A bumpy experience

We couldn’t travel any further in Yapeco´s Toyota Jeep. It is too low for the road from Kimpese to Luozi. Instead, we had to hire an Ambulance Jeep at the IME hospital. It was a Toyota Jeep as well, but a larger model called Land Cruiser. We loaded our bags into the car and set off at full speed towards Luozi. We had about 100 kilometers of muddy roads ahead. The road to Luozi is hardly worthy of the name ”road”, it is more like a poorly plowed field. Sometimes it´s like a washboard with a sprinkling of holes the size of bomb craters. It’s the rain that has dug deep trenches in the hills. Sany, our chauffeur, had to parry all these different features of the roadway, and luckily he´s a man with extensive experience of Congolese roads. He didn’t hesitate, but stepped on the gas – sometimes we were doing as much as 80 km/h. As we were sitting on hard seats along the sides of the car, our trip was quite a bumpy one. Regardless, we were in good condition when we arrived to the Congo river and the village Kimbemba.

Last fall, we had to make a stop in this village due to car repairs. The exhaust system had been torn off when we boarded the ferry. The chauffeurs stopped at a school and fixed the car. When they were occupied with repairs, we took the opportunity to make the acquaintance of some of the school children. Three boys approached us and talked to us in English. They wondered if we could get them textbooks in English. At that time, we couldn´t satisfy their desire, but we took some pictures of the boys. Now, we showed that picture to a little boy when we came to the ferry stop, and asked him if he knew them. He said he did, and he ran away to fetch them. A little while later, he came back with two of the boys. The third one in our picture was out on the river fishing. I had bought the New Testament in modern English and written a few words on the inside of the book. The boys got one each in addition to our business card and a pen from Bernt. The messenger also got a NT and a pen. After a while, they came back in the company of their English teacher. Bernt had a small stock of the Gideonite version of the New Testament in English and Swedish. Bernt let the teacher take the entire stock, and he was happy and grateful for the gift. We hope that he and his students may benefit from these presents.

Then we boarded the ferry and had a pleasant ferry ride the 3.5 kilometers across the Congo river. On earlier visits, the water has been full of crocodiles, but today they were none. A number of orange and tangerine sellers were going to and fro. The passengers on the ferry had nothing much to do but to buy and eat the fruit they were offering. Smart sales location! We peeled the oranges the Congolese way. Yapeco had taught me how to do it, you squeeze the orange and suck the juice. The rest of the fruit is thrown away.

We are staying in Gunnel Jönssons semidetached house. Bernt and I have an apartment of our own. Gunnel invited us for dinner. Besides us, the guests were Edi Diafunakana, the Nyambudis and Yapeco. Afterwards we had a meeting with Edi and a group that wants to start a fruit factory in Luozi. We discussed fundamental principles of entrepreneurship and different ideas how to realize the project. We have until November to try to work out a first draft.

Luozi is a beautiful and pleasant place, located on the riverbank. We have no electricity in the house. There are solar cells, but they didn’t want to contribute to the lighting tonight. I am writing these lines in the light of a kerosene lamp. I have a headlight as well, which helps me see a thing or two around me.