Monday 12th April - Lake, Central Zaire
Very warm by 7:30, spent the day sun bathing and swimming. Got all the maps out in the buildings, to plan how to get out of Zaire. These are of limited use as they are based on the old Belgian Congo maps of 30 years ago and now most roads and some bridges are impassible for vehicles. This has got to be the worst example of a country self destructing after gaining independance. Had a good meal at night for once.
Tuesday 13th April
Got the tent away just in time before it begain raining. Made porrage and raisens for breakfast. Travelling South East in the direction of Lumabashi 500 miles away. Stopped at a village market and bought six stodge balls and some bread. We all eat them as if we had just been liberated from Belsen. Weight is falling off us by the pound, I must have lost at least three stones. The locals are actually digging mud holes in the road and then pretending to be working fixing it just to get money off passing trucks. Drove right through one road block when they tried to charge us 2 million zaires to pass. Made camp in a load of deralict buildings, very windy and raining, locals soon went, had a good nights sleep.
Wednesday 14th April
Lost a spade in the morning, found it after a while, then made a 6am start. Only a few locals to be seen, started off quite cool then warmed up to be very hot by lunch. Made good speed on a tarmac road, managed to skirt past most army road blocks. Rained again in afternoon, cleaned truck after a good meal. Loads of ants everywhere.
Thuesday 15th April
Went shopping for food in an unknown town. Did really well, bought fresh bread, fruit, onions, tomatoes and even potatos, also got some biscuites for myself. Came across an old bridge that had been stripped by the local idiots. All had a wash in the river while we decided what to do. We made lunch of fish, corned beef, pineapple and bananas, then spent the afternoon cleaning up and reading in the sun. Not much choice other than to fix the bridge, if this one has been stripped, then others may be in a worse state. Made an early tea of corned beef hash while the others were working on the bridge. Had a large vodka before sleeping on the truck with Lars, Charlie and Niels. Loads of flies around in the night as well as water dripping on us keeping us awake.
Friday 16th April
Up at 5:45 to make breakfast of bread jam, oranges, bananas and tea. Very hot, cut some wood for lunch. Made the tricky crossing at mid-day with only a few cm to spare on each side. Had lunch as soon as we crossed, then filled up the water tank from river using the gerry cans. Travelled for four hours in the afternoon on quite a good road. Camped on the road after almost driving into a swamp. Cut more wood then crashed out.