Mara and Daniel have been living in Spain for about three years.
“We are from Latvia, that’s true. I lived in Vidzeme most of my life. I grew up in a poor family, I was an object of ridicule at school… I was ridiculed for everything – both for my communication with others, and for the way I dress, look, and live,” says Māra about herself.
After finishing school and saving a little money, she left without looking back.
“While living in Spain, we started making amateur videos for adults because it was profitable. At least until the Covid-19 pandemic started. Then a lot of couples started creating such content and this whole activity started to go down,” admits the girl.
Mara’s family, as she reveals, has not supported her financially: “At the moment, I don’t even get emotional support, being on this trip… No care, no how – not even a question: ‘How are you doing, are you safe?'”
The couple decided to go to Africa because they both found it an engaging and interesting place, and the continent was much more accessible in terms of route and costs.
“From Malaga, where we live, we got to Ceuta and then Morocco without any problems by ferry. We ourselves were inspired by other riders who have done similar things and shared their experiences on social networks – “Itchy Boots”, “Ride Me Five”, “On Her Bike”, explains Mara.
She adds that she and Daniel wanted to change their lives, to inspire others to travel, as well as to change their source of income: “Personally, as time goes on, I am more and more aware of how indifferent the adult entertainment industry is. Nobody cares about your personality, only what you can show. It’s so one-sided and shallow.”
“We realized that Africa is not the safest place on earth”
The couple knew very well that they were exposing themselves to a number of risks when going on the trip, especially considering that their vehicle was a motorcycle.
“We were aware that there was a terrorist threat, Boko Haram [Islāma-teroristu grupējums, aktīvs Nigērijas ziemeļaustrumos un citviet Āfrikā], corruption of military and police structural units, we knew about racism against Europeans, Americans, English – all this was known. We would never have imagined that we would find ourselves in such a situation and feel it all on our own skin…”, referring to the events of August 5 and the events that followed, says Māra.
The woman simply ran out onto the road
“The day before the fatal accident, we were driving through the jungle. There was a bridge with two rotten planks, over which we fell. I hit my head and for a long time I did not remember the weeks and days that we spent before this accident,” the girl reveals.
After the injury, both of them went to the hospital to make sure that there was no more serious injury as a result of the fall. After this and the following experiences, Mara has severe migraines.
The road in the Gabonese city of Cango, along which the couple drove on the fateful day, had been repaired in some places, but in some places it was impassable by car, but somehow passable by motorcycle.
“This woman ran from the left side to the middle of the road to avoid an oncoming car. She did so, stopped and slowly began to move to the right side of the road. We saw it, honked loudly, shouted and pulled to the right, because the cars continued to drive towards us on the other side – the opposite side of the road. If we pulled the steering wheel in that direction, we would collide with an oncoming car, and it would definitely end fatally,” says Mara.
“As we were honking and shouting, the woman started running without even looking in our direction. The impact was very strong, we were driving at a speed of about 40 km/h. The motorcycle flew into a ditch, the woman was left in the middle of the road with a broken leg. Witnesses pulled the woman to the side of the road. Daniel gave his jacket to stay under her head. Later, the jacket was covered in blood, the leg had an open fracture… the scene was terrible, I can see it all when I close my eyes,” the girl remembers.
The woman later died in hospital. It is also said there that she was under the influence of alcohol. After the incident, both were taken to the police station, where they had to sleep on the floor and do without food. Only a few local motorcyclists have lent a helping hand.
The police officers allegedly confiscated passports, wallets, mobile phones and a motorcycle.
Additional difficulties were caused by the language barrier, as the only foreign language spoken by the locals was French.
Two weeks until the fateful court decision
The couple also contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, where they were told that the only help that could be provided was flight tickets home.
The reason for this is the fact that there is no Latvian embassy in Gabon, and this makes it extremely difficult for diplomats to get involved.
“We cannot go anywhere because we are detained. They seem to understand the situation, but they cannot help in any other way – neither with accommodation nor otherwise. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the relevant Spanish ministry, which also joined in and is currently doing what it can. However, we are residents in Spain, but not citizens of this country, which again limits the possibilities of receiving help,” said Mara.
The traffic accident, the woman who died as a result, and the resulting potential liability before the Gabonese law was not all the couple had to go through.
“As the police told us… if you pay two million with something [Centrālāfrikas CFA franku, ap 3100 eiro, kas prasīti kā ziedojumi], then that will be the end of it for you. With the help of friends and supporters, we also collected and paid this money,” explains the girl.
“We communicated with the prosecutor’s office, the money went to the woman’s family, but the promise of the police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and the Ministry of Spain that we would be free turned out to be a lie. We currently have to wait two weeks until the next court hearing, where Daniel’s fate will be decided,” says Mara.
It was Daniel who was driving at the time of the accident.
The Spanish side, however, explained that the couple “was lucky” – if the diplomats of the EU country were not involved, it is likely that Daniel would be in prison, where waiting for the trial could take up to a year.
In Latvia, Daniels Vēzis will be best known to bowling fans. The boy has won many regional titles and represented Latvia in European and international tournaments.
You can follow the progress of the couple on the trip in all other ways on the website “Ride With Mimi” and on social network accounts – both “Instagram” and “Youtube”.