Post by cabintom on Nov 20, 2019 7:13:16 GMT
Back at the end of July/beginning of August, I traveled to one of the most remote corners of the DRC. Our team's goal was to travel 100km up from Sukadi, Ango Territory, Bas-Uele to a refugee camp located at Zapay, only a few km from the CAR border. At the refugee camp we met with members of a partner church from CAR who have been violently displaced by ongoing rebel activity. Without going far into it, suffice it to say that life in the camp is dangerous and difficult.
The road from Sukadi to Zapay would barely qualify as a hiking path in North America. The wear and tear on our Chinese motorcycles was made evident by the numerous breakdowns we experienced. Fortunately, we knew what we were getting into and had a mechanic equipped with necessary tools and spare parts traveling with us. I wouldn't recommend making a trip of this sort, but if one must, an accompanying mechanic is necessary.
I took 2 full days to travel the sparsely populated expanse between Sukadi & Zapay. The first night we were nearly forced to sleep in the forest, but fortunately we made it to Bangu (town of, maybe, 5 huts) where we were able to pitch tents and sleep in slightly more security.
The other challenge of this region is the almost complete lack of communication with the outside world. There's no electricity and no cellphone service. In Sukadi I was told they have a single channel "radiophonie" with which they can receive messages from other towns. It felt like we'd traveled back in time to another era.
The trip was fraught with risk, but the hilly terrain of mosaic savanna & forest was among the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen and, of course, I was able to collect a number of interesting specimens.
The morning of departure from Sukadi.
The first 30km of the road were by far in the worst condition. I lost track of the number of breakdowns.
There was evidence that this part of the road was once cobbled.
Waking up in Bangu. Start of day 2.
Rest stop. Menu: water and bananas
One of the few remaining towns along the road.
The refugees have been in place for 2 years. They've begun to build semi-permanent structures and clear forest for fields. It's become a rather large but undeveloped town.
2nd day in Zapay. Sorting through what I collected & promoting ecology.
One of Zapay's few water sources.
This is where our water was coming from.
Heading back to Sukadi. More breakdowns.
Pastor Abolokpuyo showing me how to make balloons with sap from a rubber vine.
These 2 chickens ended up serving 3 purposes:
1. Moral support. The bikes are terribly uncomfortable. It was helpful to know the chickens were even more uncomfortable than me.
2. Bait. Charaxes loved this basket.
Safely back in Sukadi!
I'll start posting pics of what I collected when I get back from work later today.