Canjala (a.m.)/ Benguela (p.m.), Angola

  • Date
  • 4 June 2000
  • Lodging
  • Hotel M'Ombaka
  • Distance
  • 62 KM
  • Total
  • 75949 KM

Last night we slept in our car at an Angolan military camp – not by choice but by decree. At first I was scared to death when the imposing general refused to let us pass on to Lobito. I speculated that he might detain us indefinitely – for money, belongings or whatever he desired. I also feared sleeping in a war target. Fortunately nightfall came quickly but during my sleepless night I listened to the young boy soldiers singing and laughing. These are the protectors against Unita. Carrying rifles, guns and rockets like children carry dolls, the soldiers did not appear ready for war. One officer wore only one boot and several others had on worn flip-flops. Some soldiers didn’t have uniforms instead wearing cut-off shorts and t-shirts.

This morning I learned that soldiers place land mines on the nearby bridge each afternoon: thus the closed road when we arrived around 5:30 p.m. the day before.