There may not be as many days longer than the first day we crossed the boarder into Congo yesterday. This was the day to traverse across the center of Africa by land and by water from Bangui in the Central African Republic south 125 miles to Gemena, Democratic Republic of Congo would take 16 hours. It started with an early morning in Bangui, had what is starting to become the morning ritual 3 pots of coffee, then piling cautiously yet happily into two dugout canoes skimming along the Ubangui River that runs as the boarder between the two countries and officially started our journey across the Congo. All of the 10 of our team with our hand luggage (the larger luggage pieces went in earlier canoes) made the trip across the open water to the other side to meet our trucks for the next (and many times more challenging) land portion of the trip. We landed on the beach and walked up to the Congolese immigration ’shack’ and checked in our passports. We had our first meal of goat and rice and we hit the road. The older gentlemen and ladies grouped into the Land Cruiser – Nate and Mike jumped gleefully (and willingly) into the 5 ton 10 wheeled massively huge Tonka truck with all the luggage, and around 8 other Congolese men and two women who were coming to a pastor’s conference in Gemena with us. It was really great to join these men and women on this journey and to really felt like we were holding our own ….for the first 5 hours ….but the next five hours, is a different story. If you have ever wondered what holding onto a steel re-bar for 10 hours feels like, try rubbing your hands with sand paper while trying not to be flung 15 feet to the ground off of a 5 ton bull. What a welcome to Africa! ha. After 5 hours we stopped in a village called Bao for some food and rest- just long enough for our hands to stop burning and our heads to stop bouncing. The food was a good mix of meats, fruits and veges (2nd meal of goat, bananas, rice and spinach) and we were off on the bumpy road again – but first we added a few more people to the back to join us – just to make it comfy. Then nightfall came and there was nothing to look at other than what could be seen from our single headlight. No one really talked – in English or Lingala – and we were alone to our thoughts. I wondered what they were thinking about – if they were having the same thoughts we were having (good Lord, when will we get there??) …or if they have done this trip so many times that it’s second nature for them. The problem was we couldn’t talk with the language barrier and even if we could the engine of the giant truck would have drowned it out. So we guess it was a good time for all of us to ponder about the past, think about the present and wonder about the future – whatever nationality we where. We finally rolled into the compound around 12:30a.m. from a journey that began at 8:30 that morning – if this is how this trip will begin, we’re excited to see whats next!

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