Saturday, March 31, 2007

At the speed of years

Today marks my official one year anniversary with War Child Holland, and about three weeks from now is the one year mark of my arrival in DR Congo. During my first couple of months here I couldn't wait to leave; now I've just signed the contract for my second year without a second thought. A young French woman, recently arrived to work with one of the big international NGOs, lasted about three weeks. Apparently the last straw was a trip to Kinshasa where she got stuck at the airport due to the fighting in the city that killed an estimated 600 people. That would probably do it for me to! I have no intention to go to Kin (as the city is known here), and fortunately don't see any reason why I would need to. There is no support here in Bukavu for the former vice-president at the root of the problems, so life here remains calm, relatively speaking - and it's all relative. This morning we have the usual problems - a couple of visiting colleagues stuck at the Rwanda border over a visa issue; another colleague called in to the local national security office (a very scary place) for questioning (he's just reappeared at our office, I'm happy to say). And it's only Saturday morning! But I do wish the French woman had stuck it out long enough to find out it's not really that bad. The most vivid image in my mind from the past few weeks is of a motorcycle-taxi driver in town. With passenger perched behind, dark glasses on his face, his head was adorned with a set of clean white fluffy rabbit ears, the large perky kind with the pink satin lining that a young girl might wear to a costume party. That really was my laugh for the day. Sorry no photo, but you'll just have to imagine this oh-so-cool young lad on the motorbike with his fluffy white rabbit ears!

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