Today was our first rest day, (and well deserved I might say) at the Randgold / AGA Sokimo Kibali gold mine in north east DRC.
The team took the opportunity to get laundry done and make sure the little niggles experienced wrt the bikes were addressed. The damage to Mark’s bike, after his fall on the first day, was repaired with the help of the mine’s engineering team, under the supervision of Mike. Paul’s handlebars were straightened after his pink duct tape event. Oil was topped up, bikes cleaned and we all worked on getting ready for the first real encounter with the DRC roads or lack thereof.
Mark spent most of the day working on his day job and then the afternoon was spent on NVEP matters. We visited the Association Feminine pour la Defense des Droits de la Femme et l’enfant - an association created in 2006 under the leadership of Marianne with the aim of preventing abuse against women and children and their rights, especially when side-lined by society. It was a moving ceremony and again highlighted the great work done by individuals to help the women and children of Africa. The association has over the past 10 years assisted over 200 widows and orphans in the surrounding regions of Kibali and received support last time round as well. The Boyzonbikes also handed out a cheque to an association of motivated nurses aimed at assisting pregnant woman in pre and post natal care.
The team then travelled to Watsa and spent a few hours with the Dominican Sisters, a group who run an orphanage for neglected and abandoned babies. What an impact it had seeing babies from a few days to a couple of months old who have been abandoned or orphaned as a result of the ongoing LRA activities, particularly around Farage. It was both a moving and depressing experience to witness the great work being carried out by these special people of faith!
Then back to Kibali to pack and complete the final preparations for the first day of the ‘real deal’ driving through the Congo and all the challenges that we are about to be confronted with.