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Vision Trip: Part 2

November 13, 2012

We landed without any sickness in Kikongo to another welcoming party, though this one was for us.  It seemed most of the village kids had come by to welcome us and immediately grabbed our bags and took them away to the house where we would be staying.  It was very helpful.  Glen and Rita welcomed us and showed us the house.  The house had three bedrooms, plus an office, a living and dining area, and a great kitchen with a large pantry.  The fridge, which was propane, had been turned on for us, water had started to filter, and the flush water bin was filling.  The propane stove was luxurious with four burners.  The house doesn’t have electricity, but the 12v system run off solar panels provided lights at night.  The water was a rain catchment system, though it didn’t provide a lot of pressure, the house had been set up well for it.

Kikongo

We strategically picked out rooms for sleeping.  We would put Amelia in the pack-and-play in the closet with a mattress for a door.  The foot-tall gap at the top would provide ideal airflow, while blocking out noise and light.  Levi would get the top bunk in our room and we would get the small water bed below.  Except for Levi’s bunk bed, all of the beds were water beds.  You find this a lot in interior Congo for several reasons: they pack well, local mattresses are just foam pieces and not at all comfortable, and they keep you cool.  Actually, in the morning coolness, they are downright chilly!  However, this one was tiny and the mosquito net didn’t provide a lot of clearance around the edges, so it wasn’t ideal, but it worked just fine.

Our neighbors made this arch to welcome us

This billy goat lived behind our guest house

Once we were settled, we headed down to the river.  It was quite the little hike through the jungle, but the river was gorgeous.  It was swollen at the moment, so any river side had been flooded.  However, most everyone jumped right in and Levi finally got used to it.  It was a bit deep for my comfort level, so I just dunked my feet and watched.  There was a lady doing her laundry in the river right there and chattering away with Rita.  The local language is called Kituba.  It sounds similar to Lingala, but has only a few words in common.  Thankfully, hello is one of them: mbote (mmm-BOH-teh)!  French is also spoken, but not as much as in Kinshasa.

After the river and the hike back to the house, Rita brought us a light dinner and I put Amelia to bed.  Nick, Matthew and Nicole went out to see Glen’s toy: a parachute plane.  Nick and Nicole got rides during the calm dusk hours.  Glen uses it as a ministry tool to get between villages.  He has managed to rig it so that he can carry all of his A/V equipment and show the Jesus film in villages who wouldn’t otherwise have any access to such things.  It’s faster than biking, though he does a lot of that, too, and more fun!

A bit later, after dark, Nick, Matthew, and Nicole went out for the Friday night movie.  Glen sets up his screen, projector, and speakers to show fun movies.  This one was called Buddy, with muppets.  Jocelyn and I stayed behind to stay out of the bugs and make sure the kids would sleep in this new location.  We enjoyed some girl chat and Oh Canada tea – yep, it tasted like maple syrup!

The guys and Nicole came back and did some star gazing.  The thing about the entire village being void of any power is that there is no ambient light once you’re away from the house.  It’s just vast darkness.

I did interrupt the star gazing at one point when I discovered a new creature in the kitchen sink: a scorpion!  It was tiny, but got pretty fierce as he realized this was it for him.

Finally, it was time to turn in and try to sleep.  It was so dark, and there were no man-made noises, but I would not call it quiet.  Those bugs are LOUD!  However, after such a long day at Vanga and Kikongo, we were too tired to care.

The next morning, Amelia and Levi were up early and we were ready to see Kikongo.  Matthew and I snuck away (alone!) to go see Glen’s early morning rides in his parachute plane, but there was already a breeze and he couldn’t go up again after his test flight.  So, Rita gave us a tour of their house and grounds.  They are animals lovers like us and have many chickens, a hornbill named Bill (his mother’s name was Hillary – ha!), and a couple of forest antelope.  They are like mini deer!

Rita also has befriended a clawless otter and become its caregiver.  Once though extinct, but have been found to be in good population, the otters are still a rare site.  This one lives at their house and Rita helps the people in the village understand not to kill and eat it, like they do most wildlife.  This otter is truly amazing and the stories and pictures I saw are priceless.  Rita is like the Jane Goodall of this clawless otter!

The forest antelope is just right for Levi

Glen and Rita’s house

One of the coolest flowers I’ve ever seen

After we returned to the house, Glen gathered us up and we went on a tour of Kikongo.  We saw the market, which was very small compared to Vanga.  We toured the hospital, and their lab, as well as seeing the schools and the pastoral college that Rita’s grandfather built.

The lab tracks Sleeping Sickness, which is very common in surrounding villages

If you were ever in lab school, you used one of these to measure the hematocrit

I have NO idea what this is…

The lab staff, and one doctor, were very happy to have us come. They even asked me to look into fixing an instrument for them, but I was unable to help.

We headed back home for a quick lunch and some rest time for the kiddos (and the adults, of course).  We were at the heat of the day after lunch and couldn’t wait to go cool off down at the river.  Lucky for us, Glen had a motor boat!

The market in Kikongo

Found in the market in Kikongo…I am pretty sure they don’t know what Angry Birds is

They had a radio playing in the market…and this was its power

Rita coming out of the food market

Fueling station! (essence = gas)

Amelia had a young gentleman caller

MAF plane lookin’ good on the runway

Part 3…where I let my three-year-old float freely down a river in Congo and other such adventures…coming soon

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