Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tuesday & Wednesday Morning

Last Tuesday, we hit the road heading North. The tape deck was playing our driver's pick of 1980s hits: Easy Like Sunday Morning, Sometimes Love Ain't Enough, Take the World, Make it a Better Place...

Our Land Cruiser only got stuck in the mud once on Tuesday, but luckily we were in a convoy so the other car clipped a wire onto our back bumper and was able to drag us free.

Tuesday, we visited two schools for assessments, and slept in Kitchanga at a parish. There was a car battery with multiple wires clipped to it sitting inexplicably in the corner of my guestroom. The priests made us lemongrass tea at night and in the morning. I spoke with them in French, and we laughed.


Wednesday morning, we checked in with MONUC about the security situation in Nyanzale. MONUC’s base in Kitchanga is atop the tallest of the nearby rolling green hills, and it consists of tanks, tents, hundreds of men, a handful of women, and brightly colored flowers set in neat, pretty rows. The soldiers in this regiment are from South Africa.

It was such a relief to hear English. I love English. French exhausts me.

MONUC says that there is fear that the CNDP is fragmenting off from FARDC, thus signaling a possible end to a recent peace treaty. They told us to check back in the next day.

As we drove down the hill from MONUC, I realized that I had been here in DRC exactly one week.


When we stopped at the schools to interview and do our assessments, children would rush up to our car, shouting Muzungo! and MONUC!

Laughing brilliant rolling child mobs, like little storms.

They would gather around me as if they were playing a coordinated sports game and touching my hand was the goal.

What’s it like? You feel awkward and weird and unbelievably privileged to be the brief focus of the bright joy of so many little humans.

It helps me imagine how a basketball net or a maypole may feel, and think I can say with some certainty that, as inanimate objects go, they are pretty lucky.