Sailing with Wendy

On July 4th, went down to Fish Creek to sail with Wendy. The anticpated wind speeds were 15mph. We got there and there were waves on the water but no whitecaps. We got the Scorpion into the water and began getting ready to go out.

When we were ready, I had Wendy get into the boat sitting towards the stern and I got up by the mast and raised the sail. The boom knocked Wendy about a bit but I had told her not to touch the tiller or sheet so that we wouldn't immediately get blown over. Once I had the sail up, I moved to the back and began to trim the sail. The wind was blowing quite hard so it is a bit of a blur but I seem to remember having to do a fast jibe to get us going away from land.

We then realized that the wind seemed to have picked up. Water was splashing up on the sides and over the bow. Wendy got quite wet and as there were now white-capps on the water, it was getting a little scary. I had to keep the sail fairly loose and we quickly got back to the dock. Wendy offered to have me go out alone for awhile so as we pulled in close to the dock, I turned up into the wind to stop and Wendy jumped into the water and swam to the dock. Then I had a fun time getting out of irons, almost drifting back into shore.

More coming..

1st sailing of Scorpion

Yesterday, took the Scorpion sailboat out to Fishing Creek for its maiden voyage.  The Scorpion is a pre-cursor to the AMF Sunfish.  The winds were light with occasional gusts up to 6 mph.  After a slightly rocky start sailing away for the dock in which I gently bumped into a moored fishing boat, the rest of the sail went well.  She handles very nicely.  The wind was never strong enough to need to hike out or even lean but I can tell that she will be very responsive in fresh winds.  Looking forward to some fun sails this summer!

A fun 50th birthday

Had a fun day which included some great old photos posted by Deb on Facebook as well as a beautiful post by Elizabeth.  When I got home I got my presents, a bag of peanut M&M's and a painting from Elizabeth and a lovely card and 25 honey-stix from Wendy!

We then went out to a Mexican restaurant in Matthews and then went to see Paddington at Carolina Cinemas which has leather, electric reclining chairs.  Good memories!

 

 

Trip to Cumberland Island

David and I drove 6 hours to Cumberland Island on December 26.  Google maps said the trip would take 5 hours but it was closer to 6 hours.  We made it to the boat dock right on time to check in and pay our fees.  The ferry ride to the island took 45 minutes.  On the way we saw some wild horses grazing by the shoreline.  We arrived on the island at 12:30.  After an hour long orientation from a park ranger on watching out for marauding raccoons and wild horses, we were given the Brick Hill back-country site 10.7 miles away.  We had 4 hours until sunset, so we knew we had to hike fairly fast.  The island is very flat, and we were hiking on the main dirt road so hiking fast was not a problem.
 
We got to the Brick Hill primitive campsite at about 4:45.  We had the entire site to ourselves.  Got our tent and hammock set up and prepared dinner.
 

  
 
 
 
The site was beautiful, right next to the estuary side of the island, facing towards the mainland.  From the name of the campsite - Brickhill Bluff, we were expecting some kind of large bluff with a dropoff to the water.  The reality was a little disappointing, you have to really use your imagination to say this is a bluff (we'll call it a 5 foot bluff.)  Still it was very beautiful getting to see the sunset.
 
 
 
 
About 10 minutes after sunset, I was standing by the waters edge and started to see dolphins breaching the surface for air.  There were 4 or 5 dolphins and they kept swimming back and forth in front of our campsite about 40 feet out.  If the water was not frigid, I might have been tempted to wade in and and see what they would do!
 
In the primitive campsites, campfires are not permitted.  So, after it got dark, David and I crawled into our sleeping bags and tried to sleep.  I was starting to fall asleep when I heard a family come traipsing through the woods chasing armadillos.  We had thought we were in the most remote part of the island, but these people had come in their own motor boat and were beached about 200 yards up from us.  They saw our bear/racoon bag hanging nearby our site and told their children not to point their flashlights in our direction as they passed, which the children immediately did, "Daddy, you mean don't point the flashlight over there (pointing with the flashlight!)  We feigned sleep and they were soon gone.  They were much quieter on the return to their campsite.
 
The next morning, we packed up and hiked west to the beach side of the island and hiked about 2 or 3 miles on the beach.  The solitude apart from some horses was nice.  Also saw a bald eagle perched in a tree in the dunes.
 
 
 
After a few miles on the beach, we went east again towards the other side of the island to a mansion called Plum Orchard which I wanted to see.  I didn't know if it would be open, but I thought we could look in the windows.  We got there and there was a van full of people there, part of a tour group led by a park ranger.  David and I put down our packs and walked up on the large front porch and were looking in the windows.  The ranger was standing near by and so I went up to him and asked him when the house was open.  He said, "only when I'm here.  I'm about to give a tour, do you want to come along?"  We said yes and so a few minutes later, we walked into the house with the 7 people from the van and the ranger locked the door to keep anyone else out.  The house was built in 1898 by George Carnegie who was the nephew of Andrew Carnegie.  
 
