This is an Appeal
Maga’s wife and child have drowned. We need your help.
Maga accompanied Ashley last year on the first trip up the Lomami. He is from distant Monkoto, the center of the Salonga National Park. He came as part of the “bonobo” team that had worked with Ashley to census the bonobo of the Salonga in 2005 and 2006.
Nancy and Maga on the day of their wedding. Photo by Ashley who sent it to me.
The heart of the team, Bernard, Maurice, MAGA and Sabine, has stayed with our project, but Monkoto was too far away. Maurice and Sabine have already moved their families to Kisangani. Maga’s wife , NANCY, was doing the same with their baby boy, born in 2006 and named after ASHLEY. We had left money in Kinshasa for the trip by airplane from Mbandaka to Kinshasa and then Kinshasa to Kisangani. The families of Maurice and Sabine waited in Kisangani to welcome Maga’s wife and baby.
But that will not be. The first stage of the trip was by dugout, without outboard, from Monkoto to Mbandaka. It is a trip of five days, 24hr days. The dugout was traveling by night. It turned over. NANCY and BABY ASHLEY drowned and their bodies have not been recovered.
The news came via WWF satellite email from Monkoto. I communicated it to Ashley (our Ashley) by satellite thuraya. He was with Maga in the new primate camp west of Obenge.
Maga in August of last year. Happier times. Beating the rhythm on empty jerry cans while the porters dance in the dugout
This is what Ashley sent me via his Rbgan email several days later:
“After you told me the news I decided that it was best to get out of the forest right away and when back in Obenge tell Maga .
Yesterday after getting back I told him and it was awful of course. He was screaming and crying for quite some time and I was crying as well. His child was named after me (Ashley) so it feels particularly difficult but maybe I’m just being selfish.
African villages are amazing places at these times and by the evening dancing around a huge fire and tom toms were in full swing. This went on for many hours.
It was really amazing and very beautiful to see. So different to the English who all just sit around feeling uncomfortable and wanting to get away as soon as possible!
Of course Maga was still subdued and quiet but at least looking a little better.”
Now Maga is with me (Terese) in Kinshasa. From Obenge he took our motorized dugout to Opala. He rented a motorcycle through the Lengola to Kisangani. From there he flew to Kinshasa and we are now looking for a flight to Mbandaka at the first possibility and then on up to Monkoto.
Maga is here in Kinshasa now. He will now continue on to Mbandaka by the next plane, and then by pirogue to Monkoto
THIS IS AN APPEAL. There is NO INSURANCE in DR Congo. No life insurance and no medical insurance. The project must rise to the occasion:
We hope to raise 200 dollars to cover the mourning in Monkoto
We hope to raise 500 dollars for the family of Nancy
We hope to cover all MAGA’s travel and expenses and have him back with us as soon as he is ready.
And we will use any donations in that order. Mourning first, Nancy’s family second, Maga third.
In total we are looking for 1300 USD. If any more than that arrives we will put it into a local health and life insurance resource fund for the field teams. If you are donating for this cause please just signal in the comments “My donation for the MAGA FUND”
Below is the first message that came by satellite email from WWF Monkoto — thankyou Lidjo:
“J’ai les remords indescriptibles de vous annoncer la double triste nouvelle de la mort de l’épouse de Maga, Mme Nancy et son enfant, hier la nuit lors d’un accident de navigation.
En fait, Nancy devrait rejoindre Maga (à Kin et/ou Kisangani) via Mbandaka. Elle avait pris place à bord d’une pirogue. Celle-ci a chavirée hier 13/03/08 la nuit vers 2 heures du matin à quelques cinq courbures avant d’atteindre Wafanya. L’accident s’est produit entre Lokofa et Wafanya.
Jusqu’ici, les corps ne sont pas encore retrouvés. Il y avait 12 personnes dont 07 survivants et 05 morts. C’est tout Monkoto qui est endeuillé.
Au nom de tous les miens et du mien propre, je présente à Maga et à sa famille nos condoléances.”