By Gus Browning, printed in 73 Magazines in 1967-03 reprint by PA0ABM Gus Browning story, Part 21 Kenya - 5Z4 The trip to Mombasa was very enjoyable, plenty of good food and plenty of good rest No/MM this time* the ship had a new wireless operator who knew nothing about ham radio, pins the fact he was new on the job and did not want to "take a chance", even tho I were willing and ready to get going from the ship. The rest did me plenty of good and I had time to get all my logs ready to be mailed to Ack upon my arrival in Mombasa, Good old Leny 5Z4GT and 5Z4AA met me at the docks when the ship arrived. 5Z4AA was way up in the Police Dept and a nod from him to Customs did the trick, and in a few moments all my equipment was in Leny's car and away to my hotel we went I spent only one or two days in Mombasa, did a little shopping down at the local market place— where all those carvings are— REMEMBER! I had nothing to trade them this time so I had to do it the hard way— by bargaining a few hours, even though I spent only about maybe $10.00 I got a big armfull of some FB carvings, I had found out how to "bargain" with these people while "drinking their Cokes", and I still think they love it, A few even remembered me being there before— One referred to me as that big business man from America, They never say the U.S. A.— You know they call us Americans, this is true in every country I have ever visited Not just Kenya. They were referring to my big business deal** that I had with them a few years previously when I traded all that "genuine plastic" jewelry to them, THEY WANTED TO KNOW DID I BRING SOME MORE! I 1 They all thought I was a "Big Deal" fellow. The evening's train was caught for Nairobi, you know it only makes that trip at night, I guess it's too hot to be made in the daytime, plus the fact at night they sell you a "sleeper coach ticket" and that puts a few more pounds in someone's pocket I suppose. Arriving back in Nairobi was sort of like coming back home, all the sights was familiar to me, even the taxi drivers with those LONG earlobes with the hole in them and the tall, Fez- sort-oflooking hats they wear. Good old George 5Z4AQ met me at the train and away to his home we went, outside the city limits of Nairobi a few miles. Right besides hole Nr. 5 of a golf course which had that sign near hole Nr. 5, saying, '^beware of the lions near hole 5" And don't think this sign is there just to be funny— there are LIONS around there, George said one night he saw five of them walking across his lawn. There are also hyenas there, George put a piece of meat on his front steps one night and about midnight there was that laughing hyena sound out on the FRONT PORCH, and there they were fighting over that chunk of meat George at that time was working with Kenya Television near Nairobi and he had the usual "understudy" following him all over the place when he was on the job. His understudy I think he said was "Kyuku," one of the natives of Kenya, George suddenly has left 5Z4 land you know for ZS land so I guess that 5Z4 fellow has stepped into his job. Boy I bet that Nairobi T,V. is not on the air 100% of the time. I guess being from ZS land (that's where George is from you know) is sort of tough on a fellow in 5Z4 land. Must be getting sort of tough all around now because Leny 5Z4GT, I understand will be leaving, I think next year for U.K. Sort of looks like all of them are leaving, Robbie is still there, had a QSO with Wayne Green W2NSD/1 from 5Z4ERR a few weeks ago. I wonder if he will be leaving one of these days? Maybe the day will come when 5Z4 will become a rare one? Maybe someone will have to go there to give the boys a new one some time. George told told me ALL ABOUT the situation when I were there, a very interesting story too. Time to depart for Ruanda and Burundi soon arrived and George took me down to catch the train. George's wife is incidently a good cook, fellows, hunt them up if you happen to get down to ZS6 land sometime, Tell em, "Gus sent me." The trip to Lake Victoria was only a few hours, I saw the ''Great Rift Valley" from the train. In fact the train goes thru the Rift valley , a sunken portion of the country quite a number of miles across in this portion of Africa. I understand this Rift Valley extends from down near Northern Rhodesia all the way up thru Africa, across Asia Minor across Iran maybe even into Russia. Maybe part of it is in Eastern Turkey where they had the big earthquake a little while back, It could be seen very easily from the train. The land had sunken down some hundreds of feet I would estimate. Arriving in Kismu on Lake Victoria the weather was extremely hot. Loading the Lake steamer took about four hours it seemed to me. The boat was full mostly of natives, some returning to their homes from working in Nairobi or maybe Nakuru or maybe even Mombasa. Quite a number of Europeans in their White suits also went on board. The steamer headed across the lake for