Death was sleeping all around us. I could feel her in the high cries of uncomfortable babies and the low moans of old men as they fight the pain and discomfort of dysentery. This would be a trip through hell, and perhaps some unfortunate souls on this boat would make not make it out alive as is often the case on the Congo River. Perhaps, we all knew that some of us wouldn't all arrive at our destination and that we would meet our Lord, our Maker, here on this black river of death and hope. Death and hope. Can it be one and the same? With this river, the answer is yes. People lived and died under the power of this powerful river every single day. It was now my turn to make this journey on its surface. Despite my deepest fears, I feel the warm breeze of God's grace lingering around me in the air. Yes, hope is a powerful element in each of our hearts and that is what everyone here now clings onto tightly and with both fists, even if it means kissing death right on the lips.