That night, I stay at the sisters’ house where the dinner is taken communally. Though I have a little room much like any other in a Congo nunnery, this is definitely a high end convent: the place houses 17 sisters with constant guests that come from NGOs, locals who go there for dinner and Congolese visiting sisters. Four of the sisters are European, one of which (originally from the Iles de la Madeleine in Canada) has been in Congo since 1965. Having spent more time in Congo than anywhere else, she has not been able to register for voting since she doesn’t have Congolese nationality.
A group of 20 people sit around the television to watch French news on TV5. Images of the painful Gaza strip withdrawal, the privatization of France’s roads, soap car races in a Paris park, celebration of Australia in a local zoo (drawing hoos and haas at the sight of a baby Kangaroo) and Dom Juan playing at the theater. It’s so odd knowing that I am in the middle of seemingly nowhere and television connects sisters who have never left their village to people from all over the world. French news seems so irrelevant and dramatic here yet it’s comforting to know that the outside world is still spinning. I wish I could switch the polarity of the television so that the newscaster and French families sitting on their couches could see the sisters watching them with avid eyes.
I feel like I’m in college again.