“Make sure you never forget this…..”, Mpulungo, Feb 25th, 2011

Monday, February 21st I wanted to start with organizing things but quickly I noticed the quiet streets and learned that it is a national holiday. Luckily business would open in the afternoon so that I simply switched my plans and went for the Genocide memorials first. Nyamata is reached by bus within 40 minutes and another 10 minutes walk later you see a church you won’t forget again. It’s the simplicity and straight forwardness of presenting the recent past that affects me so intense. “Here are the remains of 10.080 people, which were killed in this church. There clothes we put on the benches and chairs. In total they killed 45.000 people here in this area alone.” the guide says……..

Walking back I perceive the whole town as depressed and sad but maybe that is only the holiday / Sunday atmosphere which I can not distinguish right now. Watching the drivers school and the fun bike taxis, things seem to be ok. For lunch I choose a local buffet restaurant and learn about the value of meat. “You had more than one piece of beef” the lady says when I have to pay more than the posted price of an all you can eat buffet. They actually counting the pieces of meat and I only notice now that this has happened so many time before on this trip in Africa.

A 20 minute boda boda ride later I am at the second memorial which is even worse. My thought from a week ago at the Memorial in Kigali gets confirmed. Things must have been so much worse than you can imagine as there is so little footage to show. On the picture below you see a dark area left on the wall. It is blood. “When they killed all the adults they wanted to safe bullets. So they took the children on their feet and smashed their heads against the wall until they were dead”……………………………………….

One hour I had to wait along the locals until a minibus stopped and took us back to Kigali. Sharing my cookies with the others was greatly appreciated, partly with surprise. In the late afternoon I got my orga stuff done and went to bed early as my bus to Tanzania took off 5:30 am on Tuesday morning. Crossing the border was no issue, actually quiet nice with the water falls. Two hours later, in the middle of reading my lonely planet, the other Germans on the bus remind me that this is the place I wanted to get off. Wow, how relaxed I became, that would never have happened to me before. Nyakanzi is the name of this place and I mean place. It actually is just a crossroad and because all the busses rushing through some people decided to put up some dirty houses and sell food I guess. Its shady and I do not feel really welcomed. The attempt to rip me off in varies ways only supports my decision to skip Tanzania and go on to Zambia instead. First there is no bus anymore today going south, then it costs 10.000 and finally I should pay extra for my luggage. The only thing true is, that I have to wait for 2 hours but then the mini bus takes off, for 6.000 Schillings and without paying for luggage. Experience starts to pay off.

A rough ride on a dirt road gets us to Kibund at around 2pm. Here I meet a nice teacher who speaks English. He explains to me that “Adventure” bus has a flat tire and only because of that I can jump on. Normally all busses leave before 12. Latest when I have to stand for the next 3 hours I believe that I was lucky to get on that bus. 10pm, pitch black it is, I reach Kigoma. The lonely planet budget options are not budget anymore but after a view attempts I find a hotel with a nice room for 20 dollars. Al Jazerra informs me on the latest from Lybia, crazy hey.

Wednesday becomes a “FRANK” day. Things just go perfect. In the morning I get a ticket for the famous MV Liemba (http://www.fototraveller.ch/bilder_afrika/rb7/beschreibung.pdf) a to take off in the afternoon. It only goes once a week, last week it did not but today it does. Cool. The immigration info on Zambia is also in my favour, I get to charge all my electric devises and for lunch I meet a Canadian who has been to Erfurt varies times. At 7pm the only fairy on lake Tanganyika takes off with me on it, in a nice cabin for two. Thanks Thomas for the report about the ship you send me. I would not be here without it.

The lake contains  one 6th of all fresh water resources in the world and I am happy to see how clear it is. Also it is the longest lake in the world which explains the 2 days I will have to spend on this famous ship to reach Zambia. The other reason is that it stops 19 times to load and unload goods.

This process is a typical African one and we have a full day to watch it. Chaos that only they understand. Boats from the coast rush to the MV Liemba, partly by forcing others away, then a back and forth of woman, goods, children, more cartons, men, fish and beer starts and at some point the MV takes off again while the small boats go back to their villages. There is no street along this lake, so that the MV Liemba is the only way of transport here.

In the video below pay close attention to the guy in the red shirt. He climbs up with his hands and then swings himself over the railing, amazing.

Uncomfortable at first, the entire cabins are taken by white people / travellers while all others are squeezed together on or below deck. But they do not perceive it this way or at least do not let us feel it and so a friendly exchange is going on. Some of them enjoy the stops to dive into the lake and it does not take long before I ask the captain to do the same. My cabin partner, an Australian, joins me and so we get refreshed while disturbing the loading and unloading.

For dinner small groups get together. I enjoy the company of Russo and her friend. They are so cool, travelling with back packs being ……..(they are woman, so I don’t say) ……years old. We get into really intense topics like ageing, partnerships and death. Explaining how happy I am doing this trip Russo says “Make sure you never forget this when times are more difficult……..” That thought in mind I go to my hot cabin for the second night on board.

Friday morning things are going fast after breakfast. We reach the last stop in Tanzania, Kasanga, and only short good buys are possible as everybody except Louis and myself get off. Two hours later, at 1pm we reach Mpulungo in Zambia. Will they give me a VISA? How will Zambia be like and how long will I travel with Louis, the 53 year old Malaysian living in Bermuda????????……………………….

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