Livingstone Found in Epic Congo Quest!
May 20, 2011
Dr. Roger Smalley and botanist Leski Osmonov explored much of the Congo. Smalley’s journal is summarized below…
Part 1: Off to a rough start.
Departed from Luanda. Overrun by jungle fever and tsetse flies. 7 askari and 14 bearers dead. Expedition much reduced but we continued on.
Part 2: Much progress and good fortune.
Leski discovered several new species of plants: Arctotsis, Streptocarpus Rexi, Acidenthera, Ixia Viridiflora, and Okume. I cured a chief’s son of disease. Several hostile tribes were encountered but they either retreated or were defeated.
Dr. Livingstone was found…a guest of a tribe of natives and delusional. I introduced myself: “I’m Dr. Roger Smalley. I’m here to rescue you.” He didn’t want to be rescued but we had a productive meeting with him. He described the mountainous terrain to the south and east. (Livingstone represented on map by white square with tribe 36. )
Part 3: Perilous Return
Oh how I wanted to explore the rest of the Congo basin, but supplies were running low and we decided to return downriver to the coast and publish our discoveries while we still lived. Europe would be excited to learn that Livingstone still lived. We anticipated a pleasant journey but met the opposite.
Twice we encountered hostile tribes and were defeated. The first time, I made a stand with the askari to allow Leski to escape in a canoe with most of our supplies. I was captured but soon escaped and joined Leski downriver. The second time we followed the same plan, but I was unable to escape quick enough to join the botonist. How it must have pained him when I never emerged from the jungle and he had little choice but to leave me behind.
I escaped a month later with a musket and a monkey carcass the natives were preparing for meal. The meat soon rotted and I was left with nothing. I couldn’t depend on the musket for my survival so, when I came upon a previously friendly tribe downriver, I traded the musket for enough dried meat and nuts to last me to the coast.
Knowing there was a hostile tribe at the bend of the river to the north, I choose to cut across unexplored wilderness directly towards Luanda. My problems worsened when I came upon another unknown tribe. I had little choice but to offer them all of my possessions as a sign of my friendship. It worked.
I stumbled into Luanda several weeks later, carrying nothing and having lived for several weeks off of whatever bitter ferns and rot grubs I could dig up along the way.
The botanist was happy to see me.