DR Congo at 50 by Stephan Vanfleteren

Image 13 of 50
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John Amis, bicycle taxi driver: 'I know every street in Kisangani. Not a hole or bump in the street is unknown to me. The shortest distance between two points? No problem. Knowing the route is very important. You get fewer flat tyres and the customer sits more comfortably on the back of the bike. Quite important for the tip. You are my fourth customer today. I do ten on average a day. I use the money to pay for my school. I started with the 'tokelo' when I was thirteen. My first customer was a girl. It was a wonderful feeling to earn my first 250 Congolese francs myself. The 'mamas' are the most difficult to carry. Not only because they generally have shoppin with them for the market but because they are often on the heavy side. But this is the best training for the legs, because there is a 'tokelo' competition each year. We then ride 10 local tours round the city as fast as we can. My whole family stood supporting me along the road but unfortunately I just missed a prize -  my fourth failure in the race under the canvas. My consolation prize was a plastic football.'..