 
 
 
David in front of a sunken fireplace nook
 
 
Upstairs hallway runs the full length of the house.  This looks like an illusion with a mirror at the end, but there is no mirror.
 
 
Dinner bell - to let people know there a was 45 minutes until mealtime.  The wallpaper here is the original wallpaper, and is made of burlap.  The hardwood floors were also original and in beautiful condition especially considering the house has no air conditioning and no heating apart from the fireplaces.
 
 
The house really was state of the art for it's time period with indoor plumbing, electric wiring and call bells, a squash court with observation gallery and a fifteen foot deep pool.  Wonder why there are steps leading all the way to the bottom of the pool?  The ranger explained it was so they could fill the pool just a few feet for the children to play in or full which would have allowed for diving. 
 
 
 
After touring the house for about an hour, we went outside and made Ramen noodle lunch and then began the hike back to the large campground which is 1/2 mile from the boat dock.  We arrived around 3:00 and found an empty campsite.
 
 Path to campsite
 
The big box on a post is a racoon box, that is, a place to put everything you don't want the raccoons to get at.  There was another group already in our campsite and they told us later that they had already seen racoons marauding around the site when they first arrived earlier in the day.  The orientation ranger was very firm about telling us to make sure the latch on the racoon box was secured the proper way because the raccoons had learned how to open the doors.  She also had told us to make our hung bear bag in the primitive campsite was heavy because the raccoons had learned that they could climb above the bag and pull it up to them!  They have not yet learned to climb down the rope but to hear the ranger tell it, they were close to being able to do just that!
 
After getting set up in camp, we walked out to the beach and explored a bit.  Then we went and had dinner and afterwards joined the other group around their campfire.  The next morning we packed up and explored another mansion nearby which sadly was just the rock shell of the building, the mansion had burned down in the 1950's.  We made our way back to the boat dock and got on the boat, thus ending a wonderful visit to Cumberland Island.
 
 
We didn't get too close to the horses as the orientation ranger scared us with stories of them kicking and biting.
 
 
If you look closely, you'll see the cute little armadillo.  One of many we saw. 
 

Gregory Bald Trip

Went hiking with David to Gregory Bald in the Smokies.  Started hiking about 12:30 and 9 miles later and 3,000 feet, we were to the top of the bald around 5:00!  Quite tired, I layed down in exhaustion up on the bald!

Read more: Gregory Bald Trip

Third Survey Trip (among the Baaka)

December 7th, 1995 Day 1

Left SIL at 0700 but gas tank was only half full so had to go find gas. We finally left Bangui city limits (at the police check-point) a little after 0800. Drove all morning and at about 1200 we abruptly made a left turn onto an insignificant looking path and started down the road to Lando (the last place on earth!) The road was fairly good but narrow in places and some gullies. The main problem on the road to Lando is logs across the road. At about 1230 we came to a huge 4-5 foot diameter tree across the road. We had 2 chainsaws and cut off its smaller branches (2 foot diameter) so that we could drive around it.

Tree blocking road to Lando

Thankfully that was the only big tree we had to work on. There were others but paths had already been made around them. We had to be careful while driving not to hit the ends of cut down trees that might be protruding slightly in the road or hiding in the undergrowth. It was real jungle driving with trees on both sides of us towering 100 feet above us.

Approaching Lando in Landcruiser

Saw no animals but lots of moth like butterflies. Started seeing Pygmies of the region returning from the hunt about 10 km from Lando. Many were very excited to see Francois and Bartelemy in the car with us. They are 2 Pygmy men who are translation helpers. They had been in Bangui for several weeks working with the two translators (Dominique and Jerome who are also Central African but not Pygmies) and the language consultant who helped analyze the language and made suggestions concerning various problems Jerome and Dominique had encountered. We stopped the car so that 1) Jean-Pierre could take pictures (Jean-Pierre is a friend of the director and his wife (Paul and Ing‚ Meiers) and this trip is actually his vacation with the Meiers with Dominque, Francois and myself tagging along to do some language survey among the Pygmies in the vacation region Bayanga.) 2) so that Dominque could buy some meat from the hunters returning to the village. Many from the village were coming back from the hunt and Jean-Pierre was really animated with the people speaking a mix of a few Yaka words like "gorilla" and Swiss-german. He took lots of photos of the 40 or so people who were gathering around us. His antics and gestures drew lots of laughs. At one point everyone stated piling onto the outside of the Landcruiser- on the roof and on the back- there must of been 10 or 15 people but Dominque made them get off. Not only would it be bad for the vehicle but the hanging vines and brush could hurt the people. After about 15 minutes we continued down the path, occasionally some young man or boy would follow us fairly successfully for a hundred meters or so even at 25-30 km/hr! We arrived in Lando around 1700 and it is quite beautiful. A large opening in the jungle with the village quite spread out. Dominique and Jerome's houses are on the extremity of the village and are very nice. Dominiques has a large double bed with foam mattress (like ours in Bangui), solar electricity for the computer and radio which they use to keep in contact with SIL in Bangui. The village well which was built a few years ago by a Wycliffe member from Switzerland is near his house and is quite impressive. All concrete, the well is 35 meters deep and has a solar powered pump which brings the water up where it is stored in an elevated holding tank which has 2 spigots. We unloaded the vehicle and saw a beautiful sunset going down thru the distant trees. Later as we ate gozo and wild donkey (ane sauvage) ate Jeromes house we saw the moon rise which was equally spectacular. Went to bed around 2030.

