi in 1998. So many innocent people, mostly Kenyans, died. One of the most interesting people I've met was Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. He's one of the most genuinely sensitive and humble people I've met.

Q Erica 5/3/00 7:46:51 PM
Do you think about going back to Africa anthor time? Where will youy go?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I like Africa so much that I live here, in South Africa. So I definitely am going back!

Q Wes 5/3/00 8:38:20 PM
Did you ever encounter any wild animals that would be harmful to your trip
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
See above

Q 5/3/00 8:39:29 PM
Q Ashley New Jersey 5/3/00 8:53:07 PM
What was the worst weather you encountered on this trip so far? Write Back!
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
We had a nice rain storm the other day that fogged up the windows of the truck and made the road extremely muddy. Fortunately it hasn't rained while I was sleeping in a tent because that makes a lot of noise and I can't sleep because I'm worried the tent will leak.

Q Ashley Olson New Jersey 5/3/00 8:54:00 PM
When you are driving around, I was wondering, if you see any people lying on the ground? If you saw someone there sick what would you do? Do the roads have people like that all over? PLEASE WRITE BACK!!!!!!!
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
The only people I've seen lying around are those who are on break taking a nap. If people are sick, they usually have the sense to go to a hospital or a doctor, just like you would do.

Q Kevin leib Voorhees,NJ 5/3/00 9:11:50 PM
Has your truckdriver ever experienced something like what you are doiun now in his life? If so what and when was it?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
They drive trucks every day of their working lives, so driving in Africa is something they're quite accustomed to. I don't think either one of them had ever had a journalist aboard before, however.

Q Kevin Leib Voorhees,NJ 5/3/00 9:15:38 PM
Have you ever been sick during one of these trips and could not help? What would you do in that type of a situation?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I don't get sick too often, and I carry some medicines that I take when I feel the first signs of illness.

Q Kevin Leib Voorhees,NJ 5/3/00 9:17:08 PM
I would like to know if this kind of thing that you are doing to give people food is going around the country? Do you know any other people that help just like you?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I'm not the one giving the food aid, though I thank you for giving me all the credit. I'm just an observer describing how other people are distributing the food aid. They would be doing it whether I was present or not. I hope they get a little satisfaction that their work is not going unnoticed.

Q E. Philadelphia 5/4/00 9:33:21 AM
What kind of shots did you have to get before the trip? And are you at all worried about the food you've been eating?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I'm pretty well immunized to most of the tropical illnesses for which there are vaccines: yellow fever, denge, meningitis. I work in Africa all the time so I didn't need any new shots. I also watch what I eat, so I'm not very worried about the food. Most Africans I've met are just as concerned about their own health as I am about mine, so they take care preparing their food, too.

Q Brad Mihalik Deptford, NJ 5/4/00 1:26:54 PM
Are you planning plan on doing another trip like this in the future? If so,where do you think you will go?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I'd like to do something like this in the future, but I suppose it would have to be a different place and a different type of vehicle. Maybe a riverboat.

Q Project Learn School My. Airy; Phila. 5/4/00 3:56:51 PM
Do you think what you're doing is helping? Are the people hopeful? Do you carry money & what kinds? Will you name and describe the prettiest site you've seen.
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
1. I think that by helping people understand a little bit more about Africa and where their food aid is going is a good thing. 2. Many Africans are hopeful, especially those who believe that their actions can make a difference. 3. Of course I carry money. As Francis Kuria, our Kenyan driver, said: "Nothing is free in Kenya." I carry American dollars and change them into local currency: shillings in Kenya and Uganda. 4. The most beautiful scene we saw was a vista of the Great Rift Valley late in the afternoon, where we were able to see the rain falling in one place and the bring sun shining in another a few miles away. The scene took in the whole sweep of the valley.

Q Eric Moore Voorhees 5/4/00 4:22:48 PM
What kinds of insects have you seen in Africa and how big were they? Are they a major nuisance to you or do they stay out of your way?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
There are lots of insects here, including some that are as big as mice. Some people eat insects like crickets or big worms. They're very nutritious. At times the bugs bug me. I was trying to write the other night and all the flying insects seemed to be taking an intense interest in my computer screen. I don't think they wanted to read my writing. Most bugs stay out of my way because I use insect repellant.

Q Glenn New Jersey 5/4/00 8:15:55 PM
What do you do in your spare time for fun in africa.
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
Many Africans have fun the same way you do: they watch TV, they have parties, they play sports. Soccer is probably the most popular sport in Africa. Not many Africans have computers, so few of them play computer games. Many of them don't have a lot of money, either, so the children often make their own toys out of other objects. My favorite toys are the ones they fashion out of wire, like cars.

Q Ryan New Jersey 5/4/00 9:45:10 PM
Do you think that a child would like to go on a trip like this?
A Andrew Maykuth 5/5/00 11:37:14 AM
I think a student would have a lot of fun on a trip like this and would get a chance to meet many new people and see unusual things. However, the journey has been difficult in a lot of ways: We're moving every day and we work long hours, so we are tired, and that's not much fun. I think it would be nicer if we could travel at a more leisurely pace.

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