I’m not too sure what happened yesterday but somehow we have visas to enter in to Congo and that is the most important thing. 200 dollars, but it is well worth it, it’s quite a size taking a whole page in the passport!
It basically looked liked we weren’t getting in to Congo at all at one point yesterday, we had none of the paper work and very few ideas. However, with some excellent help in the UK and DRC we slowly assembled the required documentation to travel in to Congo. It took a while, well it actually took a whole day of ferrying between the Embassy and Kigali to get everything in order. I’ve never been so nervous, we sat around in the embassy being as polite, helpful and smiley as we could be to hopefully get in to the DRC. We sat and waited in reception and it felt like we were outside the headmasters office waiting to get a bollocking, my hearing had sharpened and I heard the tell tale sign of a big stamp being done I just hoped it was in my passport. Eventually our two little red passports came back and the woman behind the desk gave the thumbs up. So happy – I felt alive again, having been in this horrible trance of uncertainty.
I was pretty pissed off myself for not checking the visa situation sooner but it appears it had changed over night the day we were flying out. Last year I enter on the border to goma and it was easy peasy, not this time round. I would have been so frustrated not to be able to get in to the DRC and do the run. I had this image of us having to run up and down the Rwanda-congo border or even running a marathon in the congo embassy in Kigali!
It was a stressful day but we had some fun, we found a little café with a drum set and a guitar so me and dom ‘entertained’ the guests with a few numbers. I imagine when you might be reading this and the other posts that you think we are having quite a rough time, but it really important to stress that I’ve personally never felt so chipper and alive. Through all the lows, (there have been many) there have been so many great memories that are really starting to shape me. Me and Dom spend a lot time just laughing and always trying to stay positive and upbeat, it is great having such a great friend who I’ve only known for 5 months with me. Feels a bit like two books leaning on each other for support.
I still pinch myself a bit when I think back in November I was only going to run the London marathon, now I’ve completed so many. I can and I can’t believe that people are interested the drc. There was a line in the Kigali memorial centre which has really stuck with me and given me a real boost for what I’m doing – “to save just one life, is to save the world”. I hope that all this maybe gets it moving along and to a peaceful resolution.
I could never imagine how this year would pan out, but it keeps going from strength to strength and the hard work hasn’t even begun yet but I just want to do more. I have a few ideas brewing in my head at the moment about how to take this to the next level, but I’ll keep them under my ginger hair for now.
If this has got you interested and you want to know more then there are some great books on the drc and Rwanda which you might want to read
Shaking Hands with the devil
We wish to inform you that tomorrow you will be killed with our families
In the footsteps of mr Kutz
Wizard of the Nile.
All worth a read if you are looking for a book for your holiday!
Off to Bukavu on Monday, run on Wednesday.
All the best,