Friday, July 2, 2010
Day one in the Congo
Today has been a great day. We got up this morning at 6:00 having gotten ten hours of good sleep despite a somewhat warm room when we went to bed. We had a breakfast of pancakes and fresh oranges. We left our house and Paul called for a bus to take us to Jean Baptistes house or at least as close as you could get. A bus in the Congo is a 15 seat mini van with 6 rows of wooden benches in it and you squeeze as many people as you can into it. The ride was unlike anything you will experience in Canada, no lines, no traffic lights, no speed limit and most of your signalling is done by using your horn and having a person standing in the open sliding door of the van signalling where we are going. When we wanted to get off the bus Paul banged on the wall and yelled at the driver to stop. Then after a five minute walk down a sloping narrow path we arrived at Jean's house. We were greeted with open arms by his him and the rest of his family. This was the last day of school so we attended the graduation ceremonies of two of his children. This was a very special event for the kids and they had speeches and performed some plays and did some singing. They were all dressed up in a myriad of colorful clothing. We seemed to be a bit of a hit for all the kids because of our white skin. After the ceremony we returned to Jean's home and had a wonderful lunch made up of chicken, rice, potatoes, fried plantain, foo foo, beans and fresh bananas. We topped this off with a cold Coke and orange Fanta. We then spent the rest of the afternoon fellowshipping with Jean and his family. We also had a fun soccer game with Jean and his kids while Brazil was playing Netherlands in the World Cup.
Our ride back was an experience. We again rode on a bus but this time the exhaust was coming right into the back of the bus, we had up to 34 people in this small space and we got into a major jam when someone in front of us ran out of gas and a big tourist bus tried to get thru a space to small for him to fit. After 10 minutes of trying to move vehicles around we finally created enough space for the bus and were able to proceed home. Oh and by the way did I mention that there was no air conditioning on the bus. Just imagine 34 bodys crammed together in that small a space in +90 degree temperatures. It has been a wonderful first full day here, seeing the city and the people firsthand. The people are freindly and welcoming despite not having a whole lot of material wealth. We thank God for his protection getting here and that we are all off to a healthy start. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we meet different people from the church and establish relationships with them. Pray also for continued health and the ability to get a good nights sleep.