February 28 1953 (Saturday) Land Mileage 5012
In the morning we drove for an hour until we reached Poko, where we filled up with petrol. We then went on for another 155 miles into the village of Paulis, where there was a garage. Here we could attend to a few odd jobs on the Land Rover which needed seeing to. Dad managed to purchase a new Dodge spring which fitted the back of our vehicle and he welded the one which came off, to again use as our spare. The manager took us for iced drinks and although he agreed to payment for the new spring, he would not let us pay for the labour in helping Dad replace it, or repairing the spare! We were very grateful for the new spring, as we had been running on repaired ones for quite a distance now!
We finally left there at 14h30 and after a short distance, saw our first train pulled by a wood-burning locomotive! It was quite exciting for us to see all these changes in civilisation as we carried on further into Africa. We crossed a river on yet another ferry just as it started to rain, but nothing like the previous storm we had experienced. The rain did not last long, but it was decided that we should push on as far as possible while we could.
We saw lots of the locals walking along the road; they were now mostly dressed in pantaloons and small straw hats. They were all carrying dead chickens and we presumed that they were all on their way to a feast of some kind, this being a Saturday.
We carried on until 21h00 with very little change in scenery at this stage; we then found a good place to pull off of the road and settled down to the usual evening routine.
March 1 1953 (Sunday) Land Mileage 5235
A new month was upon us and we were back on the road at 08h00. We had not gone far when we came across a tree that had fallen across the road. Luckily we had an axe with us so David and Dad got to work to make enough room for us to get by.
|Dad removing the tree in our way. Apologies for the poor quality but it is all I have!|
We were soon on our travels again and arrived at Nia Nia at 10h00. Here we found yet another Hotel Vicicongo, in very thick forest, and thankfully also a petrol station. We topped up the fuel tanks while we could, had some cold drinks and we were soon under way once more.
After finding a small brook, we stopped and did some washing and as usual a group of locals appeared to see what we were up to! The people in this area were completely different, of a shorter, thicker build and far more pygmy like. There was one who had some pineapples with him and we bought two from him, for the equivalent of one shilling and five pence!
|It seems like we were not the only people around doing our washing!|
On our way yet again and at 15h15 we arrived at Mambasa, where we took a one way road to Beni. This road is very narrow and open on alternate days in opposite directions, over a distance of 23 miles! Luckily for us, the road was open that day in the direction we were going or it would have meant a long delay, which we could really not afford. Five miles along this road we found two trucks that were stuck in front of another fallen tree barring the way. Fortunately, most of the hard work had been done, and with a little help from Dad and David, the tree was soon moved out of the way. The weather here was very much cooler and the road very narrow and twisting. We kept going until we found a small clearing on the other side of Beni and around 21h30, we made camp for the night.
To be continued :-)
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