Into Africa

“We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.” 
 Desmond Tutu


I always smile when I read stories of explorers and their remarkable discoveries that changed the way we look at our world.  It seems that humanity judges progress by time, location and perspective. Before the explorers came, the rivers flowed and those who lived within their valleys had already discovered them.

In 1483, the Portuguese explorer, Diogo Cão, a renowned navigator in the Age of Discovery, discovered the Congo River, when he came upon a vast open water expanse that measured eleven kilometres across.  A man standing on a ship on one side of the river could barely see the slender blue strip of coastline in the far distance.

Diogo Cão did not recognize this waterway as a river; rather, he believed that he had come upon a strait that would lead him directly to the legendary kingdom of Prester John, a Christian patriarch and king alleged to rule over a Christian nation lost among the pagans.  According to the medieval legends, Prester John was a direct descendant of one of the Three Magi who visited Bethlehem, at Christmas.  Whoever found Prester John would see a kingdom that boasted the “Gates of Alexander” and the “Fountain of Youth.”

The Congo River is the world’s deepest river with gauged depths in excess of 220 m or 720 feet; it is the 9th longest river at 4,700 kilometres.  It is the 3rd largest river in the world by volume of water discharged ranging from 23,000 – 75,000 cubic metres/second for an average of 41,000 cubic metres/second.  It has the second largest drainage system in the world, covering approximately 3.8 million km2. The river and its tributaries run through the Congo Rainforest which enjoys a rich abundance of species, its size second only to the Amazon Rainforest in South America.

Diogo Cão found a greater treasure than the kingdom of Prester John.   Its value is beyond measure.

“When the last tree is cut and the last fish killed, the last river poisoned, then you will see that you can’t eat money.”
John May, The Greenpeace Story

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

28 thoughts on “Into Africa

      1. I am heading out for a couple of weeks on an adventure with my son and husband! I will be on the lookout for rivers!! I am glad that we have connected….


    1. I had forgotten about our dear Prester John, too. I have learned so much in these last few days…that is the joy of blogging. Your visits bring a great deal of joy to my day… 🙂


    1. I share your hope! In fact, I see a growing number of people raising the alarm and seeking solutions that are in keeping with environmental management. I see that we are at a tipping point….we can make a difference!!!

      “There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation.”
      ― Herman E. Daly


  1. “We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.” said Desmond Tutu.

    What great and beautiful words, as together they come at you from every direction to open your mind and you heart and your mind with such impact. I am envious of such poetry that says so much with so few words.

    Thank you again dear Lady for your brilliant choice and ability of choosing the like to make your point on this poignant matter of life giving water, whose natural system brings to us, so beautifully, life from its tiniest streams to its giant oceans. In spite of which man has sadly too often seen fit to redirect, destroy or pollute.

    Thanks to people like you carrying this important message of awareness, the chance may live to stop the destruction, and leave the remainder of nature’s beauty and nourishment intact. JJ


  2. “Then you will know that you can’t eat money” Nine great words that we must not forget. Again, fabulous post. A descendant of one of the Magi—Hmmm! Great (many greats) grandfather!


    1. I had forgotten about Prester John!! Always wondered about the name, given that he was a descendant of a Magi. I must look more closely into that story….


    1. And there are more stories of explorers yet to come. In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts that humanity has been given is “curiosity.” For it keeps us ever looking over the next hill and around the bend in the river. We are most satisfied knowing there is something more to discover….

      Thank you for your comments and presence!


    1. That is the word that I have been looking for – “respect.” These posts have reminded me that we have lost our respect for our environment – now we are seeing that respect and survival are closely linked. 🙂

      “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”
      ― John Muir


      1. Let us not forget it is the trees that give us oxygen to which they gratefully take our carbon dioxide, cleaning the air we continue to breath. And, rivers nourish the earth our oxygen giving trees live in. I have a deep respect for it all. Thank you!


      2. Well said!!

        “The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be?–it is the same the angels breathe.”
        ― Mark Twain, Roughing It


    1. Thank you for your comments. This series of posts have been a constant reminder that we belong to earth…

      “Earth, my dearest, oh believe me, you no longer need your springtimes to win me over…Unspeakably, I have belonged to you, from the flush.”
      ― Rainer Maria Rilke


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