LOMAKO: Into The African Rain Forest

Author: Mike Chambers


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Lomako tells a story from the nineties in the Congo, then Zaire, as the Mobutu regime slipped into chaos. It starts with the looting of Kinshasa and Mike’s adventures helping official America, ie the CIA, get out of Dodge. Like Heart of Darkness the story then goes up stream and into the deepest forest. Mike had visited the Bonobo Chimpanzees and the American research site before. He finds the academics gone but the local community still there and carrying on as best they could. Through a good relationship with the community leader, Mike takes on a series of tasks which ultimately lead to finding a poacher incursion and live trade in Bonobo. At one point in the various forest tracks Mike is camping alone and gets a bought of malaria, delirium and all. Despite the danger and difficulties described there is no Conradian darkness. The forest and rivers are beautiful it’s the people that bring the problems.

Michael Chambers spent thirty plus years in Africa where he had an adventuresome career. He crossed the continent north to south and east to west but his adventures don’t come from travel, they come from where he stopped, where he settled down. Mike spent nine years in the Zaireian Congo and twice that in Tanzania. His adventures are eclectic in the extreme. He arrived in Kinshasa, saw it had no phone book and decided to write one. Later on, when he knew his way around, he landed contracts to help National Geographic get up river and into the forest bush. In Tanzania he built a local farm into the largest vegetable export business in the country. Later he convinced the Tanzanian Government to use drones for anti-poaching. Mike moved back to his native Canada in 2018 and is now writing fulltime. : Adventures that tell about the Africa he loves.

An Experiential Life

I was born and grew up in Montreal but I have spent the better part of my life in Africa. There is undoubtedly a set of preconceptions in the cultural atmosphere which tag Africa as poor and fundamentally unable to address its own problems. Kofi Annan sees the problem in his sphere as he proposes “A New Strategic Role that Defies Traditional Stereotypes”. Academe is thoroughly engaged across the continent but does not seem to have a resolution to this basic negative trope. I would like to propose to my readership stories that bypass or even correct these assumptions. If my readers enjoy an adventuresome yarn and in the process come to see Africa as a place of beauty and hope whose wildlife is worth protecting I will have achieved my goal. However there is a preconception to navigate: The cultural concept that it is somehow illegitimate for a white middle class male to participate in a discussion where his sex and class will give him an unearned dominance. This is an oft expressed view. The experiences I talk about my work are examples of how African cultures handle such issues so much more effectively. The white middle class male thing is our problem; not theirs, and when it is superimposed on others, we are simply spreading our own contagion.

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Features & Details

Black & White

Pages: 234 | Trim Size: 6x9

Genre: History

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