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Published: November 27th 2009
Hands Village top left with shiny roofs ... ASM bottom right ... ACTS Clinic left below Hands with green roofs
Where I lived for 2 months in South Africa
OK ... the DRC ... wow
Let me just start with the journey I have been on to reach this country...
It all started on Monday the 16th of November...
Actually I'm backing up to late Sunday afternoon when I finally organized a ride to Joburg. I found out that there was this guy travelling to the airport in Joburg Monday afternoon and he was willing to take me with him for free ... pretty good start right? ... give it a day or two
So after some hasty goodbyes Monday morning I was off through the fog, rain, and one of the most intense lightning storms of my life ... not bad ... the guy that was driving was a pretty good driver too ... 160 always seems like a good speed in the rain. It did make for a pretty quick trip into the big city so I'm not going to complain. After several calls and text messages to James and Erick, we had a ride organized for me from the airport to Park Station (the bus station). Now ... I had heard from some people that the station was seriously dangerous ... I believed the
The blue room
warnings and had come up with a decent picture in my mind as to what things would look like when I got down there ... ya ... I wasn't even close. The taxi (the driver's name was Solly ... when he introduced himself I thought he was apologizing for something and told him "no worries" ... made for an awkward introduction) dropped me at the Formula 1 hotel where I was seriously relieved to see James and Sukai(James' wife) waiting for me. Paid for the cab with 100 rand and 20 USD ... not great but I didn't have anything else. Room was pretty sweet ... double bed with a single bed bolted to the wall above it ... bunk beds! mmmm Nando's for supper and so began the fried chicken legacy of my African travelling experience. TKOed that night ... thought I was tired ... nay nay. I didn't even know tired at this point.
Next morning we headed to the station early so Erick and I could sort our tickets out ... I still hadn't recieved any confirmation that Ingwe(the bus company) actually had tickets for us. Anyway turns out our tickets were waiting for us at
the booth ... all excellent news still? check!
Stood with our bags for a couple hours in line until the bus arrived (meanwhile James is telling me that pretty much anyone standing in line with us could be eyeing our bags and getting ready for us to just turn our backs so they can grab and run ... it happened to him the last time he was there) ... handed bags over to be loaded onto bus ... stood for another hour waiting for bus to be loaded ... boarded bus and to my great excitement recieved a meal! I wasn't expecting anything and was preparing myself for a long day. Fried chicken and grape fanta ... 930 in the morning ... I'll take it! So good! Crushed it faster than anyone on that bus.
The second, and longest section of our trip had begun...
I won't go into much detail because the next 2 days on that bus were pretty uneventful. Other than the border crossings and 2 breakdowns(1 of which I slept through) it was a pretty average trip. James and Sukai have a 2 year old daughter (Yami) that was with us ... we
mmmm bucket bathing
entertained ourselves with dance parties and star gazing at night.
Border crossings ... not as crazy as I thought they would be ... just really lengthy ... and costly. I payed $75 USD to get a transit visa through Zimbabwe, $50 USD for a transit visa through Zambia and $40 USD I have no idea what for to get into the DRC ... could have been because I left my yellow card(proof I got the yellow fever vaccine) in Canada. Nice!
Backing up a bit ... got to Lusaka and immediately got onto another bus(like off one, walk 100feet, onto the next) headed for Kitwe. By this time it's Wednesday the 18th. We got off 4hours later in near Luanshya. Here Marc picked us up ... in the dark. My bag smelt like fish juice ... still kind of does. Slept at the farm(land owned by Hands? not sure about details) that night ... in a bed! So good!
Left the next morning for the border. The line up of trucks at the border is unreal ... they must wait days just to get through. We took some kind of detour around it all ... not bad.
I really want to ride this ... I'm building up the courage to ask Erick if I can take it for a rip
DRC border ... chaos ... they don't have computers so it's all paperwork. Well actually they have monitors for computers ... they just aren't plugged into anything. Black screens look official. Erick knew a guy that works at the border so even though I was grabbed and taken into the immigration office we were hurried through and put into a taxi that took us to Lubumbashi.
We were supposed to meet the Bishop of the Methodist church there ... he was in Zambia for a funeral ... i Kitwe ... where we had just been ... right on.
Decided to head for Erick's place in Likasi ... picked up his ride and left Lubumbashi. 2 more hours ... then .. Likasi! AYAH!
Home sweet home for the next 3 or 4 months!
This is getting long and I'm getting tired so this is all you get for now...
Likasi update coming soon...
Lots of love
Ps i got skype ... we sould talk
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