Poor Prepping

“Standing in front of an empty rucksack, wondering which things could be useful on a boat, the future captain frowns and thinks: “why do I always start packing for a trip just half an hour before departure?” The future captain throws in another pair of socks and underpants, not his favourite ones cause there is always the risk they will end up on the bottom of the lake. In his backpack are no plastic bags (cause it’s illegal in Rwanda), no lifejackets, no boat experience, … that’s called poor prepping.”

 If you don’t have any experience with boats, water, paddling, etc. … preparing for a boat trip can be quite challenging. The first thing that should pop into your mind is safety of course. A big water mass can be very treacherous. Storms and big waves can come out of nowhere. It’s definitely not unlikely to capsize, sink and eventually end up in the lake. But safety was actually the last thing that popped –up into our minds.

The first thing entered my empty rucksack was a moka maker. There are a lot of dangerous in this big world, but me not having my morning coffee must be the biggest.

Being exempted from my 130 mg of caffeine (amount of caffeine in a regular cup of coffee) in the morning turns me into a walking hazard.

What I should have thought of first was not coffee but lifejackets! That’s why ended up running all over town 1 hour before taking our bus to Gisenyi, (our starting point of the boat trip) looking for a lifejacket. I finally found some in the biggest Chinese store in Kigali, T 2000, the Walhalla of poor quality plastic stuff. There was only one catch: after trying one on and taking half an hour to release myself from it, it was clear to me they were definitely children size, not suitable for grown-up men who don’t really have the posture of a jockey.

Another problem are plastic bags. It won’t help you keep your stuff dry if everything falls in the lake but it will protect your stuff against splashing water. However plastic bags are forbidden in Rwanda, so good luck trying to find them. The alternative is paper bags (plenty of those), but those don’t really have a good reputation when it comes to being water-repellent. So in the end we buy a 120 l water tank to keep our stuff dry. The reasoning behind it is simple: If it’s designed to keep water in, it must also be designed to keep water out.

These are the barrels I was looking for but the one we bought was bigger, which makes it float better, no?

When we finally catch the bus to Gisenyi, I’m pretty sure I forgot half the things that could be useful. I reassure myself with the idea that there are also shops in Gisenyi…

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