Jungle Junction, Kenya

Twiddling Thumbs in Nairobi

| Kenya

It didn’t take long for the mechanics at Jungle Junction to strip my motorcycle down and confirm it was indeed my crankshaft. After costing out all the parts I would need and where in the world it would be the cheapest to purchase them from, I then still had to find a way to smuggle them into the country. (If you missed reading all about the 730km towing mission then please read here first!)

My engine in bits!!

My engine-less motorcycle!

Kenya had strict import rules. Everything imported will receive a 50% duty. Therefore to purchase and import a crankshaft becomes ridiculous. Originally the part is $600 (USD) plus the $300 (USD) duty. You can see why I was starting to sweat. Talking to Jay (a fellow overlander who has been living in Nairobi for a year) he suggested two options. Both involved putting my packages in the hands of others, which scared me immensely! But I couldn’t sit on my hands forever and had to choose an option.

The first was to ship the package the Somalia way. This involved sending the parts to a guy in England who had a contact in Somalia who would do the importing and then bring it to me overland. This was possible because Kenya and Somalia do not have a trade agreement.  The second option was the one I favoured more just because there were less people to touch the package. My instructions were to first send the package to a trusted person, where they can strip the items within the package of any labels, prices and invoices, then send the package on to my contact in Nairobi with only $10 SECOND HAND PARTS written on the customs declaration using only normal post not a courier company.

Once I had arranged everyone in place, I proceeded to purchase all my bits and pieces in USA. However, a day later I got an email from the online parts company stating “I am sorry sir, but the crankshaft part number blablabla is not longer in stock nor is Suzuki ever going to produce it again” Ekkkkkeeeeekkkkk! I screamed and sat down at my laptop to hunt for another company who might have it just lying on the shelf. Two days later I had a total 3 companies out of about 50 that have one. You can imagine I was really sweating! One of those companies was a small workshop in Holland who just had one on the shelf gathering dust and he was willing to sell it to me with a huge discount. With my stress levels returning to normal, I just had to sit back and wait for the packages to arrive.

After three weeks of watching the grass consume my tent and travellers coming and going, my mattress wasn’t working anymore. I decided enough was enough. I had to find another place to live for the next month. I moved into the servants quarters of an apartment not too far away from my bike. So what can I do to fill my time for the coming month?

Jungle Junction Camp Site

Website – my website wasn’t really very interactive with those who are following me. Therefore, (with the help of IT Mike) I changed it over to WordPress which helps me interact more with my facebook page. After this was complete, I sat down to work a solution for a problem that will appear before too long.  I started in October 2010, with the idea I will be finished the trip in 2012. Now three months shy of the two years I really have to start thinking about how to create an income because I am a long way off from finishing Africa!

Motomonkey Cartoon T-shirt

Most of you know I am an Architect, but this is a tough job to do while travelling, therefore I need to do something else. My thoughts turned to monetising my whole trip through becoming a freelancer graphic designer, creating an online t-shirt shop (click here), adding a donate button and the introducing of the ‘Adoption’ programme (soon to be released). With all of these requiring some time spent on the computer to work out all the nuts and bolts I felt the weeks  slipped by when I finally received the call to come and collect my packages from Sam and deliver them to Chris at Jungle Junction, where his mechanic can put my motorcycle back together again.

Sam and I with my new crankshaft!

A special shout out to all those people who got behind me and either brought a t-shirt and/or made a cash donation. You guys are truly amazing, you are my guardian angles and I hope you realise I do really appreciate all the good will. Thank you so much. Danielle Xx

Mr Kudoh, Mrs Hickey, Buff Downunder, Mr Aagaard, Mr Berg, Mr Corkeron, Mr Goodenough, MrMartel, Mrs Oswin , Mr Sheets, Mr Edwards, Mr Beach, Mrs Hicks,  Mr Wikarjusz, Miss Young, Mrs Edstein, Miss Davis, MP Enterprises , Mrs  Moleta , Mrs Kemmerly, Mrs Kwanten , Mrs Abbott, Mr Worrall ,Mr Wilson, Mr Yow, Miss Smyth and Mr Jones. Please excuse me if I have forgotten anyone – its a massive list of people.

For those who are interested the cost of repairing my motorcycle:

Crankshaft – $700 USD (This would have been only $450 if it was available in USA)
Gasket Kit – $40 USD
Labour/oil/bits’n’pieces – $285 USD
Kenya Customs – $4
My fixer – $26

Total cost: $1055 (ouch!)