Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The Renault truck was loaded to the brink, with no room left to spare. 30 tons of merchandise - consisting of packaging materials and other goods had crossed from Gonokrom, Ghana towards Ivory Coast, Agnibilekrou . On the first night they slept at the border, in order to complete formalities transit documents, a cumbersome affair.
They had made friends with the border customs officials in order to facilitate the process faster. The wife of the customs head at the border point invited them to dinner, consisting of Fufu (mortar pounded Manioc, plantains and yams), and a delicious peanut butter stew.
The days that followed were in stark contrast to this. The vehicle transiting Ivory Coast from the north to the south, just 150 km before Abidjan, and then turning right towards Yamoussoukro. It took 3 days before Yamoussoukro was reached, and heavy rain poured down on them in the center of the metropolis built by Houphouet Boigny, former president of the West African State.
They slept the night in their vehicle, the crew of 4 and the woman in charge of the goods. It was cramped, uncomfortable, and sticky hot, but they had managed all through out their journey the conditions were similar.
An attempt to inform their whereabouts was futile, as no telephone line was available to contact me who was waiting for news.
Next morning the truck moved north towards the regional capital of Odienne , and the driver took the decision to cross the rainforest into Guinea, without knowing the road and its condition.
Being on African roads is a danger in itself, with vehicles parked in broken down condition during nightfall, blocking roads, without a warning triangle as the norm. Many people lose their lives this way, from passenger cars ploughing into those trucks on the road. Thousands of people die as a result but nothing is being done to alter the situation. No government since 50 years has ever been able to control this number one cause of road accidents.
The road through the forest is unpaved, a stretch of 50 miles of green, impenetrable jungle awaits them, only cut by a narrow, laterite road that serves as the main route to the border with Guinea. So narrow is the path that no two vehicles would be able to pass each other would they meet. On some areas the road is wider, and this would be the only way to allow two trucks to pass side by side, leaving only inches of room.
The truck could not move at more than 10-15 mph due to the bad condition of the road. In the afternoon the torrents pour more water on them, the jungle becoming a morass.
Visibility was reduced to a few meters. The driver doing his best to control the situation, he was aware of the many dangers that lurk in this thick, green hell. They must make it to the border post. Rain still gushing down on them, he was crossing a creek overflowing its embankments.
Floods, dark red painted by soil of the rainforest, the driver could not see the huge rock that was laying in the middle of the torrent, covered by the floods. All he feels is a heavy jolt on his truck, he forces the car to move out from the creek to stop on the other side in order to inspecting his vehicle. He had unwittingly damaged his radiator whilst running over a big bolder of rock hardly noticeable because of low visibility and the dark brown floods.
Desperation overcomes them when they see the damage. No way could they continue till the water tank had been repaired. They decide to stay over the night and remove the tank the following morning.
It was late afternoon close by the time they had crossed the flooded creek. Tropical rains happen to be a regular menace to drivers and as fast as they come they will go. At 6 PM all was over and the forest was getting dark, quickly.
They prepared for the night in their cramped vehicle once again, only this time in the middle of the jungle, and without knowing their exact location.
After the rain the canopy over them turned into a lively neighborhood with green monkeys jumping from branch to branch, amidst loud screams they were protesting the human presence below them.
Night fell and the jungle voices rising, myriads of mosquitoes descending on them. Windows could not be closed completely unless they would suffocate, so they fell prey to the blood sucking insects. It was real hell, no food except some bread with them. A negligence, as they realized at that moment.
The night creeping endlessly, with the occupants feeling prisoners in their tiny cabin which had two bunks infested with another insect, fleas. In addition to their already dreadful condition, the fleas attacking them in the bunks and menacing them.
When daylight comes they are relieved, move out from their vehicle and disappear in the bushes behind. The creek is now at its normal level and the rock can be seen clearly. Nobody will move it except by nature's force. After a meager breakfast of a few chunks of 'tea' bread, water from the creek, the driver and mate remove the radiator, a task of two hours. It is near 10 AM when they depart back to where they came from, carrying the heavy tank on the drivers head, the African way.
