After 3 days of travel, the ASSP Project’s Malaria Team made it to Nyanga, where they will kick off their bed net distribution. Travel in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can be very complicated due to harsh terrain and a lack of infrastructure.
There are no flights directly to Nyanga, so the team flew their equipment via a cargo plane to the nearest town of Tshikapa, which is still a 6-hour drive through the bush to Nyanga. Many of the airlines in DRC are blacklisted by the European Union because of poor safety practices. Since there are no approved airlines that provide passenger flights to Tshikapa, the team had to first fly to Kananga, the capital city of Kasai province, where they spent the day preparing for 2 days travel by truck.
The team departed for Tshikapa early Tuesday morning with 12 newly hired field supervisors in tow. The trip from Kananga to Tshikapa is only 241 kilometers (150 miles), but because of the poor road conditions, the journey typically takes 8-10 hours. Thankfully the team had expert drivers and was able to make the trip in only 8 hours. Since there is no potable water in Nyanga, nor is there a place to purchase food, the team spent Wednesday morning in Tshikapa purchasing provisions, as well as all fuel needed for the distribution.
Just before noon the team loaded 14 boxes of cargo, three barrels of fuel, provisions and twenty staff members into four Land Cruisers and set out for another day on the road. The roads are very sandy and getting stuck is a common occurrence on trips like this. Fortunately the team made it to Nyanga with no difficulties just after sunset.