Louis and Kareen Broodryk set off on an adventure across Africa to do some good, never did they imagine they would be the recipients of good deeds too!
Namibe, Angola – Louis, a wheelchair user, and wife Kareen Broodryk love travelling so when they set off on an African adventure, they were excited to see what was possible. The couple travelled from the South to the East of Africa, visiting 12 countries in 18 months.
While on their travels, Louis and Kareen were welcomed and made to feel right at home. Louis is in a wheelchair and found the trip challenged not only his ability but also his mind. He found that people made the trip memorable by helping him overcome the challenges he faced.
“As I am in a wheelchair and sometimes face specific challenges while travelling, I quickly discovered that I can overcome most challenges with the help of a new friend and it is easy to make friends while traveling Africa.
In a small town, Namibe in Angola, I needed a specific tool to tighten a loose bolt on my wheelchair. By chance, we met the coach of the Angolan wheelchair basketball team in a bar. He put me in contact with Jose, one of the players in the team. A few phone calls later, and I met up with Jose. Although my Portuguese was nearly non-existent, we could communicate and I picked him up. Off we went to find his cousin, the mechanic. Within an hour my chair was fixed and we could spend time chatting, with him translating, while I found out more of the hard life of people living in Angola. It was a great opportunity to connect and a real demonstration of Ubuntu in its truest form.”
This kindness kicked off the spirit of Ubuntu on their trip. They began to notice all the little bits of goodness along the way and even did their own acts of kindness along the way.
“As we discovered the wonders of Angola and headed towards Zambia, we met many taxi drivers and while filling up with fuel, we started talking to Mr Brighten, a Zambian taxi driver that does trips between Zambia and Angola. The next morning, while driving through thick sand, a tree jumped in front of our Toyota Hilux. We hit the tree on the side of the vehicle and tore off the box in which I store my wheelchair. In the process, my wheelchair was broken in 2 spots as well. A very interesting day on the road.”
“As we were picking up the pieces, another vehicle came passed. With their help, we strapped the box to our spare wheel and put the broken pieces of the wheelchair and box in the back of our vehicle. Off we went to Zambia. At the Angola/Zambia border we ran into Mr Brighten from the previous night. We started chatting and he told us to follow him. He helped us navigate the hundreds of different roads late into the night. The next morning in the biggest town Mongu, he called us again.
He found an aluminium welder that could fix my wheelchair. We met up and a few hours later, my chair was welded back together and I was mobile again. The welder Mr Given, was a gem of a man. Not a big talker but a hard worker. The next Monday he and his team banged my wheelchair box back into shape. With a hammer and a block of wood they got it square and fitted back on our car. And the adventure continues further north.”
Louis and Kareen had taken reusable sanitary pads with them, they handed out hundreds to school girls to make sure they could stay in school.
“These kits assist girls to attend school more regularly. In poorer areas where sanitary pads are not available, girls tend to stay at home more. We handed out pads in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Kenya. We were so inspired when we saw the absolute joy on the girls faces when they heard that pads were reusable and that they are receiving their own kit.”
The couple was overwhelmed by the amount of kindness they received even though their trip took place when xenophobic attacks were at their highest in South Africa. This adventure may be over but the Broodryk’s are keen to do more good and take on more adventures so you can follow them on their next trip here.
Louis hopes to inspire other wheelchair users, showing that you can travel the world and be fearless on four wheels!