A Montrealer caught on an island almost deserted at the other end of the world has returned to a safe port after a voyage of one week on board of a tractor, a wooden ship and five aircraft.
“On the day of departure, it was ridiculous : not a cloud in sight, bright sun, we really were lucky […] The water was calm, like a mirror, tells Jungle Tshongo who has spent 6 months abroad. Not necessarily looking forward to going back, it was a relief to see that I was capable of. “
At the age of 46, the diver on the seabed has decided to put its lives on hold to go to spend a few months on the island of Kyun Pila in the south of Myanmar, with the aim of helping to restore coral reefs damaged by the presence of waste.
His humanitarian adventure quickly turned into a story of survival at a time when Myanmar announced the closure of its borders because of the pandemic on 19 April.
The Montreal and four other volunteers from germany, Hungary, Malaysia, England and France had no other choice but to ration their portions of food to ensure that it will not fail, in the point count tea bags.
With the arrival of the monsoon season, it is going to become more and more difficult to leave the island, because of the torrential rains and massive waves that could reach up to 4 meters in height, ” he explains.
To try his luck
On the 28th of may in the morning, the volunteers learn that a merchant vessel of the village must travel to Aung Ba in Myanmar in two days, ” if time allows “.
No update on the website Facebook of the government since the may 15, impossible for them to know if the suspension of flights was extended beyond 31 may, as it was then indicated.
“I decided to take a chance, because the time was not that to change,” he said.
On the morning of the 1st of June, the weather was at the rendez-vous for him and the Hungarian Orsi Vincze, 41 years of age, who had received the green light from their respective embassies.
After a passage of about 50 km to the edge of the small narrow boat in wood, they arrive at the shore of Aung Ba, where a car was waiting for them. From there, the two travellers take a long, bumpy road, in the direction of Kawthoung.
“It’s just on the way, near the airport, it started to rain,” he adds, laughing. As if it was arranged with the guys views !
In arriving at his hotel room, Mr. Tshongo realizes that his flight to Seoul, scheduled for June 4, is delayed for 24 hours, which causes it to shift one day to the next flight between Seoul and Vancouver, scheduled for the same date.
Several calls and a few hundred dollars later, his journey is in order and it is ready to take his first plane to Yangon, Myanmar, where he will spend a few days. His air tickets have cost more than $ 2500 in all, despite a rebate of… $0.08 to$.
On 5 June, the day of his departure from Myanmar, he learns that he must pay for the costs of the extended stay, due to her visa expired, despite a letter of support from the embassy. His bill amounted to about 285 $.
If the rest of the journey was completed without mishap, it has been rather difficult for Montrealers to find food in Seoul, where the kyat (currency of Myanmar) were not accepted. Impossible to find a currency exchange.
“There was a kind of room with loungers. I went to bed, I slept a few hours. This break-there it was amazing. I had no water, no food, but at least I could lie “, is he recalls, laughing.
Arrival in Montreal
Seoul, Vancouver, Toronto : after a week of travel, Jungle Tshongo eventually reached Montreal, 7 June at 22: 45.
Confined with her cat for 14 days at his mother’s home in Longueuil, he took advantage of his free time to composing music with friends online, while you are thinking about its future.
“I just live half a year with nothing,” he says. I come back here, I feel as if there was too much going on around me. Even the hot water seems to help too. “
He would like to continue his work of restoration of the coral reefs in the canadian environment, or teach his knowledge to those who will restore them elsewhere in the world.
One thing is for certain, it will continue to dive to pick up the waste in the various rivers in quebec.
“All the free time I have, I dédis to my planet,” he concludes.
A journey of seven days
▻ Departure of Kyun Pila
- The traveller and his sidekick Hungarian Orsi Vincze crossed the island of Kyun Pila tractor, to get to the other side, waiting for the boat.
- At 7 a.m., a boat dealer in wood led them to the other side of the Andaman sea, burma’s Aung Ba.
- On a bumpy road, they have traveled a journey of about two and a half hours to get to the airport of Kawthoung, southern Myanmar. Their paths are separated in Yangon on 5 June.
- Of Kawthoung, they are gone at 11: 15 a.m. in the direction of Yangon, always in Myanmar, where he spent a few days.
- Only, he left Myanmar for 21 h to get to the Seoul airport.
- The next day, he took a flight to Vancouver at 16: 40, before a stopover in Toronto.
- He finally arrived at 22: 45, where his sister was waiting with his car and a snack and well-deserved.