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Larry Shaffer

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Congo Journey
Redmond O'Hanlon Writer
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This was in the Congo, the port at Brazzaville. They wouldn't know. These are open barges, and here people are setting down for the night. Now it's the most extraordinary sight. There are 3000 people, men and women, on these barges, with a big power block either side, tugs. And little balineers, fishing boats, getting a ride upriver. And 3000 people and no guardrails, no safety, no nothing anywhere. Big gaps between the barges, and as the captain said, 'Well, what can you do? Babies will roll over in their sleep and we lose two or three each time, going upriver.' And the other thing, perhaps, you out to know, is that there are 3000 people and two lavatories, or three, but one of them was locked by the purser, because that's where he kept his crocodiles, in there, to sell when he gets to the town upriver, and Brazzaville, when back in Brazzaville.

Yes, an education in itself, that was. Wonderful.

British author Redmond O’Hanlon writes about his journeys into some of the wildest places in the world. His travels have taken him into the jungles of the Congo and the Amazon, he has faced some of the toughest tribes alive today, and has sailed in the hurricane season on a trawler in the North Atlantic. In all of this, he explores the extremes of human existence with passion, wit and erudition.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Congo, Brazzaville, Congo Journey

Duration: 1 minute, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: July - September 2008

Date story went live: 11 August 2009