Weight was critical on our motorbike trip between Kindu and Katopa. So we set off with only minimal gear and minimal supplies. Afterall, the goal was to visit the exploration teams at base camp, not to have creature comforts along the way. So our entire food supplies were four cans of sardines and a small bag of bread. John warned, “Not only is the road treacherous, but– expect to be hungry.”
He was wrong.
Barely 20 km outside of Kindu, my motorbike hit a domestic guinea fowl or “kanga”. Village animals are rarely penned. Though we braked so hard we nearly toppled, we could not avoid the “kanga”. It died instantly.
Alas. We left the owner with 10 dollars, twice what he would have had if he sold it in the market.
The sun was hot and we soon worried that the “kanga” would rot on the handlebars if we did not gut it. We stopped in the village of ChumbeChumbe and asked a friendly resident, Maria, to skin and clean it.
That is where the first rain caught us. While Maria cut up the fowl , deep fried it in palm oil and wrapped it in “ngongo” leaves, we clustered under the baraza roof with half the population of Chumbechumbe.
We continued at the first break in the rain, but night caught us long before the Lomami crossing. We were exhausted and eventually just stopped at a small village. The roar of our motorbikes brought the already slumbering population stumbling out. With true African hospitality they freed two sleeping benches, one for John and me and another for my driver, Papa Bolenga (nope, I did not even think of trying that road by myself). And then they also brought us plates so we could eat our “kanga” and bread.
John on our bed in the village of Lukunda where night caught us.
The little bit of guinea fowl that was left we finished the next day on the other side of the Lomami River with the village chief at Kahodi. In fact, as most the male population at Kahodi showed up to greet us, we brought out the sardines too. The chief supplied pounded manioc leaves cooked in abundant palm oil and freshly harvested and cooked rice (much superior to stale Kindu bread).
It was a gastronomically superb trip.