After a hearty breakfast we said our goodbyes to the Kibali team. A big thank you to the whole team and in particular to Hennie, Speedy and Craig for assisting with the bike repairs.
And off we set with the road deteriorating rapidly after we passed Chief Surur village a few kilometres from the mine. The road was very muddy in places because of a storm that had passed through overnight. Mark was the first to earn another pink duct tape breaking his windshield off in the process. And incidentally he went on to earn two more! Rob went through one of those enormous pot holes that became deeper than expected and in the process hit his windshield with his helmet breaking the windshield! We did everything you read about when travelling by vehicle in the DRC - we came across trucks which were stuck - trucks trying to pass other trucks that were completely bogged down - it took us 5 hours to do the first hundred kilometres!
As you can imagine, Mike, Quinton and Rolfe were in their element!
We were met by the local taxi bikes at the entrance to the town of Faradji and, with great fanfare, they escorted us to the town centre where we met the local officials and our own Obote who works at Kibali is the local chief. We were shown the Assosa Saio monument in memory of the DRC soldiers who died during the 2nd World War while fighting in Abyssinia - Ethiopia. After that we visited a teachers training college built by Kibali gold mine.
Then we met up with Major Mumbo who lead us on a much improved road towards our destination but we stopped in at the Garamba National Park for lunch. The park is run by African Parks - it’s a world heritage site and was home to the last wild Northern White Rhino. You should check out their website at https://www.african-parks.org/the-parks/garamba/about
Lunch was great and then off to Dungu on a well maintained dirt road (maintained by the UN) and arrived to another spectacular reception at the outskirts of the town. Mark was presented with flowers and then the well-wishers tucked the flowers into the front of Rob’s and Mark’s bikes and we were escorted by a police contingent and the local taxi men on motorbikes through town to the UN guesthouse where we were greeted by the Territorial Administrator - an old friend of both Mark and Charles and the Kibali project. After well-earned shower Mark and Charles went with Cyrille and some of our local partners to view the two charities that would be receiving donations at the function later that evening. The bikes were washed and the team that stayed behind tinkered with a few repairs that were needed after the challenging day’s riding!
First stop was Jean-Claude’s APRU association for the promotion of rural life which focusses on rehabilitation of children and families released by the LRA - some of the victims shared their experiences with us - it’s hard to believe what mankind does to each other! Again Jean-Claude and your team we salute you for your efforts.
And then we visited and met this most amazing person - Sister Angelique CRAD who runs an orphanage with a focus on tiny tots - it was an amazing experience - much like Wema but with very little means - she has 35 orphans below 3 years old and still more above that age. They live together in a large dormitory style dwelling. Clearly sister Angelique and her helpers do a great job as everyone is healthy and happy! They greeted us so very warmly, especially the tiny tots who came and shook hands and then just kept holding on - the sister also runs a clinic for post-natal care and a school.
Tomorrow’s another tough day so we have the donations ceremony hosted by the TA this evening and then early bed for all. Also a big thank you to Fennie and IOB who sponsored the lunch at Garamba and the function and accommodation for the bikers at the UN Guest House.
Should you wish to make a donation to the Nos Vies en Partage Fundraising drive then please click here