October 05, 2005

Welcome back to the Congo

Alternative Title: How I got stuck on a ConAir flight

I just got back from break to Paris with the romantic walks on the polluted Seine and accidental steps in dog doodoo, Lyon that has the best food on earth (if you eat pig that is), and Chamonix in the mountains where the Mont Blanc is beautiful and stuff but doesn’t warrant a journey by telepheric when it feels like it’s -40ºC outside. At least not to a humanitarian worker who’s been living in perpetual summer for a year.

Anyways, with Congo far from my mind, I was able to relax and indulge is superfluous activities like a regular person such as shopping, stuffing my face and bicycling. La vie était belle.

Until I get on an Air France flight back to the Congo

--more to come on that, sorry am really overwhelmed right now :)--

******
Questions

Q1 "What inspired you to work in the 'developing world', particularly in the field of development?"--Kingston Girl
(incidentally did you know that I lived in Kingston, Ontario for 4 years?)
A1 What inspired me to work in the 'developing world' in development was my strong sense of guilt. I wish it were more heroic than that but it really isn't. I just felt awful watching starving children on TV while I was eating Snickers and Twix on a regular basis. I like the parentheses around the words developing world. I don't like the term 'developing world', I find it a bit condescending--as in we are waaay more developed than you guys are. I like it when people use the term 'rich countries' versus 'poor countries', it's a pretty honest rendition of the situation. I also like the term 'underserved countries' because the DRC has plenty of natural riches within its borders, it just misappropriates them.

Q2 "Do you have enough to read?"--Jean-Pierre
A2 No! I long for more books to read. Actually I'm a big whiner because I get two magazines a month. But it just sucks to be reading a review about the latest cool new novel in the New Yorker and not be able to buy it on the spot. Materialism be damned!

*****
DCveR thanks for posting on my map!

11 comments:

Ammo said...

Glad to see you're back online!

Garci said...

Hello 007! Im also in KIN, i've just found your blog, so im checking it out. I arrived here from lulu's one, so it seems there are more bloggers here than what I originally thought.

I write in spanish, but you can still visit me at http://trabajandoporahi.blogspot.com

Im sure we will be meeting sometime soon in Kinshasa.

Diego (garci)

Garci said...

Hello 007! Im also in KIN, i've just found your blog, so im checking it out. I arrived here from lulu's one, so it seems there are more bloggers here than what I originally thought.

I write in spanish, but you can still visit me at http://trabajandoporahi.blogspot.com

Im sure we will be meeting sometime soon in Kinshasa.

Diego (garci)

Black River Eagle said...

Good to see that you got a break from all of the madness down there. Paris huh? Nice town but you're right you gotta watch your step while admiring the architecture and street life.

I hope that you've gotten over the guilt trip re: your interest in doing development work in the DRC and elsewhere. As you certainly can see by now, this ain't your fault, not yours alone anyway.

Check with the U.S. or U.K. embassies on getting your hands on some English language books. They should at least have lists of the importers and distributors of English language books in Kishasa.

Welcome to the Congo sector of the Blogosphere Diego. Man, I gotta learn some basic Spanish and Portuguese and refresh my French language skills quick.

Carl said...

What does telepheric mean?

007 in Africa said...

Thanks Black River Eagle!

Carl, I was making a pathetic attempt at Anglocizing a French word. The telepherique is an enclosed ride take people from the bottom of the mountain to the top using cables over the terrain. What's that called again in real English?

Ammo said...

A cable car

Garci said...

007.... As for english books, I've had no luck finding them in Kinshasa.. except at the Brittish embassy's club -the oasis- where a free book exchange runs. Titles are not very new.... 1980 would be more appropiate, but you can certainly find good books once in a while. Maybe I can give you a hand on this... dont know how to get the books to you, but at least I can provide you a list.

Welcome back... (and I certainly want to know about the "con air")

Diego -Garci-

007 in Africa said...

Ammo, it's not a cable car because it doesn't run on roads...It's suspended in the air with cables.

Garci, thanks for the info. I am currently reading "In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz". Only the beginning but so well written, so fascinating. I know, I know, I need to update that lost post. Will do it soon.

Black River Eagle said...

Everything you ever wanted to know about téléphériques can be found at the Wikipedia open encyclopedia (Version Francaise).

I did find something online that may help with your lack of good reading material. National Public Radio has an interesting section on books called "Books" (imagine that!). Looks as if they have audio file downloads of excerpts from several interesting books, interviews with the authors and experts, and other good stuff.

If you have an MP3 player (Apple iPod, etc.) you're in business. You don't even need electricity for lighting as the players run on batteries. Of course, buying batteries on a regular basis can get expensive. Re-chargeables? I know that this can never replace the feel of a good book in your hands, but at least it's something.

Here's the link to NPR Books:
http://www.npr.org/templates/topics/topic.php?topicId=1032

...and to NPR Podcasts Directory:
http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_directory.php

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