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8th December 1992, Somewhere in Zambia (but not Lusaka) -

Camping there wasn't that bad except for the torrential rain which leaked into the tent a bit and threatened to collapse it all together. We got up extra early, for we needed to get to Mpulungu, the port town on Lake Tanganyika (the deepest lake in the world) by Friday to catch the ferry to Kigoma. The ferry only goes once a week and if you miss it it's a thirty six hour hell drive overland on the truck. We drove all day and finally arrived in Lusaka at about 4:00 p.m. Boz told us to go out into the city in groups of four or more because it's so dangerous, but the truck made the miraculous move of parking not fifty yards from the door of the United States Information Agency. You know what that means - NEWSPAPERS! CURRENT EVENTS!

Rich, Tom and I all headed over there and once we were inside it was an information frenzy. Rich grabbed the entire stack of International Herald Tribunes, the most recent being from 26th November (Thanksgiving) and started reading away. The three of us sat there for thirty minutes just sucking up as much information about the world as possible. We moved from the newspapers to the news magazines, but they were all a bit 'vielle', so we thought we'd go back to the truck to see if the others were back from food shopping yet.

We turned out to be the last people to arrive back from our "field trip" to the U.S. Embassy extension. We exited downtown Lusaka and ended up camping at this dude's house in one of the suburbs - nice house but not too much to do but drink and prepare yourself mentally for the next day's hell-drive. We weren't sure if we were actually going to make it to Mpulungu in time to catch the boat.

9th December 1992, Lusaka, Zambia -

We drove all day long. I resorted to drinking beer all day to keep myself entertained (which created a few more piss stops than needed) but we finally pulled into this Zambian village right off the main road to camp for the night. We played a few camp fire (Camp Noel Porter-type) games after dinner and demolished more than one rum bottle in the process, but everyone was having a good time.

STOP PRESS - KENYAN UPDATE The day Rich and I arrived in Nairobi was the same day the Kenyan Parliament had been dissolved. President Moi - dictator for the last twenty six years - was calling a free election to elect the new parliament. This was a landmark decision in Kenyan politics, for now the opposition, who'd been suppressed for so long, had a chance to get into the government. By the time we left on November 2nd the election date had been set for December 7th, but the opposition sued Moi stating they needed more time to her a candidate put together. The courts upheld the case so the new election date is December 29th - a few days after we're due to enter Kenya. The election results aren't due to be released until January first or second, and if they're not what the people (or the government, who has control of the military) want then who knows what could happen in a volatile environment like that.

Rich made the perfect statement - remember all the strife in Central America in the 80's and you would hear about these Americans getting abducted by terrorist groups and you'd wonder to yourself, "What were those people doing there anyway?" This is what these people are doing there - it's Africa of the early 90's! Here's a news clipping I found in the Times of Zambia dated 9th December 1992. "President Daniel Arap Moi said he would close Kenya's border with Uganda until after Kenya's first multi-party elections on December 29. Moi told a rally in Siaya, western Kenya, that the border would be sealed on Tuesday (Dec 15) on security grounds. -- Zana/Reuters."

We were supposed to be staying in Kumuka's compound outside Nairobi for New Year, but it looks like we won't e getting into the country at all. Kenya seems to have an incredibly volatile political environment right now anyway, so no matter who wins this election there might be trouble. The opposition wins and the Moi-ruled military might move it. Moi wins and the people riot over a fixed election result.

Here's another quote from the Times of Zambia from 3rd December 1992: "Washington - Kenya's plans for its first multi-party elections are seriously flawed and may be tilted in favor of President Daniel arap Moi, according to a report issued by the international human rights Law Group." It's not looking good and we might have to fly from Kampala, Uganda to Nairobi in order to catch our flight to Bombay. We're talking about going to Zanzibar for a few weeks (the other reported paradise place - next to Malawi) to kill time and let the Kenyan people mellow out after the elections. At this point we're playing it by ear - I'll call the Embassy from Bujumbura and my parents to get a better idea of what's going on.

10th December 1992, Thursday afternoon, Zambia -

We needed to be in Mpulungu tonight, or we might not make the ferry, but we had a lot of k's to cover so who knows if we'd make it or not. We left at 6:20 a.m. and drove all day long. It was definitely a long day - about twelve hours later it was pouring torrential rain and Jim and I were wrapped up in a blanket drinking Afri-Coco and vodka to try and kill off both time and the cold. We were nearing Mpulungu and you could tell. The terrain as so green and the canopy was getting higher and higher. We were descending from the plateau down to Lake Tanganyika and it was getting warmer.

At half past seven we arrived at our campsite - all of us tired from the day's transit but happy that we'd made the boat. After dinner we had a smoke Boz had sorted out for us which floored everyone and sent us into a deep sleep to prepare for our two day two night ferry ride up the lake.

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