The Beauty of Congo

Monday, March 05, 2012

Well we have officially passed our 5 month anniversary of being ‘official’ missionaries in the DR Congo. (I know 6 is the usual one but 5’s a good number too :-P)

In those 5 months we have done many new things and many things that I would probably do in some fashion or another if I was still in Canada. But the majority of ‘unofficial’ time has been spent trying to figure out where we fit in this big world of aviation and of missions. We have made many mistakes and I hope I can say with the agreement of others that we have had successes as well.

 
As we live in Kinshasa DRC, which is a city of approx 8-12 million people (big spread I know) because this is such a big centre there is a very large international community we have had to privilege of getting involved in a international youth group which includes kids from all over the world as well as from here in Congo.

Every year they do a youth retreat for the youth group here so to choose a place to do it so a couple of weeks ago us and a fellow youth leader took a drive out of Kinshasa into the country side! Now Nick gets out all the time and is able to visit little villages but this was my first trip outside of the crazy city of Kinshasa and how it was wonderful it was. The Congo is really a very beautiful place. Nick gets out all the time and is able to visit little villages



We drove 2 hours and arrived at our first destination a WWF funded botanical gardens and it was HUGE! I have heard that anything will grow in the Congo but I was quite amazed they have brought almost every type of tree from around the world and planted them here and I’m not to sure if any failed to grow.

 
Then on we went to ‘les grottes’, which are some cave systems that apparently run on for hundreds and hundreds of miles. It was quite the off roading adventure to finally arrive at the mouth of the caves where we were greeted by several men and were informed that it was going to be 100$ for us to take a tour of the caves and 10$ for every camera you bring inside… 100$!!!! Whatttt, Nick tried to negotiate and found out that no matter how many people you bring it is 100$, so if you bring 40 or just 3 its 100$ (which is good to know for our youth retreat) But no matter how hard we tried we did not get the price down, the man even had a document saying that it was 100$ according to the government or something like that. Haha so we told him we would pay afterward and off we went for our 100$ cave adventure, we hiked about 1 kilometer into this cave… which reminded me a little bit of a under ground kingdom, it was HUGE, high ceilings and hundreds of kids names written all over the walls (its not a very preserved cave.)

To be able to make it back to town before midnight we started to make our way back to Kinshasa, the drive was beautiful… up until we got into Kinshasa, where we hit traffic… and lots of it.

 
Drivers here are crazy! Well I guess there just really arnt any rules and no one really listens to the police. So if people here see any stretch of road that does not have a car on it they feel like it is their right to drive there, even if it on the other side of the road, or a side walk… or a ditch really anywhere you can fit you car… 

So this evening the problem was that there was a box truck that must have gotten a flat tire facing the wrong direction in the middle of the lane, with all the tires taken off. If your car breaks down here, you just leave it right were it broke down, no need to push it off to the side or something. So anyways this is a major road, which is the only road out of Kinshasa in this direction, so there are lots of semis and other vehicles as well and it was down to one lane of traffic. However us vehicles 5km back had no idea about this issue, and because of the felt need to fill up all road space when people driving into town saw there was not traffic leaving town they would drive down the other side of the road so that at this one area beside the box truck was suddenly the conversion of 2 lanes on each side of ‘one way’ traffic… needless to say no one was going to move first… So after sitting in the car for about an hour Nick and our friend (who are both very tall men) decided that they would go and help direct traffic.

 
So off they went to find this wonderful situation happening and everyone just standing around looking at each other. They then recruited 4 police, 1 army general in a suit and a young teenage boy that came up and ask Nick and our friend if they were ‘experts’ and was very surprised and excited when they told him that he would help if he wanted to. During that time they pushed several cars out of the way and push started several others. By the time I got to them they were having the time of their lives and stated that they now know what to do on a Saturday night if they are bored.  One of the things that our friend realized was that when he was first trying to direct traffic he was just telling people what to do but then had this God thought of thanking them for their cooperation and telling them how much he appreciated them and he said that the responses from people changed immediately, it was like they didn’t know what to do with being thanked but they stopped yelling as much and did what they were asking them to do…  We are interesting, humans I mean, arn’t we? When we truly put into practice, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ how even the most belligerent people stop and recognize that a need deep in their soul as been fulfilled.  



So now the youth retreat finally tomorrow, hopefully we have better traffic :-)


3 comments

  1. The Congo sounds crazy:) Great post guys! Wish I could have seen Nick takin' care of business & makin' the roads safe and orderly :)

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  2. Hello Freys, we are the Scotts, and we are headed to Kinshasa soon from northern British Columbia. We don't know exactly when we'll be going because we are waiting for our sons' passports to be issued, but it "should" be in the next couple weeks.

    Any chance you'd be free to get together while we're there? We'd also like to find a church to go to, most likely 2 weekends, any recommendations? And since Nick flies in and out of small communities, are there supplies that we can bring that just can't be found there?

    Donna & Ian
    www.the-scotts.info/apps/blog/

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  3. Hey we would love to get together, add me on facebook or send me a message at ohsnapptii@gmail.com

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