By Lyombe Eko - Iowa City, Iowa, USA
I have crossed many African rivers–both literal and figurative–but none of my many experiences prepared me to cross the Mungo river on a dugout canoe without a life-vest. It was with a heavy heart and a rather disorganized frame of mind that I arrived Douala on the evening of July 29th. It was about 5:30 pm. I set my sights for Buea, hoping to get there in time to take part in funeral services for my mother, who had travelled to the land of the ancestors a few days earlier.
A taxi driver at the Douala airport informed me that because of repair work on the Wouri bridge, taxis were not allowed to cross to Bonaberi. He offered to take me to the Mungo river crossing in his private car–at a hefty fee (about $30). Since it was getting late, I did not have much of a choice. I hopped into his taxi and we changed cars infront of the airport. We got to the Mungo river at about 6:45 pm. The skeleton of the collapsed Mungo bridge rose into view like a rotting elephant carcass as we approached the river.