We’re really excited to be reporting to you direct from the beautiful heart of West Africa, taking you “with us” and the technical team as we transport our campaign equipment through 4 countries. Check in every day for fresh videos, interviews with the team, photos, and breaking stories. Please join us as we pray together for them! It’s a long and arduous trip.
Hurry up and wait!
What we were hoping for this morning, was that the customs agent we’ve been waiting for would arrive and clear us to move on. However, by 1pm, it was clear that it wouldn’t happen today. That has further consequences, because it is Cameroon’s Independence Day tomorrow, which means a complete ban on all trucks driving through the country for the day. It now looks like we may be stuck here for as long as 3 days, until the local festivities are over. This has happened to the team before, and we will just have to wait it out.
On a happy note, one of crew who was delayed because of his Cameroon visa was able to join us, to great rejoicing from the team. Now, if only the power would come back on! We have had no power for almost a day now, which means all our technology is fast running out of battery charge. It also means that there’s no water at our hotel, as they use an electric pump. We get by with buying small packets of clean water from the hotel reception, and pass the time with reading and enjoying each other’s company.
Please pray that we will quickly be given the go-ahead to carry on driving to Congo!
Watch the video for a brief introduction to Winfried Wentland, the CfaN Field Director.
Through the first border
It felt good to be making progress today, as we began with crossing the border from Nigeria to Cameroon. On the other side of the border, we discovered that we must wait for customs officials and a military convoy to escort us to Yaunde. We had time on our hands and so we spoke to a few of the local truck drivers about possible routes to Congo. They said that the road north of Gabon into Congo is drivable, and that would solve the visa problems we might have for our Nigerian brethren. The afternoon was spent on Google Earth investigating roads and making food. Just as the steak was cooked, a courteous military man informed us we could not camp at the border post, due to security issues. A small change of plans, and we ended the day checking into a local B&B with very friendly people, to sleep and await tomorrow’s new of the convoy.
Staying cool in the heat
Today began with an early start from the town of Ikom to the border. We arrived relatively quickly and by lunch time we had set up camp at the border post. Word arrived that the necessary papers were on their way and would be with us early evening. So, the crew settled down for a day of rest and relaxation. However, it wasn’t long before the tropical heat became suffocating, and it was a minor miracle when Jaco and Gary walked into camp fresh and cool, with the AWESOME news that there was a river not 100m from where we were. Naturally, the rest of us quickly made use of this refreshing godsend! In the evening, we cooked over the campfire, joking and laughing together, and went to bed early, well prepared to cross the border first thing in the morning.
A day of excellent progress
This morning, from the rooftops of our truck containers, were greeted with perfect traveling weather. We packed up our tents and were on the move just after sunrise, making great progress, only being stopped twice by the many police and military roadblocks that are a feature of travel in the area. The people manning the roadblocks always greeted us with big smiles at the news that we are spreading the Gospel and are on our way to Congo. Despite two flat tires along the way, we arrived in the border town of Ikom with enough time to get the tires fixed and to meet with the agent helping us across the border. The crew’s spirits are high and we ended the day with a roadside barbecue and stories around the camp fire. Tomorrow, we hope to be leaving Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, and heading into Cameroon, a nation known for beautiful scenery and great music.
THIS is why we need your prayers!
Yesterday at 8.30 am, we set out at last from the CfaN Lagos warehouse. Winfried gave a brief, inspiring word to the guys, and then we prayed together for God’s blessing on our trip. Negotiating Lagos rush-hour traffic in these huge rigs was exciting indeed. We made good mileage in the morning, until we were stopped in our tracks by an entirely blocked freeway. A tanker had dumped its entire load of fuel!
Three hours later, we were underway again, until one of the trucks suffered a breakdown due to a clogged fuel filter, a common problem in these conditions. Lawrence and Jako made short work of the repair, and the good humor was intact, as Lawrence smiled while sucking in mouthfuls of diesel. After one more stop (this time, thanks to a broken, aging air hose which was fixed again by these miracle-working guys) we drove the final few kilometers to our roadside stop. The exhausted crew set up camp on top of the containers and went straight to sleep. What a day!
Packing the trucks in Lagos
Today began with a fascinating and highly entertaining session around the breakfast table, as Winfred Wentland held our attention with story after story about his many adventures over the years of working for CfaN. From being held hostage, to sinking ferries and dodging arrest for deportation, the whole crew were spellbound. We found out that the other local crew members chasing visas were unsuccessful, but we are going to leave anyway with them and pray for intervention along the way. As we are definitely leaving tomorrow, we spent the day doing some food shopping, spares buying and money changing. The trucks have been turned around and everyone is very excited for 6:30 tomorrow morning. Brazzaville, here we come!
Watch the video to see us getting the trucks ready to go.
Making the final checks before moving on
Arrival in Lagos
After arriving in Lagos late last night, we got a good night’s sleep and were up early this morning, eager to get under way. Unfortunately, we were greeted with the news that some of the local crew were still waiting for visas, so we won’t be leaving today. But everybody took it in their stride and after breakfast we headed over to the CfaN warehouse. There is plenty to do, and the crew got stuck into more preparation, repairs and checks. The truck rigs are truly impressive pieces of equipment, and they are treated with tender loving care by the guys. Despite this minor delay, which is typical for a journey like this, everyone is in high spirits and really looking forward to getting going.
As for the weather, the tropical heat and humidity is inescapable! I had to wipe the camera lens every 5 minutes because of the condensation. It didn’t stop me taking a few minutes to talk to Marcus Ahrnke, who is driving a rig for CfaN for the very first time, about how he came to take the job, and what he’s expecting. (The video is in German, with English sub-titles.)
Ready, steady, go!
Here’s a brief video clip from Gregory Vandenberg, who is on his way to join the CfaN technical team as they drive our campaign equipment from Nigeria to the Congo. He will be updating us on their progress and their adventures along the way. Keep watching this space daily for exciting videos, photos and reports, and don’t miss a thing!