18 hour drive = 3 days drive

3/01/2012 08:08:00 AM sendtheroths 4 Comments

The 18-hour journey to from Congo to Tanzania became a three-day long journey.

This was hardly a surprise to us. Which is why, we left nearly five days prior to our intended arrival time. With expenses in mind we camped from our vehicle the whole way there.

The journey started with us gathering the necessary documents for our Toyota Surf (which is Africa’s equivalent to a 4Runner). The insurance and registration expired while we were away.

We parked on the plains between acacia and baobab trees, only a few kilometers 
away from the Masai—one of the most respected tribes in all of Africa.
Photo Credit: Maciej Dakowics

Upon our arrival at the Congo border, we met with several people from our board of directors for GOF-Congo and held a meeting regarding the finalization of GOF’s non-governmental organization documents—the stuff that that makes us a legal and legitimate organization in the eyes of Congo’s government and the United Nations. We also made plans for our next staff meeting in June, where we plan unveil the plans for the Training Center.

We stood the night at our friends’ Darin and Hope Phillips humble African home in Kigali and left for Tanzania at 4 a.m. We drove through the entire country of Rwanda and crossed the border into Tanzania by the afternoon. As we neared Tanzania we saw trucks with signs labeled “Allah Kamari” and “Ya rabbi wa as salaam”— Tanzania is a country with a huge Muslim population.

After crossing the border, Andrew and I parked on the plains between acacia and baobab trees, only a few kilometers away from the Masai—one of the most respected tribes in all of Africa and throughout the world. We bathed behind the car with our water bottles and made a bed in the back of our Surf.

A baobab tree in Tanzania.
At one point, a local came riding his bike while Andrew bathed naked—he paid no mind (This Is Africa).

We resumed our journey again at 4 a.m. and passed through what I consider a more spectacular Garden of the Gods, with miles and miles of mysterious rock formations. Occasionally, I would stop for a pee break—once in mid-squat I heard laughing and singing. I guess I was peeing in someone’s front yard. The hut was blocked by bushes and rocks and was such a natural color that I didn’t even notice.  Oops. Again, the Africans paid no mind to it. Unlike America, Africans don’t mind wandering visitors… In fact many African proverbs tell of being kind and generous to wandering strangers.

 We later passed through a large town called Dodoma where we asked for directions to Iringa (the town we would be studying in.) We were given a choice between the short way and the long way: the short-way being about 150 miles of dirt and clay road. Or the long-way, being about 460 miles of paved road.

“How long would the short-way take?” we asked.
“Oooh, about 3-4 hours,” we were told.

We spent the night camping between large rock formations. Photo Credit: Sandi Toksvig
We chose the short way and jolted around the vehicle for a good eight hours up mountains and through valleys. The good news is that I got most of my (Amethyst) technical off-roading experience through this trip. I drove for six of the eight hours. Andrew was so proud of my “technical” driving skills.

Again, we spent the night in our vehicle nestled between two huge rock formations on the low-lying side of the mountain.

We arrived at Iringa and eventually found the campsite where we would stay and learn Kiswahili for the next three months.


  1. Is that language native to the Congo? I thought french was??

  2. Good story; very interesting! God going ahead as you both follows in the way of the Lord. God bless you both and keep the posting coming in. Keep in touch.
    Love in Christ.
    From Florida.

  3. Wow, glade you made it, interesting story. God speed be with you through the entire trip.

  4. @lovelyprint - Swahili is not native to Congo, but neither is French. However, French is the language most educated people would speak. Since we work in the east among the uneducated, French isn't ideal. Swahili is the trade language of the east and it's much easier to learn than French. Although both are important. Check out the new post, which explains more. Love you all! -Amethyst