Bob's Facebook Status Updates during Congo Tour 2011
"Spending MLK Day packing for the Congo.” January 17: "Friendly Planet Missiology appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal. To quote The King's Speech: "That makes it official."
"Indianapolis International Airport. smooth check in. Thanks, Robbie."
January 18: "On my way to see the new nursing school go up."
"London Heathrow. 6 in the morning. Will go see David Livingstone at Westminster Abby as soon as the sun comes up. Flight to Lusaka 6:00 this evening."
"Good day at Westminster Abby. Morning prayers at the Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor and afternoon Eucharist. and David Livingstone."
"Mind the Gap."
January 19: "and for all the Doctor Who fans out there, I located the factory where the Cybermen were built."
January 20: "Arrived this morning in Lusaka. At Taylor and Stuart's."
Bob creates FB photo album "Zambia 2010"
"Packing/repacking/repacking panniers for 2,000km ride/cruise. Bike at Zambikes for tune up. Fresh tires. New brake pads."
January 21: "ZamBikes is our new supplier of bicycles and bicycle ambulances. Made in Zambia for the African market. Just ordered a bamboo frame for myself. You'll see it on the back roads of Indiana this summer."
Bob posted on Friendly Planet blog "Wesminster Abby"
January 22: "The team is gathering"
"Successfully downloaded ebooks on my Nook for my trip into the Heart Of Darkness, including The Heart of Darkness, the Bible, War and Peace, research on David Livingstone from University of Toronto and University of California, 2 French books, a bicycle maintenance book. Our local Barnes and Noble said it couldn't be done. To quote Paul Simon: "Lasers in the Jungle."
"Pouring rain in Lusaka. (warm) Our Sunday meeting with the district superintendent and the Bishop's assistant may be delayed."
"Bicycle completely disassembled and packed in hard case. Traveling with the Lusaka District Superintendent as far as the Copperbelt in the morning. Still working on a plan from there, across the border, to Lubumbashi."
"Will have to stay up all night to watch NFL Championship games. Stuart and Taylor have Armed Forces Network. It's already 7:30 pm here."
January 23: "10:30 and watching the Bears and Packers on Armed Forces Network in Lusaka, Zambia. Will be off the grid for the next two or three days, until I can get on Vodacom and Zain."
Bob posted on Friendly Planet Blog "With a Little (a Lot) of Help from my Friends"
"Crossed the border at Kasumbalesa. Mulongo met us there. The bicycle case and camping equipment were cause for curiosity, but no real problem. With hundreds (thousands?) of tractor-trailers, Kasumbalesa is an incredible picture of organized chaos. Unfortunately, no photos. Camera stays buried deep in my backpack."
Bob created FB photo album "Kafakumba"
"Back on the grid via Vodacom."
"Comfortable in the Methodist Guest House in Lubumbashi. Mama Odia sends greetings to all. The team is coming together and essential business is getting done before we set out for Tenke. Rev. Kora and Elephant are here and Shabana and Prospere are going to meet us in Tenke, coming down from Kamina on a motorcycle. Mulongo is solidly in charge of the adventure."
"Two day journey from Lusaka toLubumbashi. Could make it in one day, but timing at the border crossing is critical. We laid up at Kafakumba Training Center (John Enright's). The Bishop's Assistant in Zambia, Robert Malimba hosted. Got a chance to talk with John, as John is famous for: politics, theology, and the poison of international aid."
"Tenth of the way through War and Peace. Tolstoy is better than TV."
January 26: "Successfully filed Indiana Secretary of State Entity report for Friendly Planet Missiology, Inc. from Lubumbashi. Let us show you how to run a global business from the heart of Africa."
Bob creates FB photo album "Dinner at Rev. Maloba's"
January 27: "Send a friend request to Rev. Joseph Mulongo to follow his updates on the bike/boat adventure he is leading Dad (Bob Walters) on through Congo's interior over the next two months."
"Arrived safely in Tenke. Pastor Masimango met us with a team of church members. Short 7 kilometer walk from the road."
"Masimango, Mulongo, Kora, and me. 4 pastors walk into Tenke rail yard. Shades of Kelly's Heroes or Buckeroo Banzai. Confident, out to challenge the world. "On a mission from God." (Elwood)"
January 28: "No electricity in Tenke. Don't know when it'll return, so netbook sessions short. We have a full week's schedule in Tenke District including two Sundays. Kora will preach here this Sunday and Mulongo and I will be riding 40km and spend the night at another church. Then I'll preach here next Sunday with baptisms and communion. Someone is coming from the States to distribute Kiluba Bibles."
