As we crossed I noticed for the first time there was a second higher cable just downriver from us, and I followed it to see a cage on the northern bank. It turned out that during the height of the wet season, the river current was too fierce for this little ferry and the cage is used to carry essential supplies on this aerial ropeway. Another five minutes across and our driver powered our car off and up the hill, and we slowly ambled up behind him to join some of our colleagues. Back went the ferry for the final vehicle. I wandered first up to the village then back down to the river’s edge, and was aware that the large convoy, almost a traffic jam for Tambakka Chiefdom, had attracted the attention of almost every child from the village. They both watched the ferry, which they were used to, and the assortment of people in their rich man clothes, about three quarters of them white. They would quietly stand near us, observing sometimes, but often just finding it a nice new experience to be close to some outsiders. Once or twice a little discussion would occur amongst them, maybe causing a giggle or a slap, but it was all very dignified.
The whole process to get the three vehicles across took about fifty minutes, including the original trip across to collect us. Stephanie was still stressed that we had a drive ahead of us but at least our fate was in our own hands and we battled ahead in the near dark. That last hour at the ferry had to be counted as one of those gems of a moment in Africa.
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