31-Mar-2004 -- As flight crew member of Swiss International Airlines, it sometimes happens that I get a flight to Dar es Salaam, where we stay for 2 nights in the north of the city on the beach. The sea is tempting but sometimes I manage to leave the deck chair to do something more challenging than lying in the sun. Why not try to visit a confluence point?
After settling a price with the taxi driver, a flight attendant, her sister and me started the day with visiting an orphanage, where we left some baby clothes and gave some toddlers a warm hug or two, which they apparently appreciated very much. After that we moved on to leave the city of Dar es Salaam where roads quickly became dirt paths. I tried to explain the goal of our trip to the taxi driver, but he obviously did not see any point in going to a place, which you could not describe. All I could tell him was the direction (which at the end was basically given by the only road in the region available) and the distance to the confluence point as the crow flies. This was a problem, since he counted in road miles and I could not tell him those, as the road was winding. The explanation that we would have to make many more miles on the road than on a straight line was of no avail. So he was getting more and more angry and - of course - was telling us that he would loose money with the price we were willing to pay. In addition he said that he did not have enough gasoline to drive us there and back (4 miles/6 km from the Confluence!).
Since we had to fly back to Nairobi and Zürich on the same evening, we did not want to take the risk and ended the attempt. The decision was being supported by the judgment of the vegetation to be expected: the Confluence point was estimated to be about one to two miles (2-3 km) from the nearest road, in dense tropical forest. Where we stopped, there was a small gathering of huts and people asked themselves what we were doing in this part of Tanzania. Their mind lightened up when we gave them a bunch of shirts, which the village oldest distributed justly.