Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in Congo Pics

Here are some photos of my Christmas festivities in Congo this year. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Congo's health care system

Here's a recent article about the disastrous state of health care here in Congo-Brazzaville. This is why you're praying I don't get sick :o) Pray for my friends. I know people who have recently been in the hospitals mentioned in this article. I've been in the hospitals and can assure you, it's as bad as this article says.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Money may not grow on trees...but mangoes do!

Waiting for choir practice to start tonight, I was sitting at the church looking out into the courtyard when a huge wind blew up. Mangoes started falling out of the massive tree in the middle of the yard and several people scurried around to pick them up, pleased with their find. It was cute.

I got home after choir rehearsal and heard a rustling above my head as I walked up our driveway. A mango came crashing through the branches of the tree and fell a few feet from me. "Oh, a mango!" I picked it up, took it home, cut it up, and ate it. It was yummy.

My new treat is buying a mango already cut up at the bus stop. They put it in a bag with some salt and I eat it piece by piece on the way home. I enjoy throwing the peel out the window and I think the other passengers enjoy watching the white lady savoring her tasty mango-to-go.

We always talk about Adam and Eve eating the "apple" but I think if it was so tempting it must have been a mango :o)

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Cat Monkey Biz

Here are some photos of the kutest kat in kongo
We had a blast singing at the French Cultural Center again Saturday night. With each concert, our friends seem to open up more and more (or maybe we're the ones getting more and more comfortable). Theresa and I have a little expression..."Once you go black, you never go back." :o)

Today we saw my good friend Louz and he said "Theresa, you really danced good at the concert!" And he kept going on about it while I just stood there, so I said "Hey! I'm jealous!" He looked at me and was like "What? You're already Congolese. She's still white." So then I was happy :o)


Here are my Thanksgiving pics...finally (thank you, Poopernet)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Birthday Bash in Brazza

Birthdays in Brazzaville are a great thing, at least judging by the last 2 years. I decided to carry on a couple of traditions from last year, so first thing Saturday morning I went down to the Mandarine for espresso and pastries with Theresa, Dana, and Heather. Then we headed to Total market to shop for shoes and clothes (we normally buy groceries there and don’t ever take time to look around and see what else there is). This year I found a nice skirt and a really cute dress in the “friperie” (Congolese equivalent of Goodwill).

Before noon Theresa and I needed to head back home to get ready for our concert. We spent all afternoon waiting for the concert to start—it was even later than normal since it poured down rain for half an hour. But it was great fun hanging around with our choir friends, especially since we were in a silly mood for my birthday. The concert was an AIDS awareness event promoting the fact that to get tested for HIV/AIDS is free and everyone should get it done. December 1st is International AIDS Awareness Day, or something like that.

Several different groups performed. Our presentation was pretty disappointing. I didn’t feel prepared at all and unfortunately I had 2 solos! The first one I totally botched and sang in the wrong pitch. The next two soloists’ microphones weren’t working and then I did my second solo which went OK. I spent the rest of the performance wishing I weren’t on stage and wondering how I was ever going to show my face in public again after all my friends had just witnessed my idiocy. Fortunately some people didn’t even notice and those who did were gracious. The choir still really wanted me to sing with them at a church service the next morning, so I guess life goes on.

After the concert it was time to party at Dana and Heather’s place. My friends are so cool and they planned a big get together for me. Lydia brought her amazing sauerkraut which she had started making on Thursday. Barb brought her tasty salsa and Theresa made an adorable cake (in the morning she’d even given me a miniature one with a candle!). D and H provided drinks, bread, mashed potatoes, etc, not to mention letting us completely trash their house! My friends Geritte and Espérance were there, along with Marvin, a friend of Espé’s. My friend Patricia from Kenya came and one of our Congolese colleagues Kevin was there too. It was an interesting blend of friends, but it came together really nice! Oh, Monkey Business was there too.

I shared from Isaiah 35, my chapter for the year and we ate some snacks. Then it was time for the real food and then some German techno music! Getting this group of random people to dance together was a trick, but then Espé suggested we choreograph a dance and it was awesome! Wish I could show you the video! Of course the neighbors wondered what was going on up there :o) We ate the cake and I got lots of gifts, which was so nice of my friends, but I’m still waiting for my packages from home to get here.

The party was a great success, so I felt better after my singing fiasco, and overall it was a really full day with lots of good memories.