Saturday, March 17, 2012

No Rest For the Weary

 First day at work.  We actually looked bright-eyed & bushy-tailed!  Hard to believe we'd gotten to bed late the night before after our 30 hr flight to Kinshasa.

 The second day at work was happily interrupted by a "Sister's Conference" and luncheon for all the young sister missionaries.  These are beautiful young women with beautiful spirits.  They were so happy to be with each other and with all of us and they loved taking pictures.

Everyone helped, whether it was with preparing the food, serving, re-stocking, cleaning up, teaching (or, in my case, being official photographer) 
L-R: Sister Judy Bingham (Humanitarian), me, Sister Lorraine Jameson (Mission President's wife), Sister Suzanne Staggs (Perpetual Education Fund), Sister Ruth Renland (wife of our Area Seventy), Jackie (our Congolese "Girl Friday"), Sister Dixie Hatch (for her bitter-sweet last day in the Congo).

First Sunday..The hibiscuses that we are wearing in this picture were shyly given to us by the cute little adopted daughters (Victoria & Carla) of our new friend at Church, Cecile D'Agostino.  She is from Geneva, Switzerland and has been sweet enough to volunteer as a translator for us in Sacrament Mtg.

The Binghams invited us to go for a quick tour of some sights after Church and then to drive with them to check up on a water project in Luntendele.  We also picked up Chris, a young BYU student who is interning here at the U.S. Embassy and likes to go on these excursions.  We went down Embassy row and he was very nervous about my taking pictures of this large tile mosaic on the front of the Iranian Embassy.  Certain entities in the Congo do NOT want you to take pictures  of their facilities and will come after you if you are spotted.  I suspect that Iran might be one of those.

This is just a small example of the car, truck, motorcycle & pedestrian jams

This was the entrance to the grand and guarded home of President Kabila's brother.  When one of our Congolese office assistants was asked what this man had done to amass such wealth and have such a nice home, he looked amused at the question and said, "He's the President's brother!"
This is just a lovely view on our ride to Luntendele.

We stopped to visit with this woman (center) who the Binghams have been working with relative to the placing of a well on her property for the area.   The daughter (left) has been attending "college", which is the equivalent of 8th grade here, and spoke English.  The woman behind was very friendly, but camera shy.  The woman with the bananas insisted on giving us half a dozen of them, which took two weeks to ripen, but  were delicious when we were finally able to eat them.

The well in Lutendele has provided clean water for many hundreds in the area and attracted many more to come there.

Everywhere we stopped, the kids would yell, "Mundele!", which is the Lingala word for "white person".  They were all friendly with the exception of this one little girl who looked at me as if I were a ghostly apparition and then burst out screaming at the top of her lungs.

Children gather quickly when the "mundele" come and George always attracts kids anyway.  My skeptical little baby girl is not yet convinced that she wants anything to do with us.

The woman had been washing her clothes here.  The man had stripped down to his skivvies and was washing himself AND his motorcycle right where we needed to cross, so he hurried to move.

When I said, "Bonjour!  Comment ca va?" (basically, Hello.  How are you doing?) to this woman, she answered, "Un peu ca va" (Not doing very well.) and told me (in French) that she has Malaria and something else which I couldn't understand. She and her husband, a preacher, had given permission for a well to be built on their property.  It was almost finished and the closing ceremony (where the Church basically turns over the ownership and oversight to a village-elected Water Committee) was scheduled to take place two weeks later.  Again, we have an apprehensive little one who is not used to seeing such pale-skinned people.

Other Churches and groups are in evidence and some really try to make a difference for the people.  This was a Catholic Church we saw on the road.

UNICEF has sponsored projects such as this one, which promotes the concept of latrines and helps the people learn how to make them.  This is also something which the Church has done in Africa.

Laundry day... but who needs a dryer?

To get into the entrance to our apartment building (right), we have to go around a large traffic circle which surrounds the Plaza (left).  After a long day, this was a welcome sight.  It may not be pretty, but it is HOME!  


  1. Before I read your comments I was thinking. I bet not everyone likes it when you take their pictures. I wasn't thinking about other embassies. Like I said in one of my first letters...I love seeing all the pictures but you have to be a little street smart to keep yourself out of danger. You did a great job on loading all these pictures though and explaining what was going on. I also see that the dresses that the women from church are wearing are very bright. I take it that the Congolese women like bright colors??

  2. There's a lot to take in here. First, I can't believe that the woman in washing her clothes in dirty water.... As someone who loves the smell of soap and bleach, ............My brain just can't comprehend. Then let's add the fact that it's also a place for the man to bathe, wash his motorcycle and then move....SO YOU CAN DRIVE YOUR NASTY CAR THROUGH...... again, my life is so different. I have a daughter with a beautiful clean wardrobe, with accessories. The children are clothed, but just very different. Thank you for posting Mom, and I love you!