04-Jul-2004 -- It was a sunny afternoon in Kigali, Rwanda, in the green heart of Africa, when Andy, chief surveyor of the Kigali-Kayonza Road-Project asked his colleagues if anybody had read the article in the German magazine "Der Spiegel" about these funny guys running around with their GPS... After chatting a few minutes about the article, we looked at a map and discovered that we were just staying about 20 km away from 30° East and 2° South. We checked the confluence-website and found that nobody had been there up to now. The point lies between the river Nyabarongo and a small road, a maximum of 1 km to walk. Unfortunately, Andy had to leave Kigali a few days later, so we could not go together with him, but he left us his GPS and on Sunday, 4 July, we started our confluence tour.
We followed the small road near the Nyabarongo river but were not very optimistic when we saw the landscape: Between the road and the river was a big swamp with 3 m high papyrus and sugar cane, and somewhere in-between our Confluence.
At 1°59'56.8"S 30°00'23.5"E we had to stop the car and started walking, first on a small trail, but after crossing 2°S we had to move right inside the swamp! We were lucky that it had been dry season without any rain for more than 2 months, so that the swamp was dry, but inside the sugar cane we could not see anything but leaves and leaves and trunks and bush, and the razor-blade sharp leaves cut our arms and legs. Without the GPS we would have been completely lost. We were not far away from the point, but it took us almost one hour to get closer, and everybody avoided thinking of snakes and other things we might face here, when eventually we reached the river. Here, the GPS showed 2°00'00.1"S 30°00'00.1"E and we were sure that it was close enough, but we wanted to see the 10 zeros. Just at this place was a fallen tree lying in the water, and two of us crawled upon the tree in the river, one with the GPS, the other one with the camera, being watched by a curious group of children on the other side of the river wondering what the crazy wazungu were doing there. But just on the end of the tree we found the intersection point!!!
It is quite a nice place, the brown muddy river meandering through the swamp surrounded by the green hills of Rwanda. No sound, except some birds and the laughing children splashing around in the water.
We celebrated our first confluence trip a few km away in a local bar at lake Muhazi with some warm Coke and beer and the freshest (still alive when we came) but also toughest chicken we ever had, which took longer to prepare than to find the point.