Curse of Nzara Part II

Journey from Bangangai to Bire Kpatuos Game Reserve on some of the most mashed up appalling roads I've ever travelled on. DeeAnn too, and between us we've covered some arse ends of nowhere.

Since I last travelled on the track in June, it has deteriorated badly. Powerful logging trucks are extracting teak and destroying the road for all users. At certain times of the year the road will become impassable to us. A journey which took 2.5 hours in June took 5 today due to stinky sinking muddy bogs, spinning wheels, axles lodged in the mud and a truck blocking the route, which we had to cut our way around. We slid, slipped and slithered our way through the mud and the Wildlife Service team at the back were exposed to torrents splattering them around every corner. The pictured moment was the worst when the front axle smashed into a tree stump, bent and damaged the fuel tank. We thought it was all over but John, the Wildlife Service driver, resurrected the vehicle and we could continue. He's been completely invaluable on this trip and we owe him more than the meagre cigarette rations that he asks for. The rest of us couldn't have navigated this road.

During one mud break, I was advised by one member of the team to stand out of the sun or I'd catch malaria.

DeeAnn and I blame the county town of Nzara for today's ills. I've written about the bad luck in this place before. Driving through the cotton factory abandoned due to Ebola in the 1970s it was eerie to see the families who have braved the stigma to lodge there. In the briefest moments of phone signal we found out a proposal we had high hopes for had failed. We briefly saw the paramount chief, who was on his way to investigate cases of domestic animals being poisoned with the sold meat making people sick. The village chief we need to meet with is in Nzara as his brother has had a motorcycle accident, so we may miss him.

Nzara is cursed. There's no question about it.

The evening was very pleasant, once we finally arrived at the campsite at dusk. Avocado and cassava to vary our diet of rice and beans. The first wash since Tuesday under a full moon and clear sky, hot water wiping away the mud.

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