Captain’s Log-11 February 2012-A Castle for Congo

On the banks of the Kabali and Dungu rivers stands the Dungu Castle. Notice the ONE lane bridge in the forground.

There are many incongruities in Africa and every time I fly downwind to land at the Dungu airstrip I fly over one.  There is a castle, yes, I said a castle, on the banks of the Dungu and Kabali Rivers. It often rises out of the misty morning ground fog so out of place I find it almost impossible to believe.
I guess the story goes that the Belgium Territorial Administrator, a man named Schollaeret, was tasked with the operation of building a bridge over the river Dungu.  Instead of building the two lane bridge that he was supposed to, he opted instead to build a one lane bridge and to build himself a 40 room castle with the remaining bricks.  It is a wonder, I can hear you saying, that a politician could do such a thing even in Africa, but there you have it.  It was 1942 after all and another time.
You can tell it was a thing of beauty in its’ day, although it’s now run down and covered with vines and creepers with trees growing out of the roof.  The UN has a base all around it now and the courtyard is full of lorries and Hummers.  And are those officers’ quarters by the front entryway?  There is quality workmanship to be seen and with the vaulted ceilings, large cut stone floors, arched windows & doorways and the parapets around the top, it is something right out of medieval Europe.  All right here in the back of beyond in Congo. Not far from the displaced people camps, humanitarian workers and LRA.  Amazing!

You can see the UN camp built up around the castle now. I will try to get some better pix from inside next time I am there for a while.  It is am amazing site.

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16 Responses to Captain’s Log-11 February 2012-A Castle for Congo

  1. Pierre Maes says:

    I’m 51y old now but when I was 9y I visited this place. We were living in Isiro and were going to visit the Garamba National park. After we moved to Gemena. The last time I was in Congo is 44 years ago. My father was working for Coton Zaïre at that time.

    • Jon says:

      Wow Pierre,
      Sounds like an interesting time in Congo’s history. There have been many changes and not all good. But Isiro is doing a bit of building now. We fly in there a couple times a week. You would enjoy seeing it now.

      • Pierre Maes says:

        Hello Jon. I wonder if ‘The club” still exist. This was in Gosamu. A little bit out of Isiro. There were cotton fabrieks from Coton-Zaïre. Before Cotonco. We were living there and my father designed the plans for it. There was also a bowling with one strip only. I can send you some pictures from that time but I don’t know how to put them here. Anyway, thanks to answer me. Mboté mingi 😉

        • Jon says:

          Hey Pierre, Amazing. A bowling alley. I would love to see pix of that. The buildings are still to the west of town. A little dam now. I don’t know if anything is going on there now. I think the owner of the last coffee plantation died last year. We used to get beans there. We will see how it goes now.

          • Pierre Maes says:

            Can I post a picture here? I have allot from that time. Otherwise I have a FB page on my name Pierre Maes living in Gingelom Belgium. Greetings.

  2. rosella says:

    this is where i was born and love my home town

    • jcadd says:

      Hey Rosella How did that come to be? Sounds like a good story.

      • rosella says:

        I was just good to see people commenting about my home town. i felt so proud and please if you people do know any thing about invisible children, please email as soon as possible because i am doing my research topic about them.

      • rosella says:

        To me it not like a good story because i lost my friend through this war and at my school we were asked to chose a topic and research about it.

  3. Ken Robertson says:

    I had heard about this “castle” after reading one of Mike Hoare’s books about fighting in a mercenary unit in the Congo back in the early 60’s. I thank you for the photographs and look forward to you posting a few more close up photos on your next journey.

    • jcadd says:

      Thanks Ken, Always interesting to remember back to Wild Geese days. Didn’t remember the mention of that. There is some very interesting African history isn’t there? Jon

  4. Owen says:

    I remember hearing that story from an MSF worker in Dungu last year. Only in Africa!

  5. Rich Carlson says:

    So glad that you enjoyed Valentines day with your honey. 40 is a great start. I feel the same way about my honey. The Great Commission Festival is coming up. I will make sure that your table is set up. I will greet the folks at Trail. Are there some specific prayer requests that I can share with the prayer team? Let me know. I am praying for you as the snow finally falls gently making everything white and beautiful just as Jesus did! Have a good and safe day. Rich

  6. Rich Carlson says:

    Dear Jon. I enjoyed your update. Great pictures. I signed up so I know when you add. I would like to keep the prayer team up to date. Had a good time with Josh and Audra during the lunch for them at the church. Several folks are interested on being on their support team. Please let me know how I can pray for you guys. How is your honey doing? Hugs and Prayers
    Rich Carlson

    • jcadd says:

      Hey Rich,
      Great to hear from you. It is Valentines Day and I am more in love with my “Honey” of a wife than I have ever been. I like that. Can’t imagine life without her. She is the best. We are talking about how to best celebrate 40 years together. So many possibilities. Glad you enjoyed our kids. Greetings to all there at TCF. Jon

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