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October 8, 2003
|When we're sitting in a remote village, the first thing we think about is how to leave. Not so easy in such a faraway place. We won't consider backtracking on the road that brought us here, which is also the only road out. That option almost killed us the first time. The only other way out is to hire a boat and sail Lake Tanganyika.|
Probably 2,000 people live in Ikola village, yet it is small enough that everyone knows your business, especially if you're a tourist (they only see a few tourists per year). By mid-afternoon the entire population knows we want to hire a boat. The negotiations begin outside this centrally located dwelling, but the best price we can secure is $200, about $1 per kilometer for a ride to Kigoma, the major port of Tanganyika where we are assured of further transport elsewhere.
Ikola doesn't have any way to communicate with the outside world. We hire bicycles and ride 15 kilometers to the neighboring village, Karema, where we use the police radio to communicate with Mahale Mountains National Park, a place we may visit on our journey along Lake Tanganyika.
We buy our own ingredients at the market and carry them to the local restaurant. The cook whips up a delicious fish and tomato sauce with rice for the equivalent of thiry cents.