Monday, June 16, 2008

Trek Through Africa: CONGO (Day 106-110)

Day 106 : Monday 8th March - Gabon

Only had four hours sleep before I had to get the fire going for breakfast, burnt my hand in a bowl of boiling water. Weather cold and wet in the morning, but warmed up in afternoon. Stopped in a town to try and get exit visas, but as per usual they invented problems why they can not issue them. If these people put half the effort into doing something productive as opposed to their obsession with beurocracy, then maybe they would not be in the shit state they are. As we are soon going into the jungle proper, three groups went shopping for supplies. I filled the water tank up at the last petrol station before the Congo. Passed more swamps and made camp in another gravel pit.

Day 107 : Tuesday 9th March - Gabon to The Congo

Loads of bees around in the morning and Lars got stung. Managed to get our exit visas OK this time. Towards the border, the road soon became overgrown. Traveling at walking pace, having to cut down branches from both sides and above, hard work doing this in the dog box. Crossed the border which consisted on a single large stone then on into the Congo. Soon began to rain, turning the track into mud, had to get out and walk the rest of the day as the truck was getting stuck. Often had to fill large holes in the track with stones and wood. Took all day to get up a hill. Made camp at the top in a narrow clearing. Covered head to toe in mud and soaking wet.

Wednesday 10th March - Congo Jungle

Made my own breakfast of bread & cheese. Clothes have dried off a bit now. Very heavy going, all had to walk after half hour, using machete?s again on a road that probably has not seen a vehicle since the last overland truck last year. Can get cool under the canopy if you are not working. Hit a hill that took us all day to climb, having to fill in holes and lay the mudmats down. Exhausted by lunch, this hill seems to go on for ever, it?s very hard to get perspective when all you can see are trees in all directions. Once over the hill we found that we will have to cross a creek with no bridge which is too deep and steep to ford. Got the chain saw out for the first time and cut a large log to make a bridge tomorrow, used the winch on the truck to tow it back to the creek. All had a bath before crashing out.

Thursday 11th March - Congo Jungle

Up early to make the bridge, got the logs in place and secured them with large stakes and ropes. Locals are coming to watch us work but don?t seem too interested in helping. Crossed our bridge after working all morning. Travelled only 200m to find a similar creek with the remains of an old bridge. Successfully managed to widen it to take the truck, though this took all afternoon. Crossed the bridge ok and entered a clearing in the middle of the jungle that contained a very neat village. We stopped for a while talking and taking pictures of the locals. After saying goodbye, we drove off to find a camp down the track. Patrik drove out of the village straight into a mud hole and we sank fast. It soon became clear that we would have to do a lot of work to dig it out. As there was not much light left we decided to make camp in the middle of the village which pleased the locals very much. They had a party late into the night drinking some local brew. I would not touch it after Patrick told me that every batch is blessed by the oldest woman in the village pissing in it.

Friday 12th March - Congo Jungle

Up early digging mud and bailing out water that has filled the hole and made matters 10 times worse. Everyone working very hard, we have no choice. Truck is in a worse position by the hour, decided to build a dam to divert the stream. Locals sold us a goat and cut the meat for us. Got bitten on my leg by a massive flying thing, totally covered in mud and oil, all had a bath together at night.

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