Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rat!

I am a little traumatized. For one, there was a rat in the hallway. For two...well, take a look at the picture above.

How did this rat die? Oh, that would be through the mighty hand and brute strength of Emery, our domestique. How did Emery kill it? Rat death was created Samurai-style with the end of a cleaning device. Emery yelled, "MADAME, STAND BACK!", quickly unsheathed his broom, let out a warrior cry and struck the rat on the head...thus creating a gruesome little carcass in the stairwell outside our door.

Am I thrilled we had a rat near our home? No...But aren't there magic little anti-rodent capsules you can throw at rats that send them painlessly to a cheese-filled afterlife? Oh well, I don't mean to seem ungrateful. Thank you Emery for saving me from the big Congo rat. May it rest in peace.

Monday, April 11, 2011

1st Annual Kinshasa Decathlon

Last Saturday, our friends, Jen and Emily, organized the very first Kinshasa Decathlon. Such a fun day and an important moment in Congo sporting history. T-shirts were included.

Events of the day:
  1. Distance Running
  2. Throwing
  3. Sprinting
  4. Basketball
  5. Tennis
  6. Wrestling
  7. Swimming
  8. Pool Long Jump
  9. Beer Shotgun
  10. Dizzy Bat
Things I learned:
  1. Decathlons are tiring. Even those that include Beer Shotgun as an event.
  2. Watching a decathlon is also tiring. At least for me anyways.
  3. Wrestling is much more exhausting than I thought and it is also sort of intimate.
  4. One can have incredible and limitless control over boys when giving instruction in the name of competition. Good to note.
  5. When Americans compete in Dizzy Bat, Congolese think we are entertaining but crazy.
So, in summation, the First Annual Kinshasa Decathlon was a big Congo-sized success. Check ESPN for Top Ten plays. Be there next time.

Sightseeing

Monday, April 4, 2011

Henry the Mundele plays soccer

Let's see if you can spot Henry?

One Saturday, we went to watch the US-Embassy Kinshasa All Stars (previously seen here) play in a tournament and, in an unexpected turn of events, Henry went from spectator to participant.

Though a little unprepared, Henry managed to find a pair of golf shoes in the car, they handed him a jersey and he was ready to go. As he was playing, my friend and I would occasionally hear a "ha, look at the mundele!" and "watch the mundele!" on the sidelines from the all-Congolese crowd watching the match.

When Henry stepped out on the field, a group of at least 50 Congolese children started following and grouping around him, chanting "Zidane! Zidane! Welcome Zidane!" in Lingala, the local language. Apparently, they thought he looked like (or perhaps actually was) Zinedine Zidane, a French soccer player who also happens to be pale of skin and bald of head. Either way, it was fun to watch.

Friday, April 1, 2011

South Africa

Recently, Henry and I went on a short trip down to South Africa. It has to be said: South Africa is pretty incredible. It's hard to believe that it shares a continent with Congo. Now I know what people meant when they called Congo "the real Africa". If one has visited South Africa, they should definitely not expect the same conditions when traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Just ask Frank.

Yes, true, South Africa is not without problems. But what's a little car jacking when you have real roads, sturdy buildings, and a working society? And, ok, yes, some in South Africa have some unsettling views on race, there is extreme poverty, and I would certainly never claim that the townships are a nice place to live...but, heck, at least it all looks better than Congo. There are shopping malls, highways, McDonalds, a working government, amazing hospitals, no malaria risk, escalators, sushi, a real airport…the list could go on. It's like an actual bona fide place. Oh, and you can use the water there. Plus, the people there have great accents. Need I say more?

South Africa is absolutely a place to visit. We stayed in Pretoria and it was a great mini-break from Congo. I have also heard that Cape Town is unbelievably beautiful and even though we didn't have time to go this trip, it is definitely on the list for the near future. We will be heading back down to Pretoria again in a month and I am really looking forward to it.

Henry at the hotel.

Pool at the Sheraton.

Visit to the lion park...

We found out lion cubs like belly rubs. Just like someone else we know.

Feeding the giraffe. Henry just learned that giraffe tongues are very long, very slimy, and somewhat creepy, in a lovable way.