Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reflections of our arrival and first look into the sights and sounds of the Congo

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here at the Diengenga mission station.  It's 6:30am here and we are looking forward to another incredible day.

Believe it or not access to the internet is limited when you are in the Congo.  Who would have figured that? But, here we are.  I am sitting on the porch of the guest house listening to the roosters and other birds, seeing activity beginning to come about, including three women that just disappeared around a house with their buckets.  They are on their way to fetch their daily water.

Reflecting to the first day:

The entire trip went well.  Our worries about packing, oversize/overweight baggage were just that - worries.  We used every available ounce of space and weight and all the bags arrived safely, all the way to Lodja.  We went around the world to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, through Chicago, Brussels, and Douala and through it all the only delay we had was in getting out of Austin, Texas.

Our stay in Kinsasha was brief but impacting.  Kinsasha is a huge fast paced city of about 3 million people.  The conditions for the masses are extremely tough.  Very little infrastructure and rampant chaos.  We stayed at the Methodist Protestant Hostel (MPH).  We met several people from Austin believe it or not, including those that are dedicating their lives to the Congolese people.

We spent the day with David Law, Paul's older brother (Appointment Congo).  We began at the foundry where David was looking into to see if the old rams (pump for the project) could be repaired.   Unfortunately, the picture did not tell the story as the foundry needs the actual product to determine if they can repair them.  David will need to arrange shipment of the parts for analysis.  We traveled the city, moving in and out with eyes wide open.  We ate at ECC, where we dined on rice and beans and chicken.  This was our first meal outside of what I consider a controlled environment.  It tasted good and the best news is it went down and never came back up.  It is all good.

We then headed to the flour mill.  The process to buy a 50lb. bag of flour was not as simple as you may think.  We went to the Central Police Station.  Not something that most sensible people would think to do but there we were nonetheless.  David needed to get paperwork done so there we were.  After that we visited our first grocery store to puchase some water.  The cost of the water was about as much as it is in the States.  What we spent on 3 bottles of water probably was more then the checkout girl made in a day.  Then off to the ship yard where David is supervising the building of a couple of boats.

Seeing David's gas gauge on empty was a little disconcerting.  When I asked David how we are doing on gas he said, "we're low." Seeing as we were traversing this huge chaotic city and going into areas that most tourists do not find themselves in we were a tad nervous.  Thankfully funny man David was just messing with me as the truth is that the gauge was broken and he had just filled up the day before.  Breathing easier once again, we continued on our errands.

The sights and sounds of Kinsasha... I am still processing all that we saw and did.  We continue to trust that God is in control and He will continue to reveal Himself to us as we move around this amazing place in His world.

Tomorrow we are off to Lodja.  Can't wait.
God Bless,
Phil and Kip
(transcribed by Diane)

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