Returning is only over when you are back at a place you recognise as home, waking up in a bed that remembers how you like to spread out at night, for more than a week. By that yardstick, I’ll be home on Wednesday and you will get delicious audiovisual treatery soon after. For now, though, a brief storytelling interlude via some quick stats written on the dirtiest back pages of my journal.

Delicious beans eaten. So very, very many. I miss them so. These fine specimens from a market in Fort Portal. Where there were, alas, no portals. Only very fine tea.

FARDC roadblocks run: 2

FARDC roadblocks screamed ‘bonjour’ from: 1

Bribes paid: $0

Km driven on a small Indian motorbike: 45

Rides in UN vehicles: 1

Vegetarian burgers eaten: 1

Cost of a night in a Bunia ‘hotel’: $25

Cost of a night in a real hotel: $65

Nights spent in a real hotel: 0

Cost of a night in a cheap Bunia hotel: $10

Probability that the cheap hotel was a brothel: 100%

Immigration stops: 2

Nutella found: 1

Nutella found to cost: $6

Wheels of cheese found: 1

Wheels of cheese found to cost: $8

Average litres of water drunk in a day: 4

Average miles on a valuable used car from the US: 500,000

Average miles on a valuable used car from the DRC: 50,000

Cost of a 1.5l bottle of water: $1

Cost of a beer: $2-3

Primus beer labels collected: 10

Total video and photo material returned with: 600Gb

Great memories returned with: so bloody many.


  • Nutella found! That’s one of my constant travel goals. I’m moving to South Korea, and I’ll be blogging about it like I did for Chile. Thanks for continuing the beautiful blog.

  • I’d be fascinated to know how – like Coke and beer – that stuff manages to arrive in corners of the world that haven’t yet worked out potable water.

    Safe travels in Korea! I can’t wait to read your stories!

  • Eileen

    Love this. Got a lot of good quantifiable things there. I think that’s about the price of a jar of Nutella here as well, though I couldn’t be sure. Looking forward to more!

  • Richard

    Ouch. It’s a pity Nutella is just so damn delicious. I can (and shamefully, have) sat with a spoon and a jar of the stuff and just ploughed through it in the past. *hangs head in shame*

  • I’m curious to know how a wheel of cheese (or a jar of nutella for that matter) becomes ‘found’! I imagine if I were in the DRC with a block of cheese I wouldn’t let the damn thing out of my sight.

  • Richard

    Strangest of all, I have a sneaking suspicion that, unlike the nutella, the cheese may actually have been made there. As for the nutella, I practically slept with it for the short span of time that it lasted between purchase and me frantically licking the inside for the last flavour, like some obsessed labrador might do with a jar of peanut butter.

  • I think the cheese came from Goma. Living in Beni that’s where we get it from… And since it cost so much, I can only imagine that’s where your overpriced wheel of (not so great, I’d wager) cheese came from!

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