Blogs from Congo, Africa


Africa » Congo » North » Owando January 25th 2023

Ngaga Camp - Western Lowland Gorillas! My first safari camp, near Odzala Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo, was Ngaga Camp. This camp began as the prime research site of Magdalena (Magda) Bermejo, generally recognized as the leading researcher in the world in regard to Western Lowland Gorillas. She was there during my stay, along with numerous other researchers. There are approximately 17 gorilla groups in the area - 3 of them have been acclimated to some limited human contact. Several years ago I was fortunate to experience a trek to view the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. They are relatively sedentary and very open to human presence. It was a life changing experience to be gently in the presence of these amazing creatures! By contrast, the Western Lowland Gorillas are quite active, on the ... read more

Africa » Congo » North » Owando January 25th 2023

Lango and Mboko CampsAfter our days tracking the Western Lowland Gorillas at Ngaga Camp, we headed into Odzala Kokoua National Park itself for an old fashioned safari - lots of trekking, lots of mud and stream walks, lots of amazing times just watching all the wildlife that came to the nutrient rich Bai in front of Lango Camp. The Republic of Congo has just recently starting to host safari's and they are committed to doing it right - with a huge helping of adventure! We had several intense moments as our knowledgeable and cautious guides turned to us and got us hightailing it out a potentially dangerous encounter with a hippo or elephant. Their expertise was impressive!... read more

Africa » Congo » South » Brazzaville May 30th 2018

Finally, I'm crossing the river, I name, le Fleuve Congo, one of the biggest river on earth. I believe the river is only second to the Nile in Africa! Most time while in Kinshasa, I can see Congo Brazzaville from the terrace of my room...I had to cross one day! Kinshasa to Brazzaville is also one of the shortest international flight in the world, but flying that route would take you way longer than crossing the river by boat. So I went by boat. Be warned, Kinshasa and Brazzaville are two different worlds! Formalities on the DRC side are always interesting...but I made it, I left one Congo for the other by boat! Arriving in Brazzaville, is like entering another world when you arrive from DRC! I had a flight out of the country the next ... read more
Basilique St Anne
Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
Efficient and cheap taxis in a clean city!

Africa » Congo » East February 26th 2018

I finally made it out. I didn't realize how long I was gone.. It seemed like years. I got lost coming home from Eros Cafe Bar and Restaurant in Kinshasa. They picked me up when I fell and hit my knee lacerated badly, pooled with blood and grit. They said they knew doctors and could patch me up, I had no idea where the real hospital was. They took me to a building with a long white hall and massive flood lights pointed at the entry way. I don't know if it is true or not, what they taught me there. They claim to have entered my mind through alternate channels using my own cognitive dissonance as a resonator that reverberated through the core of my brain. They said it was antiviral medication in sonic form. ... read more

Africa » Congo » North » Ouesso September 19th 2014

I stared, they stared back. The sun was slowly rising behind a thick blanket of white-grey cloud so the light was dusky but I could clearly see their golden brown eyes looking intently into mine. I breathed hard through my mask, sucking in cloth, exhaling fascination. I was in marantaceae rainforest in the middle of a group of western lowland gorillas, in seventh heaven. See footage of western lowland gorillas. The young gorilla I was eyeballing was sitting on a branch practically above my head. One of their friends came bounding down behind them, a bundle of brownish-grey fur and fun, and pushed into them, wanting to play. The two juveniles went hand over hand down tree limbs or swung on vines. A branch broke and they plummeted to the ground but were apparently unhurt. We ... read more

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 May 23rd 2014

“Are you sailing?” That’s a frequently ask question at the present time. Many people will be departing the Africa Mercy just before we leave for dry dock in the Canaries. There are many celebrations and tearful farewells. The last patient left yesterday. All departments are getting ready for the sail. The hospital needs to be packed in containers and the rooms scrubbed down. The tents (for rehab. eye clinic, admissions, etc.) need to be taken down. The vehicles will loaded onto deck seven. Many things arebeing packed away and tied down. Anything that could move during sailing needs to be packed or tied down. Fuel is being loaded for the trip. We had our first muster drill last Thursday. It is a very busy time. I am working in the Starbucks Café and Ship Shop on ... read more
Pointe Noire, The Harbor
Street View

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

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