No one knows how long it would take them to return. A pathetic thought in the middle of nowhere, only a breakdown in the desert could be of similar magnitude. So they wave goodbye and pray to return safely.
The day passes slowly, the jungle steaming with the day heat, the sun now over the canopy they melt in this near 100 % humidity environment. They watch the monkeys over their heads, and pass the time with telling their own problems to each other.
The owner of the vehicle was a laborer in London, UK and saved up in many years to be able to acquire this truck, enabling him to make a living back home. Many tales are told on this day, for there was no other means to beat the time.
They wonder where their companions may have reached, their hopes are dim, knowing the condition of the road.
Afternoon brings again the daily rain. Everyone is waiting for the storm to finish before preparing for the night once again. A bucket of water is carried for the only lady, to the rear of the cabin in order to take her shower. She has no choice and uses her African printed cloth to wrap it around her big bosom and cover herself from the view of the others. Sitting on the back on the top of the spare tire, she manages to take a shower.
The water is fresh and invigorates her after the hot day. Proceeding with lotioning her body, using a perfumed body lotion to smoothen her skin, she suddenly hears a growling sound from the side of the road behind her.
She calls the attention of the vehicle's owner and points to the shadow that moves slowly towards her. As dusk has set in she is unable to see clear, yet she notices the abnormal size of the shadow coming towards her. She tshouts to Paul in the front to look at a 'large dog'. When the remaining mate sees it he is shocked and calls in a quiet voice, she should move into the cabin, as this was in fact a lion.
Her Adrenalin rising in a flash, her 240 pounds of flesh moved as fast as in no time before. She jumps to the cabin like a 14 year old schoolgirl, slamming the door behind them. They see the Forest Leopard standing behind, whacking his tail nervously, confused, with a deep growl.
At this moment no one could figure out, why the Leopard did not attack, our believe is the the strange scent of perfume, was an unknown odor to him, and this saves the life of the woman. They see him and hear him clearly, a few meters away from the vehicle, expressing his annoyance with a deep growl, its spotted skin visible in the now dark surrounding.
They had crossed the path of a Forest Leopard, and escaped his attack by a margin. The margin was the body lotion that sent the Leopard into confusion. God was on their side. The Leopard still standing, and growls more time in a deep, catlike outburst of dissatisfaction, till he finally disappears back into the jungle.
more : http://www.articlesbase.com/exotic-locations-articles/encounter-at-dusk-odienne-ivory-coast-146777.html
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/non-fiction-articles/encounter-at-dusk-border-of-ivory-coast-part-ii-149974.html#ixzz0sFCoGFPY
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Daloa, Man to Gbakpleu, Border Cote d'Ivoire - Guinea
.. Setting off after breakfast early morning, the road still stretches a few hundred mil
Daloa, Man to Gbakpleu, Border Cote d'Ivoire - Guinea
.. Setting off after breakfast early morning, the road still stretches a few hundred miles westward to the border with Guinea. To travel early has many advantages : For one the dreadful Gendarmerie and Douane checkpoints and barriers are mostly unmanned, and secondly the temperature is still bearable.
The land is lush with green, a fruit basket - the entire country. On the way we pick up a ton of pink grapefruits, whatever we could take, a real bargain.at 15 cents a kg. I found grapefruits to assist in many ways, it has many nutritional values, and is a natural antibiotic and a Flavonoid.
We reach the town of Man at 14.00 PM and ask directions to the border, which according to my map should be about 30 - 35 miles away.
It is mandatory in this region to call on the local police station to report your itinerary. The Police in Man is just wasting our time. Nobody cares and we move towards direction of Guinea.
A nasty feeling overcomes me when I notice the changing of the road surface, till now we had tarred roads; from here it turns into a rusty red, unpaved rough country road, full of potholes. Used to bad street conditions I try to brush my ill feeling aside only to be overwhelmed by it again later.
