We were all up early and fresh after a two-day break - and we left still in the dark at 6am - and the road out of Kolwezi soon deteriorated and then got progressively worse - first stop was after Mark had a big fall! Then the next was at 160km to cross on a ferry - this ferry was a manually operated one.
We handed out caps and t-shirts to a lot of grateful local folk and once everyone was across, off we set expecting the road to improve - but that was wishful thinking! It got worse - Mike Puzey described it as a “pro-day” - the road at best was a track with constant washouts - sand and some hectic rocky sections - it’s hard to believe that trucks get through at all - not many, but we did pass a few - mostly broken or stuck!!!
We eventually arrived at a T-junction and onto a well-kept road, then stopped at a roadblock to wait for everyone to catch up - the policemen assured us that the road to Kamina was good, so we stayed a little longer only to watch a spectacular accident as two local motorbikes came haring up and ran into the barrier.
We eventually left the barrier expecting an easy afternoon ride - after a few kilometres we found that dreaded sting in the tail! The road deteriorated, became very sandy and then got worse - a lot worse - worse than we had previously experienced! We had to manage extended stretches of sand, then up a pass which was just rocks - then sand and more sand and rocks, wash outs. When the sun started to dip to the horizon, we were still out far out!
It proved to be a 13 hour day again and for some even longer - but all arrived eventually with the last support vehicle arriving at 9pm. The Boyz were amazing and Rob deserves the “true-grit” award! Driving those roads at night was not for sissies. That two day break is already a distant memory!!!
It was a 10 pink duct tape day - Rolfe opened the batting with 1, Quinton 2, Mark 1, Charles 2, Rob 4 - Mikes the only one without pink so far!
Jeanette and Antoinette were waiting for us in the street as we entered Kamina and they hopped onto a moto-taxi and escorted us to the Guesthouse La Grace - pure luxury - it’s amazing what you find in the middle of nowhere and then Girish from Revin SARL of the Somika Group arrived in a 5 tonne truck with an Indian curry smorgasbord to add to the La Grace Congo cuisine - what a feast. Thank you Girish and thank you to the Bishop and the Methodist Church.
During dinner Mark made a donation to the NGO, FAR (Femme d’Action pour le Reveil), run by Jeannette Kabwika. FAR’s focus is victims of sexual violence and orphaned children, taking them through a programme of rehabilitation, education and life skills so they can rejoin the society that so neglected them.
It’s late and the team’s exhausted - another tough day tomorrow - not sure whether it could be worse than today but then you never know!
Crossing by ferry
Mark negotiating a roadblock
These locals didnt see the road block an crashed straight into it
Mr Delivery - Congo style!
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