 

December 8th, 1995 2nd day

Woke up at 0500 to the sounds of drums- there is a church service each morning with singing and dancing. I stayed in bed until 0600. We ate breakfast (baguettes and jam) on Dominiques porch and had the surprise visit of a green/black snake (about 16 inches long) under my chair which sent everyone running off the porch. Lots of villagers came running over to the house and eventually the snake was drawn out of the wall where it was hiding and killed with a machete. Went on a little tour of the village later with Dominique and in the afternoon worked with Francois and Barthelemy to record an introduction to the stories they had previously recorded in Bangui.

Saturday, December 9th, 1995 3rd day

Left Lando at 0645 and got to the main road (after many stops for Jean-Pierre to take pictures) at about 1130. Gordon was there to meet us with an envelope of blank word lists which Dan wanted me to gather. We then continued and arrived in Nola about 1600 where we bought gas and then headed for Bayanga about 120 km away. About 1 hour out from Bayanga our right rear tire went flat. We quickly changed it and by now it was getting dark. We went about 20 minutes down the road and the left rear tire went flat and we got to learn how to change an inner tube (it took about an hour). The tire pump was not in the best of condition and it took awhile to pump up the tire to 2.5 bars of pressure. The recommended pressure is 3.5 but the pump sprung a leak at the pressure of 2.5 and so we prayed and gave the matter to God to get us safely to Bayanga. We arrived at the tourist welcome center of the World Wildlife Foundation at about 2040 and after much driving around and visiting with some workers of the park (swiss-german was the predominant language) we finally arrived at a fairly nice cabin with 4 beds with mosquito nets at 2230 and went to bed around 2315.

Sunday December 10, 1995 4th day

Woke up at 0630 and tried radio at 0700 but unable to make contact. Had a devotional together and then went searching to get the tire fixed and arrange the program of sightseeing. At 1400 we went into the jungle- hike 40 minutes including wading thru calf deep water barefooted for a hundred meters and arrived at an immense mud-hole where 84 elephants were congregated! There was an observation tower which we all (except Jean-Pierre and the guide) went up to get an overall view plus be safer. Jean-Pierre on the other hand wanted the close angle shot for his films. We stayed for about an hour and then hiked back. Dominque and Francois talked with some pygmies and the first impression was that the dialects were practically the same.

Monday December 11, 1995 5th day

Woke up at 0430 to leave at 0530 to see gorillas but tires still had a leak so we had to leave it at the garage to get fixed. 6 holes were found in one tire, 5 in the other rear tire. Instead of going into the jungle went on a pirogue (dug-out canoe) ride on the Sanga river for 3 hours and saw egrets and pretty purple flowers but was fairly boring actually because we were constantly stopping while JP took 10-15 minutes getting a good filming of who knows what (it was often hard to see what was captivating his attention so! But then he is a biology teacher so it must have been a rare species of something or other.) Got back to the house at 1200 and in the afternoon went on a medicine walk with 3 pygmy women and our guide. We collected various plants which they said had medicinal value, like for a headache, sore tooth, stomach pains. They also cut a 3 foot portion of a vine and we were able to drink water from it, the water dripped from the vine quite quickly and had a bit of a tea taste. When we took the women back to their village we made contact with the chief and are going to see them tomorrow. We told them we have a message for them.

Tuesday December 12, 1995 6th day

Woke up at 0415 because we had to start early to go into the jungle looking for gorillas. Ingé came down with malaria and so she is staying in bed today. Drove 26 km into the forest to a camp base used by an american studying the gorillas who is on vacation. Nothing fancy just some wood cabins and pit toilet. Nearby was a stream and saw 2 elephants in that area before they went off into the jungle. We then began a 3 hour hike where at one point we heard gorillas up close- quite terrifying the noise they make and the speed they can descend from a tree. Did not see them as they ran off quickly but some of the others said they saw them. When we got back to the vehicle the rear tire was completely flat and we had the extra problem of bees, lots of them flying around the vehicle and the general area. We had to 1st build 3 fires to smoke most of the bees away and then we were able to change the tire. Amazingly when we left we had no problem getting out the few bees that had strayed into the car.

