Down Africa in a fitted-out former army truck

2011-10-18 00:00

BRITISH couple David (63) and Tisha Selway (59) look far from weary after a five-month journey that has taken them across 12 countries to raise funds for three charities.

After a drive of more than 13 000 km the couple arrived in Pietermaritzburg on Friday and will head to their final destination, Cape Town, on Friday.

The couple told The Witness that the former 1988 British Army Bedford MJ truck has been “awesome”.

Selway, a retired chartered building surveyor, said that when he bought the truck in 2007 he had one plan — to use it as an expedition vehicle.

The body of the “Big Orange Bedford” is made of welded 50 mm by 50 mm square steel tube with a cladding of 10 mm plywood and bonded fibreglass.

It took him five years to fit the truck, which is fully equipped.

The truck feels like a real home on wheels, with a fully fitted kitchen, shower, toilet and a bed to lay their bodies after a day’s work of driving.

There are also drawers full of tools just in case something falls apart, and four 200-amp batteries that run electric appliances.

“This is a nice simple truck,” joked Selway

The couple, who are grandparents,found food shopping in Ethiopia a challenge because children were constantly running after them begging for food and money.

“You’ll get in the shop to find that shelves have only washing powder and insect sprays.

“Then you move to the next one where you get five eggs and at the next one onions.”

Tisha had prepared food that she kept in a freezer, which lasted them at least two months.

In Malawi there was no diesel at any fuel station, so they resorted to buying 200 litres of vegetable oil — which Selway reckons his truck thrives on and smells “fantastic”.

Tisha said Sudan has no proper facilities for travellers, but both Sudan and Zimbabwe were wonderful because the people were very helpful.

“We didn’t experience any security challenges,” said Selway.

Tisha told The Witness, “We wanted to give the trip purpose and donate money.”

The two have already made £8 000 (R100 000) alltogether for SOS Children’s Village, Street Child Africa and Big Shoes.

But what will become of their beloved truck when they go back home?

“We don’t know yet.

“We were hoping to sell it to an English person who’d want to drive it back to England, but I think it’s still going to stay in Cape Town for while,” said Selway.

“Of course I don’t want to sell it; I’ve spent five years of my life to build it.”

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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