Kampala, Ugunda. Taking about one half the day to get there. The ship was close to the land quite a while and many crocodiles were seen, even a few hippos and even some dozen or so wild water buffalos— that's those "mean ones" that you don't monkey around with at all Those are the ones you had better "kill" if you shoot at them or you are in for a lots of trouble, I was glad we were on a ship and they some distance away, even then they gave the boat a "mean look". The crocodiles just sank below the water and disappeared from sight Upon landing in Kampala everyone went ashore and we were taken to a nearby water- front hotel and told to have a drink on the house, some of us wandered out and walked around town, I picked up a few carvings and some native-made items. The weather w as too hot for me to walk all over so I headed back to the hotel/restaurant Stayed there some three or four more hours until we were told to go back to the ship. The little whistle tooted a few times and we were away for the Southern part of Lake Victoria. The ship docked at Mwanza which is in Tanganyaki. This was where I was to meet 9U5JH from Ruanda, He was to arrive late that afternoon. I was met at the docks by a VQ3 fellow from either Kanama or Shinyanga where he was managing a diamond or gold mine. He was originally from ZS land so I am quite sure he is not in Tanganyake at this time. He drove me in his car all over the little town and we had a very fine meal at a local hotel-restaurant and chatted until late in the afternoon when John, 9U5JH arrived in his 1959 Chevrolet which he had driven all the way from Burunda, All three of US had a big "eye ball QSO" for an hour or two, the VQ3 chap departed for his home QTH, John gassed up filling a few five gallon cans full of gasoline for the trip back to Burunda across unchartered roads with no filling stations and no signs of civilization at all were seen bv us as we drove to 9U5 land that night. All THREE SPARE tires was carefully checked, two spare cans of water was filled, a few extra quarts of oil were bought, and away for 9U5— Burunda we went Now don't jZet the idea that there is an "interstate I highway between these two places, don't f.*et the idea that it's even a paved road, or you will be completely wrong. This auto trip was nearly what you might call a safari. We were packed for a safari I would say. We had everything a safari has except "guns". Later on I sure wish we had a gun or two with us. This was going to be another of those trips I was to remember all mv days. Dirt roads all the way, not one single road sign and many many roads turning off to the right and left. All of them looking right to me, A few times we chose the road by refer ing to our compass. OH YES we took quite a few wrong roads. John could speak Swahili so we had no trouble getting back on the right road, but if you don't speak Swahili— Brother don't you dare make this trip or you will end up staying there all the rest of your life. No one we i net all the way spoke ONE WORD OF ENGLISH, and Brother this can get rough. Most of the natives were more or less friendly, but a number of them looked downright "mean" to me, not a sign of a smile could be seen on their faces. When you leave the town limits of Mwanza and arc out on that road a few hours, you know you are in "deep Africa", you smell it, you see it, you hear it, you hear in the distance the beating drums (this trip was an all night affair you know), even the stars sort of have that African look, the trees are a dead give away. You remember seeing those "flat top" trees in African movies? Well they are here, and I mean all over the place. Those darn beating drums are what got to me more than anything else, some sounded like they were saying bong, bong, bong diddy bong, others sounded like bang, bang space bang bang bang, All had a different sound and were beat in a different sounding way. I was thinking to myself something like this— "I wonder what those things are saying to each other". Because some of them were most certainly answering the other drummer's CQ. I wonder when they sign off do they have a certain thing that says 73? Those jungle sounds were sometimes frightening, at times smooth, and sort of soothing. I had been in the African jungle before a number of times between Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya and twice between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanganyaki, but I was in a bus along with about 25 or so people all the time and on at least a "marked road". You might say the other roads were roads that were traveled on by a good number of cars every day. But this was now a real "back country" road and lead us straight in the middle of real wild country— a part incident ly where Dr. Livingston went for supplies to Dar es Salaam and very definitely a portion was used by Stanley when he was hunting Dr. Livingston. This was an all night trip and half of the next day. You know wild animals