Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Keeping Up in Kinshasa, DR Congo


The view toward the northwest includes the SOFICOM bldg.,
which this week added a very entertaining feature...
a sign that fades from one jewel tone to another.
When you live in Kinshasa, your definition of "entertainment" changes.

We have a family rule that we don't open our laptops during dinner.
But, as soon as the last bite goes down, up go the monitors.

Nevertheless, we do often enjoy looking out the windows to
watch the people & activities on the Plaza, a colorful sunset,
or the lightning of an approaching storm.
This lovely lady came to the Mission Office one day
and I asked her if I could take her picture.
She lives in the boundaries of the Masina Stake,
where our Thierry is Stake President.

When she returned the following week, I just HAD
to ask her to allow me another picture
because she looked even more beautiful.
She was shy about it, but permitted me to take it.
And, speaking of the Mission Office,
While I stand at the locked door and wait for George to park the car
 this is just part of the view around me.
Imagine listening to the trilling sounds of exotic tropical birds and

you can see that it's a nice way to start the day


Looking toward the right side of the Mission Office
toward George's office window and mine which are far left.
George walking out of the Mission Office entrance.

If you don't have a license plate... MAKE one!

A week or more AFTER a grating dislodged & fell into this deep hole
on a well-traveled road, they put some large stones in front of it.
A week or so after THAT, they put up this blank sign.
Eventually, even the sign was gone (stolen?)... It's been 2 months, now.
Drivers Beware!

A lady all dressed up and somewhere to go.

The biggest Praying Mantis I've ever seen.

Another nice ensemble.

Look at the smile on this little boy in his Sunday suit!
Congolese LOVE anything shiny.

And, look at the serious face of this little girl.
She was NOT at all sure about me!

One of our Relief Society counselors with her little girl.
When she taught the RS lesson last Sunday, she spoke French,
 but occasionally re-capped in English, Lingala, and Swahili 
to cover all the languages in the classroom that day.

It is very unusual to see a real sports car in Kinshasa,
so I took this picture of what MIGHT be a nice Porsche.
In the process I also captured what looks like one guy 
with boots and a red skirt and another with an animal head.
Don't ask me.

A clear, sunny Sabbath Day with virtually no traffic
and few pedestrians. I just had to record it!
(At the far end, you can just see the two rising parts of
the monument on the Plaza that our apartment overlooks)

A greeting mid-boulevard between a very nicely dressed
Congolese woman and a colorful, but less-than-stylish man.
This is the south to north approach on Trente Juin
with the Mission Home and Mission Office (white bldg)
visible on the left.

Sometimes, when we are driving home at night,
we wish EVERY Congolese enjoyed bright yellow clothing.

A different look with solid sleeves as part of the patterned dress.


Part of the "Grande Parade" of a safety-minded motorcycle club,
enlisted to emphasize the Dept. of Transportation's effort
to encourage obedience for driver & pedestrian rules.

Part of the parade was this truck, equipped with amplified music
and a large photo example of what is supposedly an accident.
We've been on roads where we HAD to go into craters like that.

This little guy brought up the rear, promoting the theme.
  It's funny to contemplate the concept of "safe driving" in Kinshasa.
We're glad the "D.O.T." is trying, but as they say, "Bon Chance!"

Another Plaza activity is the early morning Sunday gathering
of a local boxing club/workout group.
(Some of the more serious individuals come during the week, also)

The spot is on our windshield, not the woman.
I like the sleeves of this dress and neckline w/ extra embroidery.

In case you can't tell, this is the corpse of a tiny little gecko.
The night before, I had set my very large, heavy purse
 on the bathroom floor without looking down.
I'm sure he never knew what hit him.

The white egrets are migrating back to wherever they live
for the next six months or so of what will be our "winter".

This is the fun board card we use to indicate when a full-time 
Elder Missionary has a ward missionary companion.
What a sweetheart this little boy is.

And THIS is the fun board card we use when a full time 
Sister Missionary has a ward missionary companion.
Is this not the cutest little girl you have EVER seen?

My favorite treat in the USA is Lindt's Dark Chocolate Truffles.
But, this may become #1.  If you can BUY it, TRY it.
 You'll be hooked, too!

Nice juxtaposition of the traditional and modern Congolese man.
That's the UN Compound/Arsenal behind them...
(Our tax dollars not at work)

I loved the beautiful colors of this man's shirt.

And, REALLY loved the color & style of this dress & scarf.

The following are several examples of "a failure to communicate"
in some degree or another....

I made out this hasty note and left it on George's desk
one day at the Mission Office, along with a $50 bill.
Being the math-wizard that I am, I couldn't understand why
he later left his one-word reply on my desk.

This computer message was interesting on two levels..
First of all, isn't an error an error? Can it be temporarily an error? 
Why did that second statement make me feel guilty?

This came up as first option on George's "Spell-Check".
It should be enough to make ALL of us want a  program called

George is a "Warden" for the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission
and occasionally receives emergency notifications via text & email, .
We never suspected that crows could be a security risk.

Colorful AND coordinated!  Good for this guy!

I guess you could say this guy's outfit is "coordinated",
but beyond that, words escape me.

What do you think?  Pajama of the Week?

I thought so, too... until THIS man walked in front of us!

Can't remember if my husband or hers took this picture,
but this is Sister Bybee of Springville, Utah.
She & Elder Bybee are our new Public Affairs Senior Couple.

Many of our family & friends in Utah have had the coldest, snowiest
winter they ever remember.  But, as some of you are winding down,
we are approaching OUR winter... which, 
because we are practically sitting on the Equator,
 is really just a "dry season".  Nevertheless, we just had our own "snow",

with tiny flower buds from the trees in our apartment parking area.

This girl is the cousin of Getou, the older Congolese girl
 who reminds me of my daughter, Joanne.
This girl reminds me of another of my daughters, Jeanette,
though I didn't capture the facial expression that is so "her".
She is a sweet and beautiful 13 yr. old girl
and seeing her at Church each week makes my heart ache just a little.
But, our Heavenly Father promised me, regarding coming on our mission...
"If you will serve me without reservation, 
I will bless your children more than you could if you were here".
What mother would not want to receive that promise for her children?


  1. With only two pictures to judge it from I love your new apartment. It looks like you have a wonderful view all around.
    As usual the fashion show was nice. I wonder if these people think your crazy as you go around taking pictures of everything.
    One last thing...the poor gecko...I guess the only thing that save the mantis is he was praying for you to spare his life. Maybe the geckos should learn to pray!

  2. The rest of the apartment is pretty unremarkable, although the kitchen window view of Brazzaville across the Congo River is neat. But the living and dining room views are outstanding. As for taking lots of pictures, if anyone thinks I'm crazy, there are plenty of other reasons for them to think so. Your take on the gecko vs mantis made me laugh! :D