Thread: Democratic Republic of Congo: Lubumbashi to Kinshasa

  1. #321
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Greenville, NC
    Posts
    2,299
    I am liking this side of the river much better than the other side-I can tell from your writing that there is a much more friendly vibe from the people. Even though you hit a very low point you're overall tone is more bright.
    ~Matt
    97 Land Rover DI SD 5 speed- Camel Trophy-esq build
    04 Land Rover DII ARB, OME Med lift, seat heaters....
    ---------------------------------------------------
    64 Land Rover Series IIa-88 The origin of the insanity, gone to live on a farm in Virginia.

    It's not the destination that matters.

  2. #322
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    NW Oregon
    Posts
    305
    WOW! Spent the better part of the day reading this from start to current. This definitely trumps any and all expeditions I have read anywhere so far. The amount of trials and tribulations that you have gone through without serious personal injury is amazing. As someone mentioned much earlier about you having some a big brass pair is absolutely true from my view as well.

    One thing that I have used on several accounts to get unstuck without the use of a winch on an open diff axle is just a simple 50' recovery strap and either a tree, rock or other improvised anchor. I carefully run the recovery strap around the circumference of tire with the least amount of traction in the direction I am going, and run the other end of the strap through the open loop. Then anchor the other loop low on a tree, rock, other vehicle, or even a spike driven into the terrain. While using low range and carefully applying power to the wheels, this will force that low traction tire to now have something to bite and will slowly winch me along. Another trick is to wrap the tire once leading both ends of the strap away from the bottom of the tire, and then anchor both ends of the strap to the ground in a straight line with spikes or other anchors. Carefully driving directly on the strap works similar to a capstan winch.

    Now back to the regularly scheduled program...

  3. #323
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    205
    Day 24

    I really had to force myself out of our tent that morning, despite the noise off the village. My muscles hurt and my eyes preferred to stay closed.

    Mufuta, Vita and papa Basil had returned to their own village for the night, but they would come back. We sat down with papa Likas. He offered his help and we gave him the same explenation we gave earlier to the first members of our crew. He agreed with the conditions. He suggested we 'hire' 5 extra guys, including him, from his village. We knew we needed that kind of manpower to push 4 ton of Toyota trough the jungle. They would join us until we reach Kapia. Apparantely the road there is much better and we would be able to drive on our own to Dibaya-Lubwe from there.

    Papa likas made a drawing of how the road went all the way to Kapia. The first few kilometer would be slightly downhill until we reached a river. From there the road was uphill all the way to Kapia. The first part of the hill would be the hardest as this was in a forest with the usual ruts. Halfway to the top the road leaves the forest and we would be in much easier savannah.

    "Nous allons y arriver avant midi!" - "we will get there (Kapia) before noon"

    As soon as Mufuta, Basil and Vita arrived we were on the road again. Our batteries were now officially dead so we needed a push to get started. It was key not to turn of the engine now! Our crew loved the raw sound of our broken exhaust!

    We advanced quickly. Our crew was hanging on the sides of the car while two guys were walking in front, making quick improvements along the way. The way we progressed our first few hundred meters made mea actually believe we would make it to Kapie before noon! We must be the two most naive people in the world!





    It had been a while since we saw serious rain. Frequent showers yes, but not cloud bursts. Until now. Just when we arrived at the river in the bottom of the valley fat raindrops were falling from the sky. This usually means trouble. Our crew searched for cover in the forest while we sat in our car whilst a could emptied itself violently right on top of us. We could see the mostly dry road transform in a muddy stream. The hard compressed mud was gleaming.

  4. #324
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    205
    (This post is not part of the report)

    I just read the latest UN report on human development (http://hdr.undp.org/en/). It's interesting:

    Quote Originally Posted by UN - Human Development Report 2010
    The UN Development Programme's report concludes that since 1970 there has been significant progress - often underestimated until now - and that the fastest progress has been in some of the poorest countries.
    Quote Originally Posted by UN - Human Development Report 2010
    In Africa only three countries have gone backwards since 1970 - the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Zambia - the first two because of conflict and bad government, and the last principally because of HIV/Aids.
    And it is not like it was going that well with DRC in 1970 :-(

    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11694599

  5. #325
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    205


    This rain couldn't have come in a worse time. The road was now extra slippery and we already struggled so much with grip - or the lack thereof. Our crew worked hard to construct a road that would provide us an as level as possible path with as much grip as possible. It took a huge amount of energy for every meter we worked ourselves forward.

