Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Golfing in the Congo

Here's another little glimpse of Congo as retold to me through Henry....

The other day, Henry was golfing at the (one and only) course in Kinshasa. As their group approached one of the ponds, one of the caddies saw a fish surface on the water. Overcome with excitement, the caddy sprung into action, took a putter from one of the golf bags and started whacking the water, trying to beat the fish to death with the club, in hopes of eating it. Just a guess, but this is probably not something that happens at Pebble Beach.

When I heard this story, my first thought was, "ha, oh so Congo"...but then my next thoughts were "Sad!!! Do you guys not pay your caddies well? Why did this caddy go into a manic fish mode at the first sight of a fin? Did he catch the fish? Can we buy him some fish?!". Henry told me that, yes, the caddies are paid but that he always gives his caddy extra when he sees him. In their group, the caddies also win drinks every time their person does something with par or birdie or some other term I have since forgotten. So, I feel a little better about it but not much. The golf club is one of the nicest places in Congo and I can imagine it would provide decent employment, especially considering the miserable predicament of the rest of the country, but even so...it is still sad. Even more depressing is the fact that the caddies are probably better off than a majority of the Congolese population. Someone once told me they heard the goal of Congo is to "get from misery to poverty". Living here, in this fourth world country, it is just so obvious every day how much we have to be grateful for as Americans.

So anyways, that's what happened one day on the golf course. FYI, the caddy did not catch the fish and it lived on. Until the next golf group came along anyways.