On this page we want to list the obstacles and cruxes we had to pass throughout the realization of our project. We repeatedly reached limits and hit problems and probably will do so as our project continues. Here we want to share our experiences with all those people who might have something similar in mind. All others are also sincerely invited to read this.
    The second passport
    The Mediterranean Sea and how to cross it
    The procurement of support
    The suitable camera
    Is there someone ensuring such a project?
The second passport
    1. The risk of losing our passports or having them stolen is very high in our eyes. To avoid long distances to the next embassy and long process time and further trouble it is very practical to have a replacement passport with you.

    2. The second reason is our possible passing of Israel, whether on the way to Africa or back to Germany. Probably it will be on the way back. If you want to enter an Arabic country and have been to Israel before, you might encounter severe complications. It is likely that you won’t be given the permission to enter. Entering Israel with an Arabic mark in your passport is definitely impossible.
In Germany it is basically not allowed to own a second passport. But nevertheless it must be possible somehow to travel to Israel overland. And exactly for this case there is a special arrangement: the passport office is authorized to issue a second passport but probably they don’t know it. That means it is up to you to keep insistently applying your argument and teaching the clerk a bit and the problem should actually be solved. (That you want to obtain a “replacement” passport you shouldn’t let about, of course)

Passing Libya by bike is very difficult. In general entering and staying in Libya are difficult. The Libyan government doesn’t permit staying in the country without having hired an officially recognized guide. These guides can be very expensive; especially if they have to travel by their own car. The time of staying in Libya is exactly laid down and fixed to the hour. Further you must have your passport translated into Arabic by an officially recognized authority. Of course this takes time and costs money. Added to all this is the usual obligatory visa. As a German you can obtain these things in a bundle only from very special travel agencies. Without such an agency entering Libya is simply unthinkable. For instance we heard of a German couple that wasn’t allowed to enter without a guide. Since we can’t afford hiring a guide for 100 € a day we’re still looking for special offers. At the moment we’re supported by the agencies “Saro-Expeditions” and “Rolling-Mia-Tours”. As soon as we will have made it we will report on the spot again.

The Mediterranean Sea and how to cross it:
Especially because of the difficulties in regard to Libya we looked for alternative ways to cross the Mediterranean Sea. It is disappointing. In times of low cost flights hardly any ferry heads to the east of the African continent. Precisely there’s only one ferry from Sicily to Tunis. It is impossible to reach Egypt by ferry, let alone Libya. In some cases there are offered crossings to Egypt on cargo ships. But we’ve heard that authorities prohibit disembarking. This alternative therefore is also swept aside. Furthermore you can still go overland via Israel. Overall there are not too many possibilities.

The procurement of financial support:
In general there are two ways to obtain financial support for a project like this.
    1. You are member of an association. In this case you can utilize development funds from a lot of charitable organizations. An example is the organization “Aktion Mensch”. Here you have the opportunity to obtain up to 4000 €. Meeting the requirements and philosophy of “Aktion Mensch” is not too difficult in our eyes – as long as you go the way via an official association.

    2. You are not member of an association and you organize your project in private. This way is more difficult. The most important thing is to present yourself professional and well prepared. It is always good to hand in a well drawn up paper to substantiate your ideas and plans.
You are not member of an association and you organize your project in private. This way is more difficult. The most important thing is to present yourself professional and well prepared. It is always good to hand in a well drawn up paper to substantiate your ideas and plans. Direct personal contact to your supporter is also important. Lots of companies are looking for possibilities to raise their reputation through charitable actions. Producing companies rather give contributions in kind than financial donations. Therefore you should not buy your equipment before you haven’t tried everything to obtain support from appropriate companies. This might be cumbersome but successful in the end.
Furthermore it is to be mentioned that in this business quantity is more important than quality. We had to hand in our petitions a countless times until we finally found interested companies willing to support us. Again thanks a lot at this point. How difficult the search for subsidies might be, the problem is not that there is not enough money available for charity. It is rather difficult to find the sources and to meet the mostly needless requirements to be allowed to receive it. This in fact again is a very big problem of development cooperation…

The suitable camera:
The problem is heavy but simply put:
We don’t the have the experience to unerringly choose the right camera. But you have to decide at a certain point. There for you have to consult different reports and views. After a while you will discover that you should buy as much cameras as you have asked experts. Then you must anticipate which features have priority. At this question we had solid advice from the guys of the New Media Center of the University of Freiburg and in particular from Dr. Leithold.
In our case the convincing arguments were our limited loading capacity and lack of experience in filming. The last point means that we don’t need a camera with too many features because we wouldn’t make use of them anyway. A light and small camera with less features seemed more suitable.

Big talk – simple message: we picked the Sony camera: HDR-HC9E

Concerning the attachments, in particular external microphone and stand, it is similar. We decided to pick a microphone from Beyerdynamic, MCE 86N (c) S.02, mainly because of its convincing price performance ratio. At the stand again our travel circumstances and the connected limited loading capacity are of importance, so we settled for a monopod with a ball head and not for a tripod which would not be practicable under a certain weight, size and price. For the interested ones: carbon monopod WAL-1983 and Walimex FT-001H ball head.

Some further accessories will also be needed, of course: Mini DV cassettes – number according to the needs, a powerful spare accumulator, optionally a microphone boom pole and headphones.In order to ensure a safe transport of our baby we settled for the following solution: the Peli Box Small II model 1150. This is a duroplastic case which is completely water and dustproof.Of course the size is variable and the case is available for cell phones up to bigger cameras.For safely using the camera under harsh conditions there are solutions as well: on the one hand there are cases from the company EWA MARINE – these are waterproof up to a depth of 10 meters and their prices start at 150,- Euros. Next to various rain covers and self constructions there’s a recent solution by the company DOERR which at a price of 30,- Euros is very inexpensive and completely water and dustproof at the same time.This cover with its Plexiglas window seems to become the product of our choice.

Is there anyone insuring such a project?
Yes, there is someone and it is possible. We will be out on the road with high-class film and travel equipment and expensive bicycles. Unfortunately all this equipment is so expensive and the risk of damage or loss is so immense that we decided to have it insured. Who knows if we will be robbed within a few months somewhere in Africa?
After a search during a couple of months we found a suitable partner and solution for our situation. Andreas Gaenssle from the Allianz Pfeiffer Agency in Freiburg devoted himself in our favor and broke new ground on the field of special insurance. After countless calls and meetings we eventually made it. The solution now contains a premium household as well as luggage insurance. The good thing is that we could keep it quite affordable. And to be honest:the chance that something of our equipment of a value resembling the price of the insurance will be stolen during the next year is so big that we only can win.