So, I’m running a little late in my blogging. But last Saturday, we were invited along with some of our other Wycliffe friends to go to Papa Gabriel’s “Jungle Water Park”. So at about 8 on Saturday morning, we all piled into the Landcruiser with our swimsuits and picnic preparations, and then proceeded to crawl through stop-and-go traffic for an hour or so until we made it out of Brazzaville. After that, we took highway north for about 45 kilometers, up into the hills. Outside of Brazzaville, the terrain quickly becomes deserted, with only occasional small towns along the road. Once up in the hills, (I was driving at this point) we turned off the highway onto a sandy track of a road, and bounced and skidded our way for several kilometers through the sand, down a steep gorge, eventually pulling up in front of a lone hut beside a small river.
This was Papa Gabriel’s hut, which he built in order to attract the rare person who wants to come out and camp for a few nights. Our friends John and Elizabeth and their two daughters had come out here a few weeks ago to camp, since it is one of the things they like to do as a family. They were leading us all out on this day-trip expedition.
Once we all piled out of the Landcruiser, everyone changed into their swimsuits and hopped in the river. I hate getting in cold water, and Sara hates it even more than me, but we were both happily swimming around, wading back and forth across the river, and enjoying the sight of the jungle-covered hill rising up behind us. We would walk up the river a ways, hop in, and let the current carry us down to the main swimming hole. The kids who were with us played slip-and-slide on a convenient patch of mud and built sand castles when they weren’t swimming.
When we had arrived, Papa Gabriel had brought out plastic chairs for us all, and he started getting the barbecue ready for us. So after our swim, we all started preparing the food we had brought for lunch. Sara and I brought kabobs to eat, and you can see some pictures of those in the photo album. But we also got introduced to stick-bread, apparently a camping snack that kids in Germany and Switzerland like. Maybe some people do this in the US too, but I had never seen it until then. First of all, you need a batch of bread dough. Then you peel all the bark off of a long, sturdy stick. Making a snake out of the bread dough, you wrap it around the stick in a spiral. Then, for 20 minutes or so, you cook the dough over a fire. The result is yummy, fresh-baked campfire bread.
Well, after our delicious lunch, most people got back in the water to swim some more. Some of us went further upstream to take a longer ride down the river, and then floated further downstream until we reached Papa Gabriel’s log bridge across the river (no photo of this, sorry). At about 4 o’clock, we packed up all our stuff and headed out. Sara thought the ride down had been so fun, she wanted to try driving on the way out. So she guided the Landcruiser back up the sandy road, through the steep ravine, and back to the highway. I think that was her favorite part of the trip.
It was a lot of fun to get out of the city, into nature, and relax for the day. If you think it sounds like fun, come on over to Congo, and we’ll take you up there!