At 1630 we went to the village of Mosapola and met with the people- played the messages from Lando and they recorded responses. I then asked them some questions on the boundaries of their language. JP came also and filmed and taped women singing. Dominique and Francois communicated without problem with the people. We will go again tomorrow for word list and to record a story.

Wednesday December 13, 1995 7th day

Woke up at 0500 and ate breakfast. Ingé was not better so instead of going into the jungle and risking a breakdown when we might need the vehicle, we decided to go instead 32 km to a Yugoslavian man who we heard could give us a tire. We left and while on route had radio contact for the 1st time since leaving. It sounded like Wendy was right there and I wished I was right there with her. We arrived at the mans place, he runs a lumber yard which supplies the tourist center project in Bayanga. He gave us a tire which we installed and inflated and also checked the pressure on the other tires. We then went down to the river for a few minutes for JP to take some pictures. Then drove back and worked on translating the stories of Francois and Barthelemy. Paul went to another lumber company that has a plane and arranged for Ingé and he to fly home tomorrow morning. At 1600 went to the village and took a 220 word wordlist, Dominique elicited the words and I wrote them down. We then had two of the men record stories for use when we do our surveys in Congo.

Thursday December 14, 1995 8th day

Woke up around 0530 and got an early start for heading back to Lando. After 2 hours we arrived in Nola where we bought gas for the landcruiser and searched for a tire pump and inner tubes. We found a better pump which we bought but did not find inner tubes. Spent about an hour in Nola and then continued down the road. Got about an hour out of Nola when we had our 4th flat tire of the trip. Left rear tire. We quickly changed it (we were becoming experts) and then had to pump it up some because it apparently had a small leak but no too major a problem. The rest of the days driving went well until about 1400 JP asked if he could drive some. I agreed and he started down the road. He was not used to African driving and we had to keep telling him to slow down so he could miss the potholes and such. I was getting quite nervous with his driving. After about 30 minutes we came to a floating bridge. The bridge has two tracks for the tires, each track being several boards next to each other (in other words each track is about 2 feet wide.) Going at a perpendicular angle to the tracks are railroad ties which are what support the tracks. They are spaced fairly evenly apart but there are some big gaps. JP starts to drive across the bridge but as we got near the end he see that some of the boards are sticking up. I tell him to just drive to the right a little bit to possibly prevent driving over a nail sticking up. He stops the vehicle, mutters a few words to himself in Swiss German and then steers heavily to the right and we are soon off the boards and driving on the ties. I said urgently "stay on the bridge Jean-Pierre, stay on the tracks", about 3 seconds later our left front tire breaks through a rotten tie, the vehicle is badly tilted over and down. The situation does not look good. We are all in shock, it all happened so fast. We all get out of the car and start looking at the damage. The left front tire is hanging on nothing, the front end spring leaf on the left side is stuck on a board and seems to be supporting the left front end from falling further. The left rear tire is wedged down between 2 rail ties and is badly deformed; it is amazing it has not popped. We can not drive forward because the front end is down too low. If we try to back up the left front tire is not going to be back on solid ground for several feet and there will be nothing supporting it. The situation definitely did not look good. We thought about using the jack to lift up the side but there was no good place to position it. I was still a little shocked, everything had been going so well and then in 3 seconds we were stuck several hundred miles from home with a vehicle that even when we got it off the bridge was sure to be damaged. We finally decided that we would get a bunch of men and try to lift up the front end and maybe put it back on the boards. Dominique was just getting ready to start down the road to a nearby village when 2 men on mopeds came driving up to the bridge. They talked with Dominique and we decided to try and back up the vehicle. Dominique got into the vehicle, put it into low 4WD and with the rest of us lifting on the front end, he was able to back the Land Cruiser up onto solid ties and then was able to drive back onto the track. Everything worked fine and the tires were intact. It was truly a miracle and we were experiencing a subdued feeling of euphoria, (subdued because the shock of it happening at all was still affecting us.) We thanked the men who helped us and Dominique took over at the wheel and we continued down the road. It was about 3 o'clock and we soon got on the path to Lando. The going went slow, Dominique keeping the speed down because of fear for the tires. It was soon obvious that we would be driving well past nightfall. We came up against 3 or 4 fallen trees which we had to cut up but after the first we quickly began getting into a routine and became quite efficient using the 2 chainsaws. We finally arrived at Lando at about 2000 and as we drove up to Dominque's house, it looked like a good part of the village was there dancing and sitting around a fire. We first thought it was a welcome for us but soon found out that a step-sister of Maxime (a cousin who lives with Dominique) had died in Bangui and so the people had come over to keep Maxime company in his sadness. We unloaded the vehicle and decided to stay up with the people. We set up our beds and nets, ate a little bit and went to bed around 2200.