are daytime sleepers and roam around at night. So doggoned many different kinds of anima Is was seen it's hard to remember them all, John (9U5JH) had along in his car a head light sealed beam light mounted on the end of a short handle with the end of its cord a plug that we plugged into the cigarette lighter on the dasboard of his car. When we saw a pair of eyes in the distance I would snap on the light and zero in on them and keep the light in their eyes until they disappeared into the jungle. Most of them did not try to evade staying in the light Many many lions, big baboons, antelopes, zebras, rhinos, elephants and best ol all quite a few big beautiful leopards setting up on rocks beside the road ready to pounce on anything that happened to pass their way. When we passed them you can bet the windows were rolled up. We did not want a leopard jumping in our car. These rascals usually would just set there watching the car as it passed. A few times we pulled up and stopped parallel to them and I kept the light in their eyes and had a good chance to look them all over, Boy t if we only had a gun along with us, Peggy would have had a few leopards skins towards a leapord skin coat. It would have been so easy to shoot them smack between the eyes and not even leave a bullet hole in their skin. But all we could do was just "look" at them from the safety of our car. Lions: this was their hunting grounds, they were to be seen at least every half hour. We would see from one to three or four, I mean right beside the road. They were like the leopards— not afraid of anything. The most numerous of all animals was those hyenas. Many other animals were seen. Many of them, not even John knew their name, some looked sort of like our American racoons and opossoms. My flash no pictures was taken I am sorry to say. Even a few very large snakes crawled across the road, probably pythons, This was the real African jungle and I was a little bit on the edge everytime we stopped the car t wondering if it would start again O.K. My only regret was that it was a fast trip without many stops along the way. After the all-night trip from Mwanza and driving all the next morning we arrived at Kitega, Burundi and drove a few miles from town to the home QTH of 9U5JH which was at a missionary settlement on top of one of those hundreds of little hills that you see in Burundi. As a rule the Eruopeans build their homes on top of these hills and the natives build theirs down in the valleys between the hills. The natives lived in typical thatched huts with many many banana trees all around their settlements. I asked John why all the banana trees, thinking they exported bananas, and he said they made Kinana wine from the fruit. He said this banana wine was very powerful stuff and that great quantities of it was consumed by the natives. We also saw quite a few tea plantations here and there usually on the side of the lulls. The temperature was not too bad on top of those little hills. Usually a slow breeze bleu during the daytime and at night it was very pleasant, late at night getting a little chilly, John had up a real nice 20-meter quad, maybe it was also 10 and 15 because it was of the center spider construction, His equipment was cleared from the operating table and mine was placed there and tuned up. I was on the air as 9U5JH, the band stayed open until about 3 AM and was open to everybody all at the same time* All my "Gus watchers" were in the pile-up and I had a ball with FB signal reports from everywhere. Nearly everyone saying I was a new country for them, which I doubt since John had always been quite active and many other 9U5's from Burundi had been on for many years. I am a firm believer that, "if you are the rarest thing on the air, you automatically become DX to everyone everywhere, and they will join in the pack just to be working DX. Of course this suited me FB because the bigger the pile the better I like it. A DXpedition wants big business, that's the reason there are DXpeditions you know. John filled up the coffee pot and told me how to heat up the coffee. Milk and sugar was on hand and everytime I got a little sleepy, to the coffee pot I went. John had a nice wife and she was a good cook so there was always plenty of good food there. My stay with John was one of those good ones. The kind you are always looking for when you get away from home. John told me many stories about what has happened there since he had arrived, lots of good ones about lions getting into native huts, gobbling up a few of them, then their lion hunt to get the "man eater". You can be sure these things do happen in deep Africa, they right now have lion trouble in some of the out laving places I am sure. That's it for now fellows, MORE NEXT MONTH. Gus

Gus Browning, W4BPD

Hams - W4BPD - Gus Brwning 02
QSL for sale on Ebay by N2AU 5Z4GT was also an audio valve Great Rift Valley Kenya by ANDREI TROITSKIY Gus was QRV with this call from Burundi