On Friday my teammates and I staggered back to the SIL center in Brazzaville after 4 long weeks in Ouesso, northern Congo. Within minutes of arriving, I was sitting at my dining room table under a fan, drinking a cold glass of water and petting my cat while downloading my emails. I live a life of contrasts.
I'm really disappointed that my photos are refusing to upload for some reason today, but hopefully over the next couple weeks I'll be able to pictorally describe for you our continuing adventures in Congo.
I've been in Africa for 8 months now and while we were in Ouesso I seemed to have reached a critical point where I've rubbed up against this culture for long enough to get irritated with it. It didn't help that my sister had her baby (hooray!), leading to serious pangs of homesickness. I wondered for months as I was just coasting along when this phase would come. I'm actually glad that it's arrived because now I can push through it and move on to another stage of adjustment.
Despite the struggles, there were highlights on our trip and good progress in our work. Going back to Ouesso after being gone for just 3 weeks was cool. It felt like cries of joy were erupting all around town upon our arrival. It was so fun to have people squeal with delight at the sight of us. Astride’s mom came running up the steps to hug me crying “Jessica! Oh Jessica’s back! Astride is going to be beside herself!” We were able to build on previous friendships and ended up with several meaningful relationships.