The Policeman standing on the road asking us for a lift looks decent and I invite him in the car with his AK 47 . A welcome guide, protector in case of a problem. Not long after, we experience the first heavy downpour on our trip.
With near zero visibility we move through the tropical storm, I am now fully alert, envisaging the things to come.
In no time the road has turned into a network of miniature lakes and waterholes, making it difficult for the vehicle to pass.
At speeds of 20 kph we inch along through the rain, avoiding the massive pools. We pass villages which lie like paralyzed, everyone seeking shelter from the storm.
Coffee plantations along the way, with deep red coffee beans being visible within the foliage, a beautiful sight I recall.
As we encounter our first hundred feet stretch of lake we cannot bypass, our guide, the policeman volunteers to wade in front through the lake.
The rain drenching him in seconds, he has to show us a shallow place to pass. We manage the first one, but I have a notion that things will get worse, and they do.
A village is being cut off by a torrent stream, the road washed away. The makeshift road which serves as a diversion is not much better, we find ourselves in the middle of the village with everyone staring at us with curiosity. It is not everyday white people find their way in these remote parts.
Through the center we drive and find back to our road on a cattle trail, which is hard to maneuver on. And always striking me is the immense beauty of this country, even under such a stressful situation, The beauty of Africa is unsurpassable, has its charm, no doubt.
The dream is short lived, we find more trouble ahead; a truck has blocked the road, sunk his axle deep in the mud.
Loaded to the brink, if anyone can understand the term, unknown in western parts those trucks are being overloaded to their allowed max. payload.
And amidst all this, the driver and his mate attempt to lift the truck by means of a hydraulic jack. By now the downpour had stopped, we get down form the car to watch the spectacle.
People shoving and pushing the 20 tons plus without results, the jack lifting up the back axle, wheels grinding the vehicle miraculously finds its way out of this morass, the driver knew where to jack up.
I still cant believe it, the truck actually moves ! Wonders happen. With the bypassing truck and people shouting in excitement we continue our journey.
As our wheelbase is shorter we pass unhindered by the sump that has developed where the truck had dug his tires into.
It is 5 PM when we reach a long stretch of horrible looking morass; it makes my heart come to a near standstill.
Deep tracks left by the first truck, I cannot imagine how I can possibly pass this, more than 300 feet long.
We get out from the car and reckon how to get through this, everyone has a good advice, at the end it is me who has to drive us through.
10 minutes it takes me to draw up courage to move ahead, right into the huge mud puddle of water.
And I must admit at the time I am still a novice. The inevitable happens, the vehicle gets stuck 20 yards later.
Everyone is on his feet, giving me a push forward, only to see the wheels digging in deeper and deeper into the soft laterite.
Smelling burnt rubber from the tire friction, I begin to panic, I know the forest dusk sets in at 6 PM, and here in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by tropical virgin rain forest, not an ideal place to spend a night.
Something, some miracle must come our way if we should make it out before dark. Personal safety is a concern, the location near the Liberian border, a triangle of three countries, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Guinea.
The route is being used by smugglers, Armed Robbers, Bandits and other Anti Social Elements, and life does not mean a lot here.
Kneeling under the vehicle I notice the chassis stuck on the ground. The carjack is of no avail, we dig with our hands, cutting our skin with the tiny, sharp stones buried in the red soil. All attempts to free the car are fruitless.
A family of forest inhabitants appear, 10 heads with the Patriarch in the lead, all push the vehicle, it does not move one inch forward. Noticing the nervousness of the Natives which I am not sure how to interprete.
The only way is to get a tractor from the Agricultural station 10 miles ahead to pull us out.
The female family members leave, the Patriarch staying behind, it really is a nice gesture. As predicted, dusk sets in at 6 PM, the forest is shrouded in darkness.
An awesome feeling, sounds of the jungle awakening around us.
