Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Visa & shots, shots & visa

Fin-a-lly got my o-ffi-cial job offer letter today in the e-mail box!  Goma, I'll see you in a month or so.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pepper spray

I had afternoon tea at the Mayflower today in Dupont Circle. 

Very ooh-la-la bourgeoisie.  

A woman at the small gathering told me that she'd been hearing a lot about the DRC on the news recently.  Violence against women.  She'd been talking with her girlfriends about how the media only seemed to be reporting on the need to help the victims -- not the need to curb attacks -- and how wrong that seemed.   Her friends and she had devised a plan: She asked me -- embarrassed, saying that I'd laugh at their suggestion -- if we shouldn't just ship over tons of pepper sprays and hand them out to all the women, so the women could "gather their wood in peace".

I didn't laugh, but I did quickly (and rather heartlessly) list off all the ways in which I thought this plan could go horribly wrong, or even just a little wrong and be a huge waste of money. 

And then, even if I was right, I felt pretentious and mean.

Monday, September 21, 2009

For heaven's sake...

... at this rate it's going to be WINTER in Goma.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caramel Apples & Champagne

Last night I had a caramel apple party.  12 of my friends came over and I provided the apples, the caramel, the melted chocolate, the sprinkles, and the crushed walnuts.  My friends had the choice to bring either champagne or a savory dish.  One friend brought cheese and crackers.  11 brought champagne.

The point being, after ushering everyone out of 10:00 pm and de-caramelizing my kitchen, I had very strange dreams.

I dreamed about Goma.  It was a strange place.  Lots of ex-pats everywhere, sprinkled throughout.  Everyone speaking some strange version of French that I couldn't keep up with.  Motorcycles that flew yards off the ground.  Men selling craft necklaces that they'd made themselves -- out of glass.  No colorful fabrics.  Women nowhere to be seen.  Everyone rushing around and no one explaining what my job was or what I was needed to do.

I woke myself up in the middle of the night (I always do; I sleep on an air mattress that deflates itself every couple of hours) and when I fell back asleep, I dreamed the same creepy dream all over again.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Whenever I'm in the States, I wear a tiny pink forget-me-not bobble on a thin gold chain around my neck. My mom & dad gave it to me for Christmas one year. Whenever I'm in Africa, I take it off; I leave it at home. Not wearing it is almost the same as wearing it, though. My neck can't get used to not feeling its presence, to being bare. The feel of the absence of the necklace is almost as solid as the feel of the weight of the necklace. I always am aware that it's waiting for me, here, at home.