17/9/89

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN We got up at 9:00 and had porridge for breakfast then I gave the chainsaw a clean and sharpen.

We sat in the bar for an hour and a half, then a guy called Phillipe arrived to measure us all up for shorts, shirts, trousers etc all to be made out of flour bags.

After lunch we set off with a guide to go and see Stanley Falls. We walked down to the river and all piled into two “pirogues” or dug-out canoes which took us across the swiftly-flowing water. We walked about ½ a mile up to the place where Stanley said the immortal words: “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”¹ The falls themselves are more of a big set of rapids upon which the natives have built a series of gantries to suspend huge cane traps in the rushing water to catch fish. There was a big crowd of natives there, fishing with nets and lines, washing clothes, or just sitting in the shade. There was a horde of kids running round asking us for things and saying “good-a-morning”, even though it was mid afternoon.

Fish traps at Stanley Falls (Photo: supplied)

We spent half an hour at the falls then walked back to the pirogues via the river-side village. The dug-outs took us back across the river and we walked back into town. We had a drink at a hotel while we were pestered by souvenir salesmen then walked back to the Olympia.

¹According to legend, when the explorer Henry Morten Stanley, who had been dispatched from England to find Dr David Livingstone, came across the missing doctor, these were his first words to him. In fact, the meeting took place on the shore of Lake Tanganika, not here at Stanley Falls.

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