Blogs from Point Noire, West, Congo, Africa


Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire May 31st 2014

We will be sailing soon. We are preparing to do checks for stowaways and some crew members are being trained to do pirate watch. We will be going through an interesting point - 0° longitude and 0° latitude. For those of you who may not know, it is the point at which the equator (0° latitude) and the prime meridian (0° longitude) intersect. It has no real importance. It is in the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean, about 380 miles (611 kilometers) south of Ghana and 670 miles (1078 km) west of Gabon. We are headed to the Canaries and dry dock where the bottom of the ship will be cleaned and routine maintenance will be done before departing for Benin. The Africa Mercy was to go to Guinea, but plans were changed because ... read more
 stabd prop

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire May 30th 2014

About a half dozen crew members went to orphanage for boys. It was my first time. But others in the group have been going weekly. It was dark and the lighting was poor. The boys came to our vehicle as soon as we pulled in. They are fun loving and enjoy playing games. I could barely see the Frisbee and other flying objects. Several ball games were going on at the same time using the same small area near a building with one light. We play all kinds of games including relay, American football, and naturally soccer. There is only one woman on staff. The rest are men. The age range of the boys is 6 to 18.... read more
Young Boy at Orphanage

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire May 7th 2014

Pigs, chickens, rabbits, wedding flowers, fish farming, soybeans, banana, mango, and passion fruit, and irrigation are some of the things I saw when I visited a farm about an hour from Point Noir. The farmer is a medical doctor, formerly with Doctors Without Borders. He last served in Rwanda. Several of the other doctors he worked with there were killed. He was wounded in an explosion while driving an ambulance. After his recovery he felt he needed to live a quiet life, but one that involved physical work. He moved to his home country and began farming. He has taught others farming skills. I went to this place with six other crew members. I was on the gangway as they were leaving the ship. I was invited to go since they had room for one more. ... read more
The Chickens
Small village on river

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire May 1st 2014

I arrived into Congo and Mercy Ships on Thursday, the first of May. It was exciting to get a warm welcome from fellow crew members I served with in Togo and Guinea. It was an uneventful flight. The lack of signs in the New York airport resulted in my spending extra time in terminal 3 looking for a way to get to terminal 4. But I made all the connections. Starting Monday I will be working in the sales section of the Finance Dept. I have this weekend off. Last night I went to a neighborhood about 14km away with a dozen crew members to show a discipleship film in French. This was the third visit to that location from Mercy Ships. There were about 50 people of all ages. White plastic chairs were set up ... read more
Ngoyo Plaine Orphanage
Ngoyo Plaine Orphanage

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire July 10th 2012

Tuesday July 10 We're in The Congo! Well, Republic of Congo to be exact; not too far from the Gabon border that we crossed earlier today. Our free camp isn't too far off the road and several youngsters found us but either they kept their little secret to themselves or the adults weren't interested. Driving along solid dirt roads again, the landscape was similar to yesterday. A small section of sealed road appeared in the border town where people frantically pointed to the building we'd driven past and listening to them, Suse turned the truck around and we found out it was immigration. Notes said it was 48km further down the track but here it was. Somehow we'd missed the tiny sign sitting under the window from the main road 100 metres away. Go figure. Filing ... read more
Bush camp
Heading towards Pointe Noire
Lunch stop in Dolisie

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire May 25th 2012

I arrived in Pointe Noire on the 30th April 2012, after a fairly event free flight on Interair, a South African airline. My mission was to do an electrical installation on a ship. The clouds were fantastic as we cruised at 10 000m above Mother Africa. After touching down, going through customs and immigration was fairly easy. I had a LOI (letter of invitation) and was met at the arrivals hall by and agent from GETMA Congo. It was about a 10 minute drive to Hotel Elais , which is a 4 star hotel in the centre of town. It has a pool, and outdoor restaurant, as well as a nice, but expensive bar. The following morning, it was 1st May, Worker's Day, and what better way to spend the day sitting at the pool, with ... read more
Cool by the pool
Street scene, Pointe Noire
Tin-Tin in the Congo

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire July 20th 2008

Initial reaction of intense disappointment. Where has the city so revered by Europeans and Congolese alike been hidden? True, the coast with its Atlantic waves and golden sand (just like light brown demerera sugar) is stunning. Yet the oil rigs and Disney style resorts invade the beauty. There is an air of something perverse, although that could just be the presence en masse of macho, chain smoking oil rig workers who expulse an aura that money is power. 21 July 2008 I have seen the light. Driving down Avenue Charles de Gaulle at night with the illuminated facades of shops, restaurants, casinos and night clubs shows Pointe Noire in a new light. It almost seems like a European coastal resort - save for the drone of generators and accompanying stench of burning diesel. Yet once beyond ... read more
The Force of the Atlantic
The Most Amazing Sand
Football by the Atlantic

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire February 28th 2008

After the Ngongo border post we stopped at another checkpoint and got another stamp then had lunch literally on the road and the kids start pouring in, after lunch Kirsten gave them the left overs and total chaos as everyone tried to grab some and even went in to our trash to salvage some cans and jars etc. sad thing to see, we told them to stop scavenging but wouldnt so we have to take the trash back to the truck quickly. Moved on from there to another checkpoint this time in the town of Nyanga. We were told by Tony the guy refused to stamp the truck carnet because he is already off duty and this is only 3pm, we have to pay 10,000 dibdobs if we want it stamped now or wait til tomorrow, ... read more

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire October 20th 2006

Back once again to Pointe Noire in the Congo staying at exactly the same safehouse/hotel as I was the last time I ventured here. Not much has changed in a few months besides the food which seems to have gotten much better. Maybe all the meat I was eating was tasty because it was freshly killed? Or maybe it was because it wasn't loaded with chemicals. Bah, either way the grub was good, and the fruits are still fantastic. Head down any street in the city and you will come across some vender hawking their wares. There were these tiny ugly round greenish orange things that when bitten into would blow up in a juicy waterfall, oh man were they good. This time around though I had a few troubles along the way. Chief of which ... read more
Beach guards?

Africa » Congo » West » Point Noire July 1st 2006

This will be my last entry in my little West Africa journey. The city I've been at for just under a week is Point Noire, in the Republic of Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville. To sum things up in a sentence: I've had one hell of a fantastic time here and I already miss it. I've spent my nights drinking with many new friends and dancing till my feet are sore all throughout the night. The local beers, Mutzig and one other with a crocodile on it are very tasty as well! Everyone speaks French and I more or less am able to communicate with everybody even though my french skills are not that good. I was amazed at how much hidden knowledge resides deep in my noggin as well. I guess it pays to have paid a ... read more
Souvenir stand
Point Noire
Point Noire

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