When we think of a 400-mile road trip, most of would consider it a 2 to 3-day journey in the worst-case scenario. We would pack up our motorcycles, cars, or trucks with everything that we need and just hit the road. The biggest obstacles for us would probably be problems with the machines. If something catastrophic happens, and the vehicle is completely disabled, we still have emergency services that we can call to get us out of the situation.
But in the Congo, a simple 400-mile journey can turn into a road trip you’re not likely to forget. The trip can throw all sorts of unexpected and unpleasant, surprises at you. The roads could be bad or not present. You could get stuck in one place for days or have a breakdown that you have to fix with only what you carry because there is no rescue available. Now add to that a vehicle, a truck (lorry), which has already seen 434960 miles (700,000 km) and you’ve got the beginnings of this video.
This video by the YouTube channel Free Documentary is about one such lorry. It is on a journey from Lubumbashi to Bukama, 404 miles. Onboard for the journey are 20 passengers and a full load of cargo belonging to traders. The plan is to make the trip in 4 days, but two weeks after leaving Lubumbashi they have just covered half the distance to Bukama
The main thing that makes these journeys more arduous is that the lorry is overloaded on rain soaked dirt tracks. This means that any misjudgment and the lorry can tip over easily. As is typical with old and overloaded vehicles, the vehicle even suffers a breakdown when its rear suspension breaks off. The cost? Three days in the bush fixing it. They even reach a point where they get stuck in the mud and remain there for two weeks.
In the end, what should have been a 4-day trip covering 400 miles, took them nearly a month to complete. And that was just ONE WAY!