Friday December 15, 1995 9th day

Slept late till around 0900 and had breakfast and contacted Bangui. Explained our plans and told them that everything was going well, that the tires had held and seemed to be good tires now and that we were going to repair the spare tire today. We told them we would contact them again tomorrow. After that we went to fix the flat and when we took the tire off the wheel we found that the inner tube was completely ripped in half. We therefore had no spare tire for the return home. We decided when we got in contact on the radio the next morning we would explain the situation and try to stay in regular radio contact so that if we got stuck some one could come looking for us. The rest of the day we spent relaxing, Jean-Pierre went on a short hike in the jungle (he was too tired after yesterday to do a hunt) and Dominique spent the day arranging his affairs since he was coming back to Bangui for a 3 week vacation.

 Saturday December 16, 1995 10th (and last) day!

Woke up early in the hope of getting off quickly but it took awhile. The people wanted to load lots of sacks of manioc and such on the roof but we decided with no spare tire it was better to keep the vehicle as light as possible. We even left the bad tires taking only the empty wheel. We finally got off around 0800, Dominique asked me to drive, I think he did not want to feel responsible if something went wrong or maybe he was just tired after the drive of Thursday. Considering that all the other flat tires had occurred while I had been driving, I wasn't exactly thrilled with driving but I put the matter in God's hands and decided not to worry about it. We drove slowly out of the jungle, it took about 4 hours, we we arrived on the main road with no incident. The remainder of the trip passed sans problem and we arrived back at SIL around 1600. I was never so glad to be back into the loving arms of Wendy!!

Second Survey Trip (among the Yangeré & Mpiemo)

November 20, 1995 1st day

Left center at 7:37. Survey team composed of Dan Duke, Elysé Mohema and myself. Arrived at Bambio at 15:05 and met with the sous-prefect (regional governmental official) at his house/office. He signed our order of mission and gave us some information about condition of the roads.

Arrived in village of Bungeri at 16:00. Met with the chief and school director and other men. They gave us a house next to the ex-mayors house. The house had 2 wooden beds, no mattresses, and room for an air mattress on the floor. I took one of the wooden beds and had 3 little brown bats right above my head. I quickly set up the mosquito net! We then sat outside eating oranges they brought us and talked among ourselves. The village was very calm and picturesque. The sound of birds and cricket type insects and humans are all we heard.
Had the group interview at about 1830. All went well and we went to bed about 2100.

November 21, 1995 2nd day

Woke up at 0600 and had breakfast. After breakfast, the ex-mayor brought us a live chicken as a gift. We put it in a bucket to transport it and will kill and eat it later. We gave them some evangelistic pamphlets in the language Sango for the village. Tried to have radio contact at 0700 but was unable. Could hear another station make contact with Bangui (Ottawa) but could not hear Bangui's end of the conversation. Went over to school and did SRT testing with 15 CE1 grade students (third grade). Level of French was extremely low, level of Sango was better. Finished testing at 1000 and went back to the village where the chief told a story which we recorded for using to test dialect intelligibility with other languages.

Left village and arrived in Berberati at 1400. Had lunch from a road-side stand of grilled meat and manioc and then went looking for lodging. First tried the Baptist Swedish mission but they only had one room and said they didn't usually lodge people. They suggested trying the Catholic mission but they were all full so we finally settled on an auberge (like a small motel) for 5000 CFA (10 dollars). We then ran into Elysé's wife Chantal who was also in the area on business, (she works for the national radio station and they do broadcasts in villages throughout the country.) It was decided that she would stay with us, she and Elysé in the big bed in one room and Dan and I on the floor (air mattresses) in the other room. We then went out to dinner at a "fancy" restaurant (to celebrate the visit of Chantal) where we had a tomato salad, grilled chicken and saut‚ed potatoes. Went to bed at 2200.

November 22, 1995 3rd day

Woke up at 0600 and went to see the prefect at 0740. We also went and saw the mayor who gave us advise on getting to the village. There were two possibilities for going, one being about twice as long as the other (we decided on the shorter one.) We drove 50 km towards the village and arrived where we were to get off the main road only to find out from locals that the road was unusable because the bridges were missing. So. . . we drove back to Berberatti and started in the other direction toward Carnot. After about 90 minutes we left the main road and the fun began. The road to the village was2 tire tracks through the jungle. The path was just wide enough for the vehicle. The growth often brushing the sides. The path was very sandy. Often one of the tire tracks was 3 feet lower than the other and so the vehicle tilted severely to the point that often it seemed the vehicle was going to tip over. The going was very slow often about 20 km/hr (12.5 miles an hour). We had to drive about an hour after night fall which was quite the experience and not one I would want to do again because even with headlights it was quite difficult to see the tracks and any obstructions. Arrived in the village at 1900 and discovered we were not yet at the village we wanted but decided to spend the night and continue on tomorrow. The villagers were very friendly and gave us a nice house nobody was living in anymore.

