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Thursday, January 24, 2008

South African Aircraft

I took this photo last when I was at Beni. One of our C 130 Hercules cargo aircraft happened to be there on the day.

Bon Voyage, Doc

Capt (MD) Thabo Makgabo (right) recently left us as his tour of duty ended. I would like to say that we already miss you, Doc. If you ever decide to return your room is open. I do not think I have ever met a more humble person in my life and your wisdom was something I could rely on. Au revoir, my friend.

Our Water Source

Just outside Lubero is this strong-flowing natural fountain from where we get our water. Every day our engineers drive to the source and bring the water to us. Just before this photo was taken I was drinking the water directly from the source.

Sunday Lunch

We recently decided to organise a Sunday Lunch at the Anderson Farm. Mrs Anderson and her helpers prepared this great lunch for us at $15 per head. It was the first good meal we had had since arriving in the DRC.

Local Soccer

The Delta Company soccer team (not the ones in blue) regurarly play against the Lubero Town Team. The last two games we lost 7-1 and 4-2. At least we are getting better. Maybe somebody could organise for some of the guys of Bafana Bafana to come over here to inspire my team?

Medical Support Rehearsal

One night when we rehearsed our base protection plan Rfn Kennie was used as a "wounded soldier" for the medics or as they are known now OECP's (Operational Emergency Care Practitioners) to practice their trade on.

Madiba Base

Near Beni is Madiba Base, the home of 101 Field Workshop. Near this base is another base named after a person well-known to South Africans; Mahatma Gandhi Base. MG Base of course is an Indian Base. It is probably one of the neatest bases I have ever seen.

Avenue Kayitanda

A street sign in Lubero.

New Toilets

Here Sapper Ramnarain (engineering corps) indicates one of the new toilets they have installed for us. When we arrived here in Lubero the only toilets available were the hole in the ground type squatting toilets. The Lubero engineers under Staff Sergeant Selaledi all deserve a mention for what they have accomplished in this base thus far with limited resources and almost limitless obstacles. Thanks to all of you.

Delta Company Sign

Recently our chaplain visited us and upon taking her to show her where we get our water from I saw a piece of wood lying there in the jungle that was ideal for using as the company sign board. The engineers fetched it for me and Sgt Tshabalala, Sgt Cloete, Cpl Human and yours truely set about turning it into the welcome sign for visitors to our company.

Friday, January 04, 2008

How Free are we?

I have swatted mosquitoes from Burundi to the Congo; been subjected to incredibly tense situations and eaten the worst food in the world. I have had rebels point AK 47's at me, not been paid the money I worked for and had my money stolen. I have been through sand storms and torrential downpours and I have made some enemies, but have made many friends.

As I sit here in the Eastern DRC I am losing weight, sleeping among rats and missing home, but somehow I can't help thinking how fortunate I am. I know that whatever happens to me I will be happy because that is the decision I have made.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Welcome to the DRC

Lt Sass on a Mamba Mk III. They were here recently. His grouping were travelling to another part of the country where they will be involved in supporting the FARDC (DRC Military) in operations against one of the dissident factions in this country. D Company wishes them the best of luck.

Ready for Action

Some members of D Company when we recently rehearsed the Base Protection Drill. We try to be ready for anything that comes our way.

Inspection Time

Thursdays are inspection time for D Company. Here Rfn Tsokolibane stands at attention while we inspect their tent.

Heidi Lubbe

Captain Heidi Lubbe is the intelligence officer of C Company. Her husband, Charlie, would have deployed with us, but could not and was withdrawn from this company. While she is here he may be deployed to Burundi. He is in the Technical Service Corps.

DRC Public Transport

This photo says it all. Note the live sheep tied to the back.

Three Boys

Maybe the main reason we are here? The children of this country are also the future of the DRC. May they be taught what they need to know to know to create a world inheritable to their children.

DRC Motorcycles

In Butembo I took this photo. All over the DRC one finds these motorcycles as it seems to be the main mode of transport. It is also the most common mode of taxi transport and when utilised in this role they are called "Piggy Piggies".

Christmas Gifts

A day or two after Christmas we received our Christmas Gifts from South Africa. It consists out of a picnic rucksack with cups, glasses, knives, forks, spoons, etc. inside. I would like to thank all those who made these gifts to us a reality.

Butembo Traffic

This photo was taken in Butembo two days ago. It is the largest town close to us.

Gorilla Statue in Butembo

As promised. Go to the website at