The Bridge

The bridge wasn't all that safe for foot traffic, let alone for a Toyota Landcruiser.

After leaving Wembo-Nyama with a full tank, we took the road to Emungu for Albert Shuyaka’s first Mass.  The road took us into the jungle, and we soon encountered a bridge.  It didn’t look too safe.  Many of the boards laid across it were not secure.  They weren’t very thick, either.  Our driver, André Omombo, asked all of us to get out.  The bridge was OK for human traffic — that is to say, it would support us walking across it individually — but would it support the Landcruiser?

Father Marcel prepares to walk across the bridge as André points out a loose plank.

Each of us (Father Marcel, Sister Harriet, Msgr. Nugent and I) walked across the bridge gingerly.  The boards creaked, but it was safe enough.  Then André gave it a close inspection.  He shook his head, then went to back of the Landcruiser and removed two thick planks.  He dragged them to the bridge and laid them across for additional support.  Then he got in the car and drove over the bridge.  The loose planks tilted upwards, but the bridge held.

The Landcruiser was able to cross . . . barely.

We got back into the Landcruiser and drove on to Emungu for the first Mass.  Bishop Djomo has a reputation for building bridges in the Diocese of Tshumbe.  Peter even called him “Pontifex Maximus,” Latin for the “greatest bridge builder.”  The stream we crossed obviously needed his attention!  Here’s a project, Bishop Djomo, that needs the pontifex maximus touch.

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