All sorts of thoughts come to your mind, what will happen, how do we get out of here ? Normally what would be a scenery for a documentary, but we are captives of a mighty forest of unknown dimensions. The gigantic trees around now look ghostly in the night sky, only the fireflies illuminating the dark.
Mosquitoes buzz around me in thousands, but here I find the difference in being a Vegan.
I am not suffering a single bite, the Mosquitoes not being drawn to my "bad-tasting" hemoglobin. To breed their eggs they look for carnivores, and those next to me keep on slapping their ankles and exposed limbs continuously.
Having waded in the rain water, I roll up my trouser sleeves above the knees. All is a mad scene, the trousers are drenched in mud. In midst the lukewarm, red muddy water, my Timberlands get caught in the sticky mud, and in the dark - never to be found again.
I am now bare feet except the plastic slippers I have in my car, a somewhat cheaper version of footwear.
It is 7 PM when I see a hush of a beam pointing towards the sky, behind the hill in the forest ahead of us, roughly 400 meters away. And rightly we hear a car engine revving its way up towards our position. Whoever has come here must be able to help us to get out I figure.
The car stops on the other side of the puddle upon noticing that we block his way, I was wondering how a Peugeot 504 Caravan,, full with 12 passengers and Cargo could make it through this and I couldn't.
The driver coming over and inquiring about the problem, laughs and calls his 12 passengers to help. With combined efforts, 14 grown adults pushing, the engine reversing, we pull back to where I started from. The driver will cruise his 504 through the mud and will show me how to move my car through the morals..
In excellent fashion he steers his rust bin through all the puddles, sinking so deep that I can't believe he will make it, yet he passes, his engine roaring high. I wonder what is worse, the Paris - Dakar Rally or this here, settling for the latter.
He smiles, then comes to me to give me the secret. Coming from a mountainous region, I have driven on slippery, icy roads before, turning half way down a dangerous mountain in Winter. But this is new to me, I succumb to my African teacher.
He explains when entering the mud, press down the accelerator, turn the steer hard towards the embankment, thus keeping the vehicle in a semi-upper position, and the car won't get stuck.
It made sense to me, and the experience showed he was right. With him on my right side I take the stretch in a few minutes, the car jerking and pushing through all the way. Our savior is obviously happy that he had shown me some bush sense. Amidst thanks and a small token in form of money the driver continues his journey, it is 8 PM when we continue our trip.
Next I notice the ignition warming indicator light turning red, indicating a problem with the alternator.
Now being pitch dark, I decide to continue towards the border. Not far from where we are we also notice the steering going harder and harder.
Upon all this we find a puncture in my rear right tire and I have to change the wheel, like it or not. Again, on a slope, I stop, in the middle of the dark, dangerous rain forest; to attempt to change the wheel when I notice the sound of another car coming from affront. This one is sent by the our Companions to help us, nearly 3 hours after they set of on foot.
It really is a relief to see my companions in this awkward situation. They help me to get the spare tire and we continue, and I am informed that the border post is only 3 miles away now. Just then it begins to drizzle again. when we reach the Soldier post, the rain is again pouring.
We took 8 hours to travel 25 Miles but the sight of the Army post lifts up my spirits high again this evening.
The Ivorian Army maintains a border post here, the 'Capitaine' an Officer and a gentleman.
Upon introducing ourselves, he invites me to stay for the night, his outpost lit by Kerosene lights.
He has also instructed his lower charges to prepare hot water for us and I have my forest shower under the nightly sky with the rain drizzling on me in the process.
I can't express the relaxing emotion overcoming me this moment, after all the digging and profound physical efforts. This shower, in midst the jungle, under open sky and in the rain is what I recall today.
After we are invited to join the commander for dinner. I am hungry and I must say that Ivorians do have a 'cuisine', here, in these remote parts.
Beef simmered in pea nut butter sauce, capsicums spicing the dish, and steamed rice. The dish tastes wonderful. On this occasion I bring out 10 pink grapefruits and distribute them amongst the soldiers.
They have built new barracks here and I am given a new barrack with a bed. I am grateful for their hospitality.
