Monday, January 31, 2011
Posted by Kriss Gates
posted by Amy I promised my siblings that I would document my life in Africa with Mom and Dad. I know that each of them would love to be here with them. I will do my best to show you all what a week is like in life as a senior missionary couple. I arrived in the Congo at 7:20 local time. When I exited I went through their version of customs. I was very nervous with many thoughts going through my head of “Not without my Daughter” and it didn’t help that they kept my passport. They had me fill out a paper with my info but it was a quarter sheet of paper and copied with a copier that needed toner badly so I couldn’t read what they wanted me to put down in some of the lines. I filled it out as best as possible and got in line. From the line I could see though the door, Mom and Dad. I felt much better about things. I gave the customs man my passport and that is when he kept it and I panicked just a bit. I then walked a few more steps to the door way that I could see Mom and Dad though and gave another lady my yellow fever shot record. The I went through the door to my parents. It was so great to see them. First reaction when I saw them: Mom is tan and Dad is skinny. Mom has a healthy glow about her with a light bronzed feel to her face. Dad is skinny but smiles all the time. We picked up the bags and went out the door. It was hot…hot…Africa hot! I came from Paris where it was 0 degrees so I had on black long pants. I had to change out of those before I left the airport. I grabbed my Capri’s and headed for the bathroom to change. The door was locked and there was a local ready to open it for me but wanted money I only had my pants in my hand and showed him that I didn’t have any money, just capris and he just opened the door to let me in. We first went to the house to drop off the bags. Then on to run our errands. Everything you do here takes TIME. You need to travel everywhere you go as does everyone else. There are tons of people. When I thought of Africa, I thought of Madagascar with huts. This is more like India with darker skin. 90% of the cars on the streets were taxis painted a fun bright blue. About 5% are buses which are vans also painted the same bright blue. The roads are mostly dirt but select ones are paved. When I say paved roads, don’t think that they have paint lines or that they regular roads. You know in the movie Cars when Lighting fixes the road the first time and it is all bumpy? That would be a nice compared to what they have here. Again, most of the roads are dirt. They get a lot of rain so the dirt roads are more like dune buggy race tracks. There are huge holes and dips everywhere. To call the holes potholes would be kind. They are craters in the roadway. Try to remember if you can the first time going on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. How bumpy that ride was. Let’s just say Disney did a great job recreating how these road feel. Keep in mind, when you ride a scary ride for the first time, once in a while you remind yourself, “This is a ride, it is perfectly safe. I am not going to die here at Disneyland. They wouldn’t have death trap ride here.” You cannot think that here. In fact, you think the opposite. There are no lines on the road to signify which side is yours and which side belongs to the other. There is basicly two lanes one going each way, then there are turns which you kind of use both lanes if you want turn but then if you are using someone else’s lane, they will just go around or on the sidewalk to go where you want to go. There is more to say but I need to figure out the right words to use because death trap doesn’t quite seem to fit but it is close. More things to write about: Push push “fast food” Traffic Market Craft market Appels Unfinished houses Pizza and diet sprite Visa Internet Mom and Dad relationship and interaction Mom and Dad speak French FHE #1 and #2 (That’s right!) Africa food storage BYOS (bring your own spoon) I will talk about all of these in future posts. Right now I need to shower and get ready for study time.