So the well drilling part of our trip has been put temporarily on hold while we wait for our bags to make their trip to Africa. Since the flight from Paris to Bangui only comes once a week, we're hoping the luggage comes on a freight plane shipment today, bringing Jerry and me a change or 3 of clothes and (more importantly) several tools for the well. If those come today, we'll cross the Ubangi River by canoe Saturday, and then hop on a bus to head to Elikya, a little community center near Gemena. (Handy maps included for reference). I'll tell you a bit about that place when we get there, but for now, here's a bit from Bangui, where we are currently staying.
Bangui is the capital of CAR, but with a population of 700,000 it doesn't feel unwieldy or very stressful at all. There are mostly dirt roads everywhere, the people are friendly, and I have only worried once that a car was going to run me over while walking on the side of the road. Electricity is on here for most of the day, with some scheduled and unscheduled lapses. I hear Bangui and the guest house we're staying in will feel like a vacation home compared to the setup at Elikya, so there's that.
The smell memory I'll probably bring home with me from this part of the trip is the smell of fire. The second we walked off the plane we were greeted with the smell of burning and smoke. Most people around here burn their trash, and it seems like something's always smoldering somewhere nearby. The visuals I'll take will all be colored red, like the dirt on the streets and the thin dusting that covers almost everything else.
Yesterday we went to the market. Lots of things to see and things to hear. Behold, I have a sight and a sound to share with you. Here's a picture of the market:
And if I did this right, here's a link to the sounds: http://db.tt/tIfrCgzj