Bob creates FB photo album "Tenke 2011"
January 29: "Team from Katanga just won the Africa's Cup today, beating a team from Morroco. This is Africa's Premiere League. Parsonage packed around a small TV running on generator. Would have made a great CocaCola commercial, if we had a Coke."
Bob posts on Friendly Planet Blog "Be a Pastor"
Bob creates FB photo album "Dikanda"
January 31: "just returned from a 104 kilometer 2 day out and in to Dikanda. Most productive 2 days of my missionary life. Great churches, district cluster meeting, two full worship services including communion, 19 baptisms, several home blessings, visiting the sick. Being a pastor among some of the best pastors in the world. What a team! BTW We rode 104 kms on our bicycles between appointments. Pics to follow."
Bob creates FB photo album "Tshilongo 2011"
February 1: "It's Tuesday and we're still not finished with Sunday worship. Rode up to Tshilongo today for church. 7 baptisms, 3 babies and 4 young adults. The 4 young adults plus 3 were confirmed, communion. After lunch, rode back down in the rain and mud. 30 km round trip. It's pouring rain in Tenke now."
Bob creates FB photo album "Kandu Sud"
"Pastor Kora and I with a team of 5 rode down to Kando Sud today. (25 km) Serious mud. Kora: It's better to ride in the rain than after the rain. Sunday continues. We'll over night here and worship with Mutaka tomorrow on the way back to Tenke."
February 2: "Worship at Kando Sud was held in the school because the church does not have a roof yet and we were starting at 3:00. Avoiding the afternoon rains, which did come. The school classroom was packed with people. It was a sauna. Pastor Kora made reference to the "fiery furnace."
Bob creates FB photo album "Mutaka 2011"
February 3: "Reporting the number of baptisms does not communicate the depth of these services. Wish you could have heard the testimonies of the mothers at Mutaka."
February 4: Bob posts on the Friendly Planet blog "Coming Blogs and Books"
February 5: "About half way through War and Peace. What soap opera! I knew Prince Andrew wasn't dead. So happy Natasha didn't marry Boris."
Bob created the FB photo album "Sunday Feb 6 at Tenke" and "Packed"
"Packing up for hitting the road tomorrow morning."
February 6: "Cameroon beat DRC today 2-0. Crowd has left. Guess football is over for the day. ;)"
"We're hitting the road today. Will be on battery for 5 to 7 days and catch as catch can cell coverage."
"Took short cut through Tenke-Fungarume Mine. For safety and security reasons, the mine does not allow foot traffic through it's property, but it does provide a yellow school bus for those whose farm plots are on mine property. So we threw our bikes on the bus. Net result is that the bus took us up the mountain, then we rode our bikes down."
February 7: "Safely arrived at United Methodist Seminary at Mulungwishi."
"At Lwambo turning north. Goodbye National Road."
February 8: "Fungarume is a wild west mining town. Hassled a bit by the local chief of police over my passport. Kora played the "These are not the droids you're looking for." and we passed on."
February 14: "arrived safely in Mulongo. Much to report. Great ride over the Mother of All Mountains. (Really, that's what it's called.) 720 kms ridden."
Bob created FB photos albums "La Route Rouge" and "Kyubo"
February 15: Bob posts on the Friendly Planet blog "Water and Rocks"
February 16: "Visited the nursing school site this morning and the boat this afternoon. Great day! Went out on the lake for a little test ride. (Having trouble with fb and pix today.)"
February 17: Bob creates Facebook album "Nursing School" and "The UM Indiana"
Bob created Facebook photo album "Mulongo District Leadership Seminar" Commented: "The Leadership Seminars are a follow up to last year's listening sessions. They're based on the pedagogy of Paulo Freire and reflect back to the community its generative themes in a way that they can begin to struggle productively with them. This is the year of women's literacy, safe water, and roofing for churches."
February 18: "Mulongo and I go to Malemba tomorrow (by motorcycle) to get permits to navigate the Congo River down to Kabalo. We're now running a real shipping operation on the Congo. Read "Heart of Darkness" or watch "The African Queen" to join us."
February 19: "Putting War and Peace on pause. It's 1812, Napoleon is 40 miles from Moscow, and Princess Mary has fallen for Count Rostov. Didn't see that one coming!"
February 20: "Lost ten pounds in sweat today in worship. Hot, crowded and the preacher went on and on. 130 baptisms take a while. Plus a brush arbor service in the evening, a 5 km bike ride to it, and 61 more baptisms. Had no idea this is what we'd be doing on our way to Kabalo."
Bob posts on Friendly Planet Blog "Safe Drinking Water and Baptism"
"The UM Indiana pulled into Kabalo this morning. 3 days on the Lualaba. (Congo River) Unbelievable adventure. We all go to work tomorrow."
