Friday, April 16, 2010


Stuck for a six-something hour stopover in Kisangani.

Kisangani, which, when I thought about it (not very often), I pictured in the very lower East of the country, actually turns out to be in the middle center of Congo. (That’s embarrassing. I’ve lived in this country nearly six months.) Flying over, I saw that there are lots of trees here.

One-and-a-half hours to go till my flight.

The MONUC waiting lounge is full of buzzing yellow tube lights in a ceiling full of pipes and metal vents. There are toilets in a bathroom with a broken mirror. There is a bar in a corner that sells grilled cheese sandwiches and cold Fanta.

Like at the Goma airport and at the Kinshasa airport, there is a graveyard for broken and rusty airplanes right off of the runway and outside the waiting room window. The sickened airplanes squat, dribbling metal bolts and looking forlorn.

A US government guy I am randomly acquainted with from my trek into the Virunda Gorilla Jungle turned up at my side about two hours into my wait. He’s on his way in the opposite direction, Goma-to-Kinshasa, ultimately ending his mission and heading home, then to Sudan Somalia wherever. He told me about a volcano in Iceland that has erupted sending up a dust cloud so large it forced the shutdown of airports in six European countries. He talked to me a little bit about the security situation in Kiwanja.

I have my computer and I have the most recent episode of GLEE! (yay!) that a friend somehow managed to find & get to me. I didn’t have any headphones. Luckily my random acquaintance did. So I curled up in one of the hard plastic picnic chairs and he in another and we watched Rachel & Finn & Mr. Shuster belt out showtunes on my computer and I reminded myself again & again that I was not in a context where it was acceptable to sing along, don’t sing along, don’t sing along…

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