The third day, wrapped
in its fine mist, Wonotobo Falls, like an almighty out of tune radio,
wakes us again. Yet despite the discomforts and hard work involved in
passing this place, the whole crew is rising to the challenge. In the
face of adversity though, the last couple of days has emphasised to
us the frailty of our project.
Lying battered and broken close to the waters edge (a submerged track
that the tractor cannot pass) the job of repairing our only means of
transport began in earnest. With a cardboard box (!) and zinc plating
being tacked to its wounds we can only hope that the remaining rapids
are far less taxing. Aweiti, head-boatman and master boat-builder was
in his element. Calling on a lifetime of skills he directed the process
with a relaxed certainty that we'd be back on the water by tomorrow.
It seems ridiculous now that we even tried to drag our boat by hand.
As a consequence we have all developed a deep appreciation of our new-found
friend....the tractor ... and in particular its driver, Suresh, who
seems willing to take on anything.
Aside from the physical obstacles we're experiencing, new problems of
a far more unpredictable nature have begun to plague us. The technical
wizardry that makes this site possible has been posing all sorts of
mysterious problems. Mirroring the anxieties of watching our boat twist
and crack on its path back to water, Max has spent countless stressful
hours peering at the computer screen in search of a successful 'upload'.
Just as we are not jungle-trained commandos (far from it!) neither are
we computer programmers.
The end of the day brought with it a twist of good fate. A captain from
Kwamalasamutu, the destination of our journey, arrived in the camp.
He has been sent here by the Granman (paramount chief) to found a new
village, a sort of stepping-stone for the Trio tribe, on the way down
to the coast. He's looking for a lift for himself and his outboard back
to his village. This is double good luck. Firstly he had heard of us
down-river and has radioed ahead to Kwamalasamutu informing the Granman
there of our planned arrival. Secondly, we have had apprehensions about
our reception at Kwamala' and what better way could there be to arrive
than in doing one of their captains, on a mission for his Granman, a
favour. It is extraordinary to think this could not have happened had
we not got so stuck here.... Every cloud....
The Damage Done
Marcell and Michael on