November 23, 1995 4th day

Did a short group interview and some RTT dialect testing and then left for the village we were looking for. Road was even more difficult then yesterday, crossed one bridge in bad condition which at first glance had looked impassable. Arrived at the village of Mabula at 1100 and did the group interview. Afterwards we went to the house they gave us and ate our "thanksgiving dinner", baguettes, cheese, hard boiled eggs and especially cherry kool-aid and Wendy`s brownies. Gave the chicken to the chief and asked if his wife could prepare it for us for dinner. Evening meal is a subjective phrase and they brought us the prepared chicken and gozo at 1545-we ate it later. During the afternoon and early evening Elysé did some SRT testing in Sango with whoever would volunteer and I spent the time writing letters. Did not test the school children because the school teacher is out of town collecting his pay in Berberatti.

November 24, 1995 5th day

Left village at 0630 and arrived in Berberatti at 1600 (about 200 km away). Went to the same auberge and got two small rooms at 3000 cfa and 1500 cfa. Ate a dinner of gozo and antelope which was very tasty!

November 25, 1995 6th day

Had a perfect radio contact with Wendy, usually her voice is distorted like a robots but today it was like she was right next to me. Left Berberatti at 0730 and arrived in Nola at 1100. Crossed the river on a ferry and went to see the prefect. He wasn't there due to a parade in town but his secretary was very friendly and signed our order of mission. There was also a woodcarver there who showed us some of his work. I bought a candlestick holder in the shape of an antelope and Elysé bought 2 small wooden masks. We then found out that he was Mpiemo (the language we were interested in) so we invited him back to town with us and had an interview with him and another man in a café. We were primarily interested in where we could find Mpiemo villages. Afterwards we went and found an auberge and took 3 rooms. Dan then went to scout out fishing possibilities, Elysé heard someone in the street with a radio and realized his wife Chantal was doing a radio program, so he went looking for a radio to listen to. I sat down under the paillote writing letters. For dinner we went to a little restaurant, I had macaroni and meat sauce and the others had plantain and meat sauce. Went to 
bed around 2100.

November 26, 1995 7th day

Went to Sango church service and didn't understand a word (Elysé translated occasionally). Dan introduced us in Sango which brought applause from everyone (for his ability in Sango). After church Dan stayed in town to watch a showing of the Jesus film in Sango at a small video room. The afternoon we went down to the river and Dan and Elysé took turns fishing with Dan's pole. Nothing was caught!

November 27, 1995 8th day

Did SRT testing among 40 children at a school in Nola. Did CE1 class in the morning and CM2 in the afternoon.

November 28, 1995 9th day

Arrived at river at 0730 and took ferry across at 0800. Arrived in village of Bilolo at 0915. Found out that school is not in session due to the national holiday the 1st of December so we went directly to the chief and did a group interview, recorded a story in Mpiemo and did 7 SRT's with volunteers. We also talked with leaders from the Baptist and Catholic church and then left village at 1500. Drove 40 km to the village of Satuba and arrived at 1700. Since it was so late they suggested we sleep in Salot (10 km down the road) and come back in the morning. So we went to Salot and stayed in an auberge which is part of a big lumber company. Talked with several French men who arranged the housing, they were very nice. Had dinner of hot-dogs and bread, had hot bucket showers and went to bed around 2100.

November 29, 1995 10th day

Woke up at 0500 because the lights in the room automatically came on but stayed in bed till 0530. Tried to make radio contact but was unable. Went back to village of Satuba at 0830 and did group interview and while Elysé did some SRT's with volunteers, Dan and I translated the story from yesterday with the help of the men. We also talked with some of the leaders of the Baptist church there in town. We then drove back through Salot and headed for Nola in another direction. Decided to investigate one more village farther south, looking for a language called Mpomo to see if they could understand Mpiemo. Drove as far south as possible and came in sight of Congo on the other side of the river. The people in that village told us that the Mpomo live mainly in Congo. We then headed back to Nola and arrived around 1930. Went back and got rooms at the auberge, cooked up some fish someone gave Elysé in that last village and went to bed.

 November 30, 1995 11th day

Woke up at 0600, tried radio contact but unsuccessful. Went and saw pastor of a Baptist church at 0745 and talked with him about the possibilities of restarting a Mpiemo language project (the Gospels were translated some years ago by a Swedish missionary). We then went looking for the woodcarver because Dan had ordered a piece but we were unable to find him and so decided to forget about it. Left Nola at about 0845 and except for a flat tire about 21/2 hours from Bangui (in which we almost couldn't figure out how to access the spare tire) we arrived back home at 1900 into Wendy's open arms

First Survey Trip

1st Survey Trip!!

