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Conference excursion on board the MB Mobeka

written by Bienheureux Le Bel YESINGA

From 17 to 22 January 2024, the Free University of Brussels (ULB), in partnership with the University of Kisangani (UNIKIS), organized an international conference as part of the “Banturivers” research project funded by the European Research Council (p.i. Birgit Ricquier). The conference held in Kisangani was a memorable event: it was the very first time that an international colloquium was held at the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences of UNIKIS.

To mark the occasion, the non-profit organisation Mobeka, which both promotes research and takes concrete action, offered the participants of the aforementioned colloquium an “aperitif on the water” and invited the 45 speakers on board the MB MOBEKA for a trip on the Congo River.

At the end of the day on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, the extensive scientific content that the participants had absorbed during a variety of lectures from a wide range of disciplines could be toasted with a beer on the majestic Congo River. So set course for the river port Au bord du fleuve, where the MB Mobeka docks. There is an impeccable setting for drinking, eating and socializing. There she is, the MB MOBEKA.

Departure from the university campus to the river port “Au bord du fleuve”

Welcome aboard! Are we going to start? Once the formalities have been completed, the convoy heads downriver. The passengers need not worry. They are equipped with life jackets both on the lower deck and on the upper deck. Once the national flag has been attached, off we go!

Cute in their life jackets, the passengers begin their contemplation of the river and the landscapes on either side. Congolese rumba sounds from a loudspeaker join in with the noise of the powerful engine. A little music, and the hips move back and forth to the rhythm of the Congolese melodies, with everyone holding a bottle in their hand, donated by the Mobeka organisation.

Read the joy on the faces of the passengers.

The trip was characterized by exceptional enthusiasm and a family-like atmosphere. From the river port Au bord du fleuve to Bambou Palace, and from there upstream to the port of ONATRA, there were various sights to see: the old Sorgeri factory, the first Catholic mission in eastern Congo of St. Gabriel, the river market of Aspiro, the villa where the film Africa Queen was shot, the city’s cathedral and the port of ONATRA. On the way back, watch the sunset reflected in the waters of the majestic Congo River.

When you pass these memorable places, you find yourself in a veritable ballroom on board. There was also plenty of dancing, another ingredient to liven up the convoy.

The MB MOBEKA completes its journey and brings the travelers safely back to the port of departure, where the official dinner of the symposium took place. It was an unforgettable day.

Written by Bienheureux Le Bel YESINGA

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