The seventh voyage


The last day before a trip always tend to be a little stressful. Although I have been working on the preparations during a few months, of course it happened this time too. This time some pages went missing in the printing out of the flipcharts, 25 in number and entirely in French, a language I do not master. It took me a few hours to locate the missing pages and put the pages in the correct order again. I will put the  flipchart to the test in Kimpese. If the future entrepreneurs seem completely confused I might have to do some additional adjustments.

I wrote the material in English, and Myriam in Brazzaville translated it into French. The mess reduced my sleep last night a lot. At 03 a.m. I woke up in the middle of a dream about not getting to the airport on time. I packed the last few things, had oatmeal porridge with blackcurrant jam together with Kerstin, and then morning prayer. This is my favourite breakfast and I will miss this precious moment every day abroad.

At 4:30 a.m. we left Töve and about five o’clock, we picked up Bernt in Borås. Kerstin drove us to Landvetter. For the first time we used the check-in machine, which doesn’t issue tickets. Instead, when Bernt’s passport was entered into the machine, the system found our journey and checked us in. We had bought the journey online, and this time Air France proved to be cheapest and best. Round trip tickets cost us 5.446 : – per person. Finally, airfares to Congo have become sensible . We lifted at 08.07 a.m., half an hour late, due to air traffic controllers strike in Paris. And when we left Paris we were one hour late. A quarter to six in the afternoon we landed at N’djili. The trip went very well, except that I suffered from headache and other small ailments; the plane food does not agree with my stomach. But I was restored later in the evening.

Yapeco’s good friend, a police officer with special rights at the airport met us at the plate and he took us through this somewhat messy airport. We got a small problem – one of Bernt’s bags had been left in Paris. Yapeco called Air France and he was promised that it will arrive in a few days. Bernt missed his toothbrush and got a flash of genius to put the toothbrush in the hand luggage next time. It is a good idea. Next time it could be one of my bags that can not keep up with us. This is the first time we face this particular problem in the Congo.

Makedika, another friend of Yapeco’s took us to the motel Lulo. Makedika’s car seems to be proof of him being a careful driver in this very complicated traffic. There are no scratches or other damage on it. It is a miracle that people stay alive considering what goes on on the roads. The Congolese have an amazing ability to sort out difficult situations and are all masters of the survival arts.

At the motel we had a good night’s sleep in an air-conditioned room. This is the seventh time in the last three years that we visit Congo and we hope that our stay will be productive. We are grateful for all your thoughts and prayers.