February 23: "Meeting up with Pastor Jacqueline Ngoy in Kabalo is the 2011 equivalent of Stanley finding Livingstone. Except we hugged."
"No connection for two days. Only one bar today. Can't get to messages or pics.."
February 25: "Last night met young man (local Congolese) who is working with Swedish NGO to clear land mines in the bush around Kabalo. He said he was working about 18 kms outside of town. Funny, we're riding out to visit villages about 18 kms out of town today. Saw him twice today. Reality check."
Bob created fb photo albums "On the Lualaba" and "Kabalo"
"Visiting with women's ministry and pastors today. Kabalo is in horrible shape and these pastors are doing a remarkable job. Worthy of our support."
February 26: "One bar on the Vodacom and no electricity to recharge battery. Have 900 pictures, some worth paying for. Did use the Flip to record women's stories. Nightline stuff."
Comment by Rev. Mulongo: Do you know the name of a UMC pastor who made 310 baptisms in one month?? Be a Pastor!
"22 baptisms today, most of the youth choir. With heads still wet, they sang a song of their baptism! Bathing water is so precious here, that the meaning of baptism is taken to a new level...Impressed by all the female pastors who are following us in Kabalo. One of the villages we visited Friday even has a woman chief. We're thinking of a women's boat lift to Kabalo. Anyone in?"
February 27: "District Administrator (head of local government) stopped by for lunch and to discuss my sermon. A pastor (another denom) was talking about waiting for God's blessings when the admin went off on him. Now is not the time for waiting but for working. My new best friend...He has already kicked an NGO out of town for taking work (Coltan mining) away from locals. Maybe why we received a cold welcome from him originally. Like this guy....NGO's get invited in order to keep most of the profits in the community. Evidently this one wasn't."
February 28: "Leaving this morning at 6 for Mulongo. 3 days on the river"
March 3 [posted by Taylor]: "Joseph Mulongo and Bob Walters called this morning. The team is back in Mulongo. Lots of stories to tell but no internet at the moment. Dad rode his Cannodale touring bike so hard that the frame cracked!"
March 3: "Boat trip back from Kabalo met with a Warlord and and his #2 shooter (woman)...It was quite intentional. The Bishop has instructed our pastors to be pastors to all and build peace. These are Mulongo's "friends."...The warlord's daughter is attending the nursing school and Chanti (#2) is considering enrolling. Mulongo hasn't got her to church yet, but she did attend the big peace conference in Kamina."
"We had missed the warlord going up to Kabalo, but he insisted we stop on our way back. An offer we couldn't refuse. It got late and he was still out fishing. His #2 insisted we wait. It got dark and we have no lights for being on the river at night. The meeting was worth the wait... Mulongo has nurtured a pastoral relationship with the warlord and his militia. That is how UM pastors are building peace."
"We also stopped to visit one of the most powerful chiefs along the river. You'll have to buy the book to get this story."
March 4: "Have finished War and Peace. 4,000 pages of Tolstoy: history, soap opera, and theology. Already missing Pierre, Natasha, Prince Andrew, Princess Mary, Nicolas, Sonya, and of course, Napoleon and Alexander."
Bob creates on Facebook the photo albums "Kalumbula" , "Landmines and Warlords" , "Kabalo District" and "Centre Church, Kabalo"
March 6: "Women's Day at church this morning. Very old and very wise woman gave sermon on the story of Abagail from 1 Samuel 25: "Where Women Find Wisdom when their Husbands are Wrong."
March 9: "Motorcycles to Malemba."
"Visited health center in Mwanza at 6am this morning and then came down the mountain past the coltan mines, men digging with ax and shovel, and saw truck load of coltan crossing the Congo River on a ferry paddled by 24 men. Reminds one of the brutal days of the wild rubber trade in Congo, Africans sweating in the hot sun for nothing, digging a mineral that makes someone very wealthy."
"Drs. Serge and Ivan were just working on a difficult case of fistula this morning."
Linked article on fistula
March 10: "If we can find the fuel, we'll be headed south over the mountains tomorrow in Dr. Ivan's Land Cruiser. One or two days to Tenke."
March 12: "Waiting for the truck carrying our fuel to catch up before leaving for Lubumbashi. Dr. Ivan is taking the UM/Indiana out for a couple days to visit the health center he is building in Kabumbulu."
March 13: "Heard very good sermon on Matthew 24, The Little Apocalypse. People Get Ready. Leaving at 4 in the morning for Mulungwishi. (no Daylight Saving Time here.)"
March 15: "In Mulungwshi. Gorgeous drive over the mountains."
Bob created FB photo albums "From Kincha to Mitwaba" and "Tenke District"
March 16: "In Lubumbashi."