Into the village

We cut an hour off our journey on the trip from Bamenda by taking the newly refinished Dschang road. It wove down the mountainside in a series of tight curves, leaving me in awe of the beauty of the countryside from Bamenda to around Dschang. The verdant green hills are so pristine, dotted by only a few tin roofs which look like white patches in the distance. After Dschang it levelled out more and the countryside contained cropland or long spreads of grassland.

At Loum, we turned off for Kumba. What a shock! I understood that the Kumba to Big Bekondo stretch would be an adventure, but I hadn't realized the road from Loum to Kumba is unpaved. Mostly it was just rutted but there were one or two big "brace-yourself" mudholes which put a huge goofy grin on my face as I thought "Now I'm in Africa!" It's like what my sister and I say about driving in blizzards: "I love driving in a blizzard....I mean, I love being in the car while DAD drives through a blizzard." It's fun as long as someone you trust is at the wheel.

We stopped in Kumba to retrieve mail, change to mud tires, and pick up the last few items we could squeeze into the already overloaded vehicle for the trek out to the village because -- it being wet season -- we aren't planning on coming out for a while. For those of you who've seen the video, yes, that is what it was like. Only the video was taken in October once the rain has mostly stopped falling and you're just waiting for the road to dry out, whereas we are in the throes of rainy season. The rain fell as we drove.

It started spitting as we left Kumba, then turned to a real rain a bit further in. Mike put the snowchains on the tires and we proceeded, pulling through some severe mud spots. In one perpetually bad spot we passed Mike said Dan lost some pieces of firewood one time, using them to get out of the hole. Another spot, the "lake" by market town never fully dries even in dry season they say.

The rain become stronger and weaker off and on. We jostled and revved through all kinds of road until one finally bogged us down for good. After numerous tries, we all got out and started walking while Mike waited for less rain and scoped out new angles of trying to make it through. I seized the opportunity the take a photo of the truck stuck, then, attempting to shove my camera and my alarm clock (which was sitting at the top of my purse) back in my purse while holding an umbrella and two pairs of muddy flipflops in my other hand, I lost my balance and fell into the ditch fast flowing with water. Even my rubber boots (I had purchased some in Bamenda and packed them last so as to be at the top) didn't save me that spill. And with so many things in my now muddy hands, I just plunged along for a couple of minutes, one boot sloshing full of muddy water, not bothering to empty it.

Eventually, Mike got out of that hole, so we all piled back into the truck for a few more clicks till another hill completely did us in. At this point we weren't far from the village so off we went again on foot. And it was indeed on foot for all the kids who left their flipflops behind -- they're little use in the slippery mud. It was dark by the time we reached the village where we were met by a party wielding shovels etc. to extricate "Mr. Mike" from the grimey grip of the glop. Three kilometres later we reached the Scotts' house at the very end of the village. We scrounged together a supper and some clean clothes from what we could find. Scotts hadn't been home for over a month so most everything was in the truck which was stuck a few miles back. It took another 2 hours, I believe, before Mike made it home with the truck, despite the many hands helping. I believe he said he got stuck about 8 times from when we left to reaching the house. I have deep respect for that man!

So, here I am in the village. I'm told I've joined the ranks of a select few who've actually had to walk in.


Anonymous said…
That is a brilliant story, Karla. I can't imagine a better way to get familiar with a country than to get your boots full of water and hands full of mud. I've been really enjoying your stories so far. Keep them up.
lasselanta said…
"Grimy grip of the glop." I love it. So apt!

Popular Posts