Oct 23rd, 1st day

Left Bangui at 8:30-was raining hard but luckily we stayed on paved roads until noon or so. It stopped raining at 10:00 A.M. Drove all day stopping in the middle of nowhere at noon to eat our sandwiches by the side of the road (there was very little traffic on the road besides an occasional passing pedestrian. We were continually passing small villages which would have houses on both sides of the road spaced about 20 feet apart for 2 or 300 yards and then would abruptly end. Had to watch out for chickens, goats and pigs who wandered on the roads as we drove through these villages. Arrived in the town of Ippy at 5:00 P.M and went to inquire about housing at the Baptist Mid-mission which is a mission hospital. There was only one mission family on the property at the time and they allowed us to stay in a vacant house where we each had our own room and bed (there were 4 of us). Having settled in we drove into town and had a dinner of Gozo (a pasty blob made from manioc which you eat by taking portions from a common bowl, rolling it into a ball and then dipping into an accompanying sauce of meat or fish. It is pretty good once you get use to it and don't mind eating from a common bowl. No double dipping of food though please! Went back to the house and electricity was turned off at 8:00 which is when we decided to go to bed.

Oct 24 2nd day

Left Ippy at 8:00 and arrived in Bria, a fair size town at 10:30. Roughly the same size as Accident Maryland. Went and presented ourselves at the prefect- told him our mission for being there. He was polite but not very interested in the work we were doing but did give us a letter of recommendation for presenting in the villages. We were lucky to catch him in because right after he saw us he left the office. After getting the letter of recommendation about 15 minutes later we went to the Catholic mission in town and asked if they could house us for a night or so. They were very nice and gave us 2 rooms with 1 bed each. 2 of us slept on the floor on mats and mosquito nets. The rest of the morning and afternoon we continued planning for the survey- reading past reports and deciding which villages to see. At 6:00 we walked into town and had a dinner of grilled meat on plastic plates that were used repeatedly without washing (as soon as you are finished eating, the plate is taken an put right back into the serving pile.) A little disconcerting but the meat was tasty! Walked back to our rooms and sat talking outside till 8:00 when the power was turned off and we went to bed.

Oct 25 3rd day

Left mission at 7:30 and drove 5 minutes to the river where we took a ferry across, a trip of 5 minutes. Usually the trip is free but we contributed a few thousand CFA to help cover the fuel. When we got to the other side the road quickly deteriorated and became almost impassable because of water and mud. We thought we had gotten stuck within the 1st 5 minutes, the vehicle was leaning over a fair amout and even though we got through, we were continually running into water and tough decisions about where and how to manuever. I was beginning to question whether I was cut out to be a surveyor. After about 10 minutes we arrived at a section of road which was almost completely underwater and we had to make the decision to go on and possibly get stuck or turn around. After much talking with some villagers and among ourselves we decided to turn around and perhaps try in a weeks time when it would be drier since the dry season was theoretically starting. The decision greatly conforted me, I decided that if I have a say in it, surveys in Congo we NOT be done anywhere near the rainy season!! Also, having a powerful winch on the front of the vehicle should be considered a necessity. We turned back, went into town and parked at the mission and went to a small cafe to have a warm coke and decide where we should go. We were looking for a fair size village of 100-300 people which had a school with all six grades. We decided on a village about 28 kilometers from Bria an a much better road. We arrived and sat down with the chief of the village and 12 or so other men and explained what we were intrested in doing. The school director was there and told us there were only 2 grades of students in the village but he told us where some villages were that did have all 6 grades and we also villages which had a majority of Togbo languages speakers, the language we were primarily intrested in. After spending about 90 minutes with the men we left and went back down the road and picniced at 1:30 on french baguettes, chesse and sardines (a first for me). We then continued on into Bria and out another road towards this new village. The road was good in places but in others very steep and rocky and I was surprised we were able to continue. It was only 10 kilometers to the village but seemed a lot longer. We arrived and again met with the chief and other men including one of the 2 school teachers and explained what we wanted to do. Sentence repetion testing (SRT) which is a simple excercise in repeating recored phrases to measure levels of bilingualism with 2 of the older classes of students, and a group interview with the people of the village. They agreed to this a we set up the testing for the next morning and interview for the afternoon. They then gave us a very nice house with 3 rooms and 3 beds to sleep in. I slept on the floor with an air mattress and mosquito net. After getting set up we sat out with some men. They were interested in Bible translation and when it would be done. A man earlier had said they would be praying that a translation was done in their language. We had to explain to them that this was only a preliminary survey and we couldn't say when or if a translation would be done in Togbo. There are 2 churches here, a protestant and a catholic. They both use Sango (the national language in the services). They brought us dinnner of ears of sweet corn just like back home except for no butter and gozo with a pork meat sause. Went to bed around 8:30.

