2004-12-03 / Travel

Warner M. Montgomery’s Adventure Travel The African Slave Trail Part 18: Hip, hip, hurrah!

As we approached the bridge over the Rio Pongo, we were met by armed guards.

Members of the 2004 Slave Trail Expedition Team were (l–r) Dr. Warner Montgomery (leader), Al Hassane Camara (guide), Sekou Ahmed Soumah (interpreter), Soumah Kerfalla (driver), Keita (Ministry of Tourism, Dr. Naby Camara (historian), Bah Oure (director, ERA/Guinea), Fofana Moussa (son of chief of Farenya), Sekou Camara (son of Dr. Camara), Dr. Jim Fisher (leader) Members of the 2004 Slave Trail Expedition Team were (l–r) Dr. Warner Montgomery (leader), Al Hassane Camara (guide), Sekou Ahmed Soumah (interpreter), Soumah Kerfalla (driver), Keita (Ministry of Tourism, Dr. Naby Camara (historian), Bah Oure (director, ERA/Guinea), Fofana Moussa (son of chief of Farenya), Sekou Camara (son of Dr. Camara), Dr. Jim Fisher (leader) When the sun went down at its usual 6 pm time, I began to get worried. Here we were in the middle of nowhere with no flashlights, no tents, no provisions at all. Of course, we were on a main road with trucks passing every ten minutes or so. The problem with being on an African road at night is not wild animals, it’s reckless humans. Cars and trucks roar along without lights hitting whatever happens to be in their way. And it’s fairly common for drivers to stop and rob pedestrians along the roadside.

At 7 pm the lead trekker hollered, “The bridge, the bridge!” We had arrived at the new bridge, the first bridge over the Rio Pongo. We had passed under it on our boat trip up the river to Farenya the day before.

Jim Fisher, Dr. Camara, and I put our heads together and concluded we had accomplished our goal. We had walked the slave trail from Farenya to Boffa even though Boffa was another mile or two away.

The historic Slave Trail Trek Team stepped onto the bridge and were stopped by armed guards. Dr. Camara explained our mission to them, and they warmly greeted us.

I lined everyone up on the bridge and got one of the guards to take our picture. We raised our arms in victory and shouted, “Hip, hip, hooray! hip, hip hoorah!”

The victorious team held hands in a circle. Dr. Camara, who had first suggested the expedition two years before, announced, “We have walked the Slave Trail voluntarily today in memory of those who years ago did not.”

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