The steam of the jungle, its ever present sounds around everywhere, the rain hitting the Metal roofing sheets , it is hard to find sleep. Tossing and rolling in my bunk, my thoughts go back and forth, what will tomorrow bring, on this journey to the unknown....
Next Episode : Longest road to Nzerekore
A journey to the unknown, by HR.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The advantages of using Moringa in malnutrition prevention programs
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License
come to : Moringa Oleifera
1. Moringa’s leaves, flowers, bark, wood and roots are used worldwide for a large variety of medicinal purposes. But there are also many other uses for the tree. Among these:
2. Alley cropping : With their rapid growth, long taproot, few lateral roots, minimal shade and large production of high-protein biomass, Moringa trees are well-suited for use in alley cropping systems.3. Bio gas : Moringa leaves provide an excellent material for production of biogas.
4. Dye : The wood yields a blue dye which was used in Jamaica and in Senegal.5. Fencing : A common use of Moringa trees is as a living support for fencing around gardens and yards.
6. Foliar nutrient : Juice extracted from the leaves can be used to make a foliar nutrient capable of increasing crop yields by up to 30%.7. Green Manure : Cultivated intensively and then ploughed back into the soil, Manure can act as a natural fertilizer for other crops.
8. Gum : The gum produced from a cut tree trunk has been used in calico printing, in making medicines and as a bland-tasting condiment.9. Honey clarifier : Powdered seeds can be used to clarify honey without boiling. Seed powder can also be used to clarify sugar cane juice.
10. Honey producer : Flowers are a good source of nectar for honey-producing bees.11. Livestock feed : The high bioavailability of Moringa leaves and stems make them an excellent feed for cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and rabbits.
12. Oil : The seed kernels contain about 40% edible oil, similar in quality to olive oil.13. Ornamental : In many countries, Moringa trees are planted in gardens and along avenues as ornamental trees.
14. Plant disease prevention : Incorporating Moringa leaves into the soil before planting can prevent damping off disease (Pythium debaryanum) among seedlings.15. Pulp : The soft, spongy wood makes poor firewood, but the wood pulp is highly suitable for making newsprint and writing paper.
16. Rope making : The bark of the tree can be beaten into a fiber for production of ropes or mats.17. Tannin : The bark and gum can be used in tanning hides.
18. Water purification : Powdered seed kernels act as a natural flocculent, able to clarify even the most turbid water.
Fuglie, L., 1995. Répertoire des associations villageoises en Casamance. CWS/Dakar. 132p.
Fuglie, L., 1998. Producing food without pesticides. Local solutions to crop pest control in West Africa. CWS/Dakar and CTA/Wageningen. 158p.Fuglie, L. 1999. The Miracle Tree. Moringa oleifera: natural nutrition for the tropics. CWS/Dakar. 68p.Fuglie, L., and M. Mane, 1999. L’arbre de la vie. Moringa oleifera: Traitement et prévention de la malnutrition. CWS/Dakar. 76p.Fuglie, L. (ed) et al, 2001. The Miracle Tree. The multiple attributes of Moringa. CWS/Dakar and CTA/Wageningen. 172p.Fuglie, L. (ed) et al, 2002. L’arbre de la vie. Les multiples usages de Moringa. CWS/Dakar and CTA/Wageningen. 177p.
Lowell Fuglie and Moringa : Establishment of new Moringa project in the North of Ghana
www.moringanews.org/documents/Leafproduction.doc : “Intensive Moringa oleifera cultivation in the north of Senegal.”
www.moringatrees.org : Overview of CWS Moringa promotion project.
www.tropentag.de/2003/proceedings/node273.html : Improving livestock nutrition with Moringa.
http://tinyurl.com/6uw32 : Traditional health alternatives: The Discovery Health Channel.
www.unesco.org/most/bpik10-2.htm : “Improving nutrition with Moringa “miracle” trees in Senegal.” Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge : UNESCO/MOST.