Oct 26 4th day

Woke up about 5:20 and had breakfast of french bagettes and peanut butter and oranges. Went over to the school at 7:30 to conduct the SRT on Sango and French. There were about 80 students there and we tested 2 of the older classes which amounted to 30 students. Dan Duke took down the biographical info for each child. Elysé did the Sango test and I did the French. Jurg supervised. The student did quite well in Sango (2+-3 FSI) but less well in French. We finished about 11:30 and walked back to the village to picnic and rest. At 3:30 we gathered under a large shade tree where all meetings are held and did the group interview with about 30 men, 15 women and various children. It was basically done in Sango by Elysé and he translated when necessary. Many of the questions though we could follow along on the sheet and their answer of such and such a language we could follow. The questions asked about the level of comprehension of neighboring dialects, attitudes and use of Sango and thoughts about whether their language would ever die out or be replace by Sango or French. We also had them listen to stories recorded in various neighboring languages and they were able to understand all of them very well, indicating that perhaps one translation could be shared among some of these languages.

Oct 27th 5th day

Talked with Wendy on the radio this morning and was good to hear her voice even though it was badly distorted and sounded like a robot. Did some more testing of recorded languages and had 2 men record stories onto tape which Elysé then transcribed into French. When we were ready to leave we left them a packet of literature and scripture portions in Sango (a large majority of the people have a fairly high level of Sango, 3 or 3+ FSI or in other words about the level that I have in French) and a cash contribution for their hospitality. Drove back to Bria at about 10:30 and contacted the director of one of the 5 schools and arranged to do SRT testing the next morning with the same grades so we could compare the levels of bilingualism in a rural setting compared to urban setting. Went back to catholic mission to spend the night.

Oct 28th 6th day

Did SRT testing from 7:00 to 11:30 with 41 students, all went well and we returned back to the mission where we fixed a picnic of hot-dogs fried in oil with onions- the way Dan says all hotdogs are prepared! We had decided Friday afternoon that we would walk 18 kilometers to another Togbo village (along the same road where we had to turn back) since it has again rained and the roads are likely to be the same. The afternoon we spent preparing our bags- deciding what to take and leave behind. It looked like we would need 1 or 2 porters to help with our stuff.

October 30th 8th day

Left Bria with our bags I had my rucksack with a few clothes and bed sheet and mosquito net and my large black bag that had all of our food and a few other things. Since we didn't know if the villagers would offer us meals, the food was quite heavy. Arrived at the river and arranged for 2 young men to carry the black bag and a green army duffel bag. We each had rucksacks which we carried. They originally wanted 2000CFA and we bargained it down to 1500. After finishing the negotiating, one of young men picked up the black bag and asked what else he was taking. Everyone on the ferry laughed at him for wanting more to carry but we think he was a little embarrassed to be getting so much for carrying so little! Arrived on the other side of the river and began the march at 8:20. Had a good breakfast of Wendy's banana bread before leaving so were well fueled for the hike. Arrived in the village at 12:40 quite tired and sore. Met with the adjoint of the the chief and who offered us the school house to sleep in and who brought us water and an evening meal of gozo with chicken sauce. Bathed in a nearby stream and went to bed at 7:30. Was a little hard to sleep owning to soreness, a very creaky bamboo bed and very little padding and a rain storm which lasted much of the night but did get rested and up at 5:30.

Oct 31 9th day

Had breakfast of granola and baguettes and prepared for the SRT. At 7:30 the school teacher came and got us and we walked over to the other school building. We did testing with about 25 kids and then had lunch of gozo with fish sauce. At 2:00 we had the group interview which lasted until 5:00. The results were similar to those from the other village. After the interview we went back to the school and had a dinner of gozo with beef and sat around the campfire talking with the adjoint of the chief about diamond mining which is done in the region. Went to bed around 9:00, it rained again much of the night.

Nov 1st 10th day

Woke up at 5:00 with hope of getting an early start back to Bria to beat the heat but the rain was still falling quite steadily which held us back a little. At 6:30 Dan and I decided to brave the weather and get a head start so we could walk slower and take our time. Jurg and Elysé stayed to wait for the rain to stop and also do some additional recorded text testing, They left the village at 11:00. Dan and I took our time which was just as well because the mud was very slick and my shoes had no traction. My umbrella however kept me quite dry and it stopped raining at 9:00. We arrived at the river at 12:00. Our decison not to try the trip in the vehicle turned out to be wise, there were sections almost uindescribable you would have to see them in person to believe them. The hike was pleasant but my left knee started hurting me towards the end (from the injury I got in the running race last November). We waited for Jurg and Elysé under a shade shelter with a bunch of pirogue (dug out canoe) operators until 2:30. Went back to the catholic mission and prepared for leaving for Banugi the next morning..At 6:00 we went into town and had grilled beef, sticks of cooked manioc and a glass of hot surgary tea. Went to bed at 8:00. 

Nov 2nd 11th and last day

Woke up at 4:45, ate breakfast and was on the road at 6:00. Arrived in Bangui at 5:30 P.M Total distance 600 kilometers

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