Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sights and Sounds of Kinshasa

1 John 5:2
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 

After trying to board the plane for Kinshasa twice and being sent away because our papers weren't right, we finally made it on.  A letter from the Congolese Embassy was the magic ticket.  So the third time was the charm and we landed in Kinshasa just to be told that our papers weren't right again.  The guard took our passports, but after he found Elder Johnson and they did a little negotiating, he gave them to him.  So we are here, but we don't plan to leave again unless it is for good.  

Johnsons have been serving here for 18 months and are preparing to leave.  They spent the best part of two weeks teaching us about their projects, the people they having been using to help them, and how to find our way home.

Once we get there, and up to the 5th or 6th floor, this is the view of the city, many buildings 20 or more stories tall. 

 The Catholic school behind, a busy place.  We often hear them singing or playing soccer.

In Bujumbura, we woke up to choirs of birds singing at the top of their lungs!  Here we wake up to shoe shine boys and car wash cries.  The guys with the shoe shine kits have wooden blocks they click to get your attention.  There is one guy, (I haven't been able to spot which one yet) who is calling out something like "Botay" over and over.  Almost non stop for hours.

 Just North of the Plaza is the commuter train station.  At about 7 a.m. the people flow from there across the plaza to go into the city to work.

 Just under us is the bus station where people are always sitting waiting or catching a bus.  Sometimes there are ten full size buses there, and sometimes none.  The little blue buses we mention later are on the other side of the plaza.

 Speaking of home........... The apartment we were first moved into was the "break 'em in" apartment.  There were many less desirable qualities in that apartment which we won't enumerate which  tended to generate in us a great appreciation for future places!

After the Johnsons left for America and the Office couple moved to the Mission Home complex, the church asked us to move upstairs to #6.

 Number 6 is nearer to heaven than #5 in more ways than altitude.  Take a look!  Lovely living area with a big carpet we took from Johnson's apartment.

A wonderful dining area overlooking the Plaza 30 June

A nice sized kitchen with a working oven and lots of light on the counters.

An office complete with internet, a sewing machine and space for a makeshift easel!

Spacious bedroom with a view of the city, a carpet, dresser drawers and a fan plus AC.

A study nook in the living room with a bookcase and a table for Rummikub.  So perfect!

 The view of the Plaza is very intriguing in the daytime.......................

 But especially so at night!!!!  It's like the Bellagio Dancing Waters complete with music from America!  Celine Dion sings here every night!

Changing formations and colors..................................

 Johnsons sponsored a nice event to celebrate the closing of their project to renew the Plaza.  They repaired benches and tile etc.   It was followed by a dinner at the Beatrice Hotel next door.  The Menu offered an opportunity to try Chenille -- pronounced  "sha nee" but better known to us as caterpillars.  Of course, David tried them and found them "a little rubbery."

We had the honor of sitting next to the Maestro of the Kimbanguiste Orchestra and Symphony, and his wife.  This man has created a miracle!  He was laid off from his job as a pilot and decided to start an orchestra!  He had no instruments, or money to buy them, but started small and worked hard.  Now he has over 200 musicians including orchestra and choir.   60 Minutes did a special on his achievements titled  "Joy in the Congo -- a Musical Miracle".

On the way to the office, you can have your shoes shined, tire fixed, hair cut, or buy groceries almost without leaving your car.

 To have a barbershop all you need is a stool, a pair of clippers, and a long extension cord.  The sidewalk is a good place!

 Here's the tire shop..........

Have your shoes shined!

 Breakfast anyone?

Many people walk with a large basket of bread on their heads.  If you want a sandwich, they will lift it down, cut a roll, spread it with (I don't know - mayo?) and put something inside.  Voila! Sandwich! 

Public transport comes in many sizes, shapes and degrees of convenience and comfort.  These blue buses could be at the bottom of the list but they are packed.  I mean four across and someone on your lap on a wooden bench.  

 What do you think?  They need to redistribute the load?

 These push carts are everywhere.  The loads they carry on bicycles and by hand in Bujumbura are carried with these large wheelbarrow type carts in Kinshasa.

On the "beach" of the Congo river just a short walk from our apartment, the African prints are being sold.  They are all in 6 yard pieces and about three different levels of quality.  I love fabric!  These are beautiful and all cotton. (Made in China)

 I am curious about this man who sleeps and walks with these little bags always tied to his person.

Traffic is close, and I mean close.  Sometimes, it is inches between vehicles.

Egg salesman just like in Burundi, but not the same. If you can do this with 10 or more dozen eggs (boiled), that is using your head!

Common street scenes off of the main avenue.

See the gray line across the background?  That is the opposite side of the Congo River -- Brazzaville!
The atmosphere is much like this every day.

We attended a committee meeting for one of the Humanitarian Projects the Johnsons supervised.  Our coming made it possible for them to submit and get approved 10 new wells.  The lack of potable water is one of the biggest problems in the city. 
  For each set of wells, a committee is elected.  Three people take care of the money that is collected and order repairs and maintenance for the well.  

This group included landowners and pumpers as well as the contractor, and the committee.  We were asked to speak to the group.  Thankfully Felix at Elder Van's left is a great translator. 

 Romans 8: 16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

                                                                     Are we not all children?

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