Bekondo road wasn't bad at all; and by "not bad" I mean we only almost got stuck once or twice but never had to dig. Then, in the town where the road starts to get better--the place where Mike usually installs or removes the snowchains--instead of continuing straight to Kumba, we turned right and headed for new country (for me, anyway). Here we enjoyed some good old pothole-y roads, just like I'm used to. Well, maybe not like I'm used to. At its best, it's still pitted beyond washboard. Speed is relative here: 50 km/h feels like flying; a jaw-dropping speed of reckless proportions.
We missed the sermon but caught the offering portion of the service at Joe's church (a Presbyterian pastor who is one of the translators). An hour and half later we were released, whereupon we lunched, then hit the road again, Joe and another African in tow. Stopping to pick up another member of OLDC (Oroko Literacy and Development Council) and to clean the mud off the shoes of the white people (how do Cameroonians keep their shoes so clean?!), we finally arrived at the comfortable home of Chief Esau an hour and a half late for the OLDC meeting.
Business dealt with, the chief insisted we be entertained by one of his many choirs which had been practicing during our meeting, and to eat of the feast he'd prepared for all his guests, before we hit the road. Darkness is complete by 7:00 so we were eager to get started again. (Dan hasn't been back long enough to relish the challenge of navigating the Bekondo road in the dark, though at better times he's reputed to glory in it.)
With only a brief delay of being trapped behind a city-tired pickup truck attempting to pull another loaded beer truck through a mudhole without four-wheel drive, we arrived -to the surprise of our families--back in Big Bekondo in pitch blackness, exactly 12 hours after we'd left, having accomplished the one hour meeting we set out to attend.