Monday, June 16, 2008

Trek Through Africa: Zaire (Day 136-140)

Wednesday 7th April Tshikapa - Zaire

Up at 6:30 even before the locals returned. Passed through a few large villages, and women gathering casava on the roads. Arrived in the diamond town of Tshikapa. Invited for lunch by an Israili guy in his fortified house. Armed servants and guards all over the place, whole place looks like a set out of Mad Max. Could not get any clean water, then tried shopping for food but the prices were very expensive, returned with sod all. Started to feel ill again in the afternoon with stomach cramps. I rode on the dog box even though it was raining, roads are still very slow as they are just fine red sand. Camped in what we thought was a quiet village, by the time we had made the camp, 100's of locals had turned up again. Most of the kids had not seen white people before, feel like we are in a zoo.

Thursday 8th April

Raining in the morining again. Road was blocked by loads of fallen trees, after using the chainsaw a few times we turned back to find a different way. Made lunch in a quiet village, usual corned beef, rice and fish. Got stuck in a large water filled hole, with the local kids giving us abuse because we had no presents to give them. Travelled the rest of the day and made camp in the grounds of a church which attracted the largest crowd ever. Struggled to get the fire going without any deisel. Managed to make a satisfactory mix of corned beef, onions and soup. Then spent ages cutting the wood for the fire in the morning. Very late before we crashed out on the truck. Cool and damp, but no flies for once.

Friday 9th April - Matamba, Zaire

Storm brewing in the morning, so we just made Alpine substitute for breakfast ( porrage oats, raisins and sugar ). In a bad mood all day, lack of sleep and having crap to eat is not helping matters. Dug a large rubbish hole and pissed in it to stop the locals digging it up and throwing it around. Found a good place to camp by an old bridge, managed to cut the tent with a machete and had to mend it using the air-bed repair kit. Storm kept us awake all bloody night.

Saturday 10th April - Kananga, Zaire

Up at first light, the locals decided to set up a market around the truck. Listened to my walkman until we arrived in the town of Kananga at 10:00. I stayed on the truck because I did not have to go food shopping or any money to spend. Everyone went missing for hours, I got worried and started to fasten down the sides of the truck. Patric came back and then drove the truck into a church mission where everyone was hiding after the police were giving them a bad time. What a fucked-up country this is. Good news was that Kenny had managed to get hold of three crates of beer. Heading for a small lake where we can take some time off travelling. Stopped to fill up with water, had to wade in waist deep to get it. Did not manage to dry off in the afternoon. Did not make the lake, put the tent up OK and had pasta and soup.

Sunday 11th April - Lake, Central Zaire

Good morning, had a decent breakfast, only travelled for two hours. Bought bread and fruit on the road. Got to the lake for 9:30. Spent the next two hours doing all my washing. Cut a load of wood for the fire then went swimming. Had a big meeting at night to decide where we go from here now that we are back on schedual again. Had a couple of beers before trying to get to sleep in the tent that I pitched on a slope like an idiot.

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