    We could see our crew was losing its motivation and we feared that they would just give up or demand more money. It was Josephine that discovered the magic of our camera. These guys loved the camera! Everytime the camera came out they posed and they work like crazy to look cool on the pictures.



    I stalled the engine. I felt really bad about it as they could not pushstart us uphill. Only downhill. I let the Landcruiser roll backwards for a few meters and it still wouldn't start. The lost few meters would cost us hours to get up again. I did not want to go backwards any longer. So while our crew continued clearing the road, I started to get our auxiliary batteries out again.





    Everything was just so hard now. Getting the engine started again had cost us an hour. The original enthousiasm was completely gone, we were moving forward at a rate of a meter per hour. The hill was about 700meters long.

    We stopped progressing at all when we had to go trough a small detour around a tree. It was small but steep incline.




  6. #326
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    205


    With the rain also came the little moisture flies. Millions of them. tiny little flies. They favoured our eyes and ears and loved our nose. Annoying little thingies!

    We tried everything to make the road better in order toget us up this little hill. We had at least 10 attempts to climb it, but it just didn't work.





    Since we left the village early this morning we had covered 4 kilometer. Of which the first 3,8km were done in the first two hours. The rest of the day we spent on this hill. The last 3 hours we hadn't moved at all.

    Darkness was setting in again, we weren't going anywhere today..

    The crew wanted to return to their village for the night. We would be camping here. Just when our guys wanted to leave the news came that the sick child in the last village had died. A messenger was sent to the surrounding villages. This meant a lot of people would want to visit the family of the kid, so there will be a lot of traffic on the roads that night. A creepy thought to be camping spot in the middle of this situation, all alone on the Congolese jungle.

    Kapia became a mythic place for us. Our own Atlantis. The hidden city that nobody knew where it was. We started having our doubts if we would ever get our car out of this jungle again. Tomorrow is another day..

    We opened our tent in the place where we were stuck. All the batteries from our flashlights were empty (from last nights rythmic struggle) so we helped ourselves with a candle. The rainforest was insanely loud and peaceful at the same time. I would have loved this place otherwise, but it was hard to forget in what kind of trouble we were.

  7. #327
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    205
    Progress after day 24... Day 29 since we entered Congo.
    None at all really... Camping in the jungle


  8. #328
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cedar Park, TX
    Posts
    2,498
    Quote Originally Posted by RadioBaobab View Post
    (This post is not part of the report)

    I just read the latest UN report on human development...

    And it is not like it was going that well with DRC in 1970 :-(
    I spent a few days in Kinshasa back in '91. From the time I was picked up at the plane 'til I was dropped off to leave, I was chaufered in a bullet-proof vehicle (a retired embassy car). The stories of lawlessness I heard (first-hand) were amazing. Evidence of it was everywhere. The things I saw were eye-opening. And, like I said, that was just a few days in Kinshasa.

    I'm captivated by your story. There is no way I would attempt what you did (especially with a lady along) and I'm still undecided whether to praise your bravery or condemn your lunacy, but I find have to keep reading...

  9. #329
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    205
    Day 25

    Our 30th day since we entered Congo. That needs to be celebrated! But not with any drinking. We are out of drinking water. It had rained a lot that night and our tent was still leaking.

    We had given an emtpy water jerrycan with papa Likas last night and he said he'd return with a full one today. But what we were mostly looking out for was that tirfor he was talking about. They knew, that a guy in their village used to have a tirfor, but they had not seen it in the last years. Likas would try to trace it down.

    We were delighted to see our crew again, not only with a full jerrycan of water, but also with a tirfor! But it didn't come for free.. :roll: The owner wanted 50$US to 'rent' the tirfor. This was an odd situation as we did not agree with that price, but the owners was not here to discuss it with him. We decided we would be wanting to spend 15$US - which is a lot of money! - and papa Likas thought that the owner would agree with that.

    I had already taken the auxiliary batteries out again early in the morning, so we could immediately start the engine and try to finally get out of this pit!





    It worked!! This was a big morale booster. A booster we desperately needed!
    Likas and Mufuta were delighted too


  10. #330
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    205
    Centimeter after centimer we creeped forward. This was faster moving then what we managed yesterday! Even if it was going so slowly, the psychological effect cannot be underestimated. The previous days we would be be digging for hours after which we blasted forward for 50 meters and then had to start digging again. That is pretty depressing.
    But now we were constantly moving, incredibly slow, but every 5 minutes you could see progress was being made.

    It was hard work though. Our crew did a great job!








Page 33 of 96 FirstFirst ... 2331323334354383 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •