Fieldset
A doctor in DRC: Along the Ikelemb river

Ludvig has recently returned from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this post, the emergency team are heading up river to reach an isolated community with an outbreak of measles, a highly contagious virus that can be deadly, especially for young children...

I am writing this on the boat while travelling east along the Ikelemba river. It winds through thick rainforest and then unites with the magnificent Congo River, which we left yesterday. Ikelemba is a hundred metres wide but is not marked out on Google maps - compared to my home country of Sweden, where even the smallest ditch is marked out.
 
We left Mbandaka yesterday morning. After a rather chaotic loading, we left with a couple of hours of delay. The first hours we went north along the Congo River, before we started travelling eastwards. Travelling on the Congo River is an overwhelming feeling. It's one of the world's largest and longest rivers.
 

When it started to get dark yesterday we landed at a small collection of houses along the beach. After some greetings with the chief, we were allowed to camp with our tent and we could get a meal cheaply (fish and "foufou", which is made with half cassava flour and half corn flour. As good as it sounds).

 
It was:
 
• Pitch dark.
• Hot and humid even after the sun has gone down.
• Mosquitos like in Sarek (one of Sweden's national parks)  in July, but the difference here is that the mosquitoes carry malaria, dengue fever and various other diseases.
• Difficult to breathe because of the smoke from the fire. All food here is cooked over open fire.
• Sticky feeling, because of all the sunscreen, sweat and mosquito repellent.
 
In short: last night and night was difficult. The good thing was it didn't last so long because my alarm rang at 4:10 PM. The journey continues today...
 
Well. Until we arrive, I can't do much more than close my eyes and listen to my downloaded podcasts.