Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Little Sophie and the Republican Guard

The Republican Guard soldiers love Sophie. And by love, I mean they would love to eat her. As previously discussed, every day I walk by their checkpoint with Sophie and the soldiers frequently ask me if they can either have her or eat her. Neither being acceptable options.

Today I had a conversation with a soldier that went like this...

In French

Soldier (with hungry eyes on Sophie - like she was a hot little biscuit): Your dog. Can I have it?
Me: No. Absolutely Not.
Soldier (points at Sophie's wiggly rear end): That is good meat.
Me: Meat?! No. She is family. I love her.
Soldier: Mmmm, good meat. Good to cook with a side of tomatoes.
Me: Tomatoes?! NO! Absolutely not! No!

Now, I get it. The soldiers probably barely eat and rarely get paid on time and are undoubtedly always hungry. It's not that I don't have sympathy for their situation. But, nonetheless, if they ever come close to Sophie or if I so much as see one small tomato in their possession headed our way, it will be on. Like Tasmanian devil, fists of fury, take-no-prisoners on. So there.

And poor silly Sophie has no clue of any impending danger. So much for doggy sense. If I'd let her, she would sashay up to the soldiers, without a care in the world, in hopes for a belly rub. What a doofus.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Congo Update

-Yesterday we went on another HASH run. While running by the villages, many of the people pointed and laughed. I'm fairly certain they were mostly laughing at us and not with us. Frequently, I will have a "Oh-I-forgot-I-actually-live-in-Congo" moment and running through the rural Congo countryside and down local sandy trails with Congolese people laughing at me is definitely one of those moments.

-In woebegone news, the Michael Jackson statue is gone! We drove by the other day and all that remained was a sad little MJ shaped imprint in the sand. I can only hope it is missing to be replaced by a bigger and better statue of Michael Jackson. Anything else will be a disappointment.

-The Kinshasa 50 Cent concert is back on. We have seen actual billboards promoting Mr. Cent. And, as we all know, billboards never lie. This week we are going to attempt to buy tickets again. Round #2.

-In 3 weeks, Henry and I will be in France! We are planning to spend 2 weeks in Côte d'Azur and a couple days in Paris. To say I am very very excited is an understatement. Sorry Kinshasa, but I am not overly sad to leave you for a little bit. French Riviera vs. Kinshasa...French Riviera vs. Kinshasa...hmmm, sorry Kinshasa, you lose.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to Zongo

Last weekend we went back to Zongo Falls with some friends. This time we decided to stay overnight at the Seli Safari Zongo resort. At the resort, there are three options: bungalow cabins, room suites, and a campground. We chose the rooms and they were actually very nice and it was another really great and relaxing escape from Kinshasa.

Standing on the edge of the falls. Pictures do not accurately show the magnitude of the falls or how wobbly my knees were. One slip and it would be a permanent bon voyage. We asked the local guides if anyone ever fell over and they said "oui, all the time". I asked if the people who fell over all died and the guides responded, "oui, of course".

The view from our room. The paillotes are right on the water and have tables and grills.

Henry sitting on the edge and I am definitely not thrilled with his proximity to tumbling over and becoming "another mundele who went over the falls". As I reminded Henry, what if he lost his balance? Or what if a Congo gorilla came charging out of the woods and pushed him over? It could happen.

Our room. It was a happy surprise to find out how nice it was. I had no idea what to expect when we reserved the suite. Having participated in our previous Congo camping experience, I came over prepared with sleeping bags, flashlights, and toilet paper.

A real bathroom! Vast improvement from the "hole in the ground" and the "pee floor". Thank you, Baby Jesus.

Leaving Zongo and heading back down the rutted and rugged road...

Mundele is what some of the Congolese call foreigners. It supposedly means something like "person without skin" to explain people with lighter complexions. This is what someone told me anyways. It may or may not be accurate.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sightseeing in Kinshasa

Rotating billboard: fail.

A public service announcement...

A closer look at the aforementioned public service announcement. Love the shorts. Love the hobo stick. Love the hair ring. Love the belly shirt. Love the muffin top.

A place to buy your pastoral robes...

Some Congo beer ads. Turbo King's slogan is "Men's Business". Pretty direct marketing. As for Primus, I heard a rumor that it contains formaldehyde. That can't be healthy, right?

Monday, August 16, 2010

One year!

As of today, we have been in Congo for one whole 365 day year!

Even though things started out a tad bumpy (for me anyways), I can honestly say, I am truly loving the experience. Not to say things aren't still challenging at times, but living in Congo has greatly moved me and we have met some really amazing people.

Now: one more year to go until the next post assignment. Here's to another adventurous year in Kinshasa:)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Orphanage


A couple weeks ago, I started volunteering at a nearby orphanage. So far, this is what I have to report...
  1. I was left alone in a room with 28 children. Chaos ensued.
  2. I was peed on by a baby. Well to be more exact, the plastic bag being used for a diaper did not work and I was collateral damage.
  3. Dancing happened. All sorts of cute Congolese tot dancing.
To be continued...