Sunday, December 2, 2012

Flora, Fauna & Folks in Kinshasa


As I was writing this blog post, a little visitor came.
I had a little chat with him and invited him to eat ALL the
bugs his tummy could hold.  I hope he stays
because he is a welcome guest....
This would NOT have been my attitude prior to living in Africa.
Even small spiders have now had their lives preserved
on the assumption that they will be in our debt
and catch many undesirable insects in their webs.
I guess this could be called "Truth in Advertising"!
But, I already KNOW what Jello is made of,
and would rather not be reminded.
"Getou" came into the Mission Office recently.
She lives with her aunt, who is the Relief Society
president in our Gombé Ward.
 (She is the younger sister of Getou's mother)
I believe that both of Getou's parents may have died.
Getou is statuesque, poised and very beautiful.
She reminds me so much of my daughter, Joanne.
When I told her that, she was very pleased.
Congolese girls LOVE to "pose"!
Chantal, from Geneva, & her mother Janene (above)
were going shopping... (Chantal's favorite thing to do!)
and taking Getou along.
We are still excited that the long-awaited security entrance
(doubling as an exit on weekends) is finished & functioning.
Funny what kinds of things excite you here...
A new grocery store had us all jumping up & down
a few months ago.  Finding certain food items means
sending out an email alert or just buying it for the couples
because you know it'll be sold out before they can get it.
A Flamboyant Tree, also called Royal Poinciana.
In full bloom, the whole tree is red with blossoms.
A little different look for a Congolese, man or woman.
They are so typically clothed in colorful patterns
that any variation stands out.
We are trying to see what the record is for carrying eggs?
Maybe my grandchildren can count the levels here & multiply
to find the number of eggs carried.  Each level has 30 eggs.
On 2nd thought, the moms & dads may need to help,
(if they didn't inherit my math-aversion gene.)
This woman was hauling a lot of weight on her back AND her head.
The whole "don't wear plaid and floral" thing seems to escape some men..
(and not just Congolese)!
The man in the background is one of the
dread-locked, ragged street men.
He is looking into one of the new green
 fixed trash receptacles
recently installed along Trente Juin Blvd. and,
judging by his full bags, it's been a productive day.
I SO wanted everyone to see a full view of this gorgeous pink  dress,
but the darn taxi came up just as the camera clicked.
Notice that he is making one of the signals to pedestrians
that was mentioned last week.
Pretty efficient way to get your transport figured out,
without wasting time stopping.
It's always fun to see this long, flowing style of clothing.
I thought it was just worn by Muslims, but have been told
that this is not always the case.  It is just "African" as well.
It's very common to see someone rolling a tire down the street.
Tires are used, not till they are worn, but till they are in shreds.
Pink shirts in dress and casual style.
Like "Sesame Street"...
♫Can you see the thing that doesn't belong?♫
That metal fence in the middle is called a median.
All the cars heading north are supposed to be
on the RIGHT side of it.
But, in Kinshasa, the motto is "Pedestrian Beware!"
I took this picture for the turquoise dress, but the pink jacket is nice, too.
For every picture of someone in pajamas, 5-10 are missed,
but this is a good one.
Home, Sweet Home... Behind the top of the palm
are our south and east facing bedroom windows,
overlooking our roof-terrace & the Plaza.
Some afternoons, we just stand at the point and look down
to enjoy all the people & activities on the Plaza below.
One day, two women who are the landladies for
a couple of our missionary apartments came in.
I told them, "Vous est tres jolie".
(Don't grade my French.  I just try to come close..)
They understood!
Our African masks & artifacts collection is growing.
So far, there are items from several tribes:
Kassai (Occidental and Oriental), Ashanti, Zulu (S. Africa),
and Dan from Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), etc.
Interesting that one of the 12 tribes of Israel was Dan.
You don't suppose.... ?
Elder Hyacinthe Youzan-Bi came to our mission
from Cote d'Ivoire. He is slight of build (wish I could say the same),
but powerful in faith & spirit.  He served, with Elder Muthui,
who comes from Kenya, as the Assistant to the President.
He's now finished his mission & returned home this week,
but sweetly told me that he wanted something to remember me by,
so we took this picture.
A couple of very nicely dressed Congolese men...
Since Gombé, where the Mission Office
is located and where we live, is the main business district,
we do see a lot of business attire.  But this is not worn in the
large areas which are part of outer Kinshasa.
Pretty, pretty!
Ugly, ugly!  Held together with tape and gum.
Interesting growth out of a tree.
A "Traveler's Palm" over the entrance to a walled home.
Rain drops on the window make it somewhat blurred,
but, this looks like the growths on the Hindu temple at Angkor Wat.
Very strange!  (It covered about three times the area of the picture)
Just when you think no one can come up with yet another
unique look.... here's an interesting layout.
Not as good a picture as it could have been, but the fabric was beautiful,
as was the style.
Growing up in Florida, we'd get a kick out of the tourists
who would be all excited to see any white water bird
(whether an egret of other type of heron)
But, now WE are excited to see the return of these
beautiful white birds in Kinshasa (they migrated
during the "dry season"... which is our not-so-cold winter).
Behind him is the slooooowly progressing hotel
which is advertised as a "5 Star".
We hope to see it finished before we finish our mission in January of 2014. 

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