April 02, 2006

Strange Moods

A lot of the sewers in the large cities here are remnants of the Belgian period. These were all constructed prior to or around the 1960s. As you can imagine, they are not closed, underground sewers; rather they are wide ditches along one side of the road, protected by square stones around the edges. They are rather formidable constructions and a lot of them are still intact. Perhaps Mobutu invested in their rehabilitation along the way too. Now, they are mostly half-filled with detritus that people leave along the way. Once in a while before the rainy season comes, people gather piles of the sewage-gunk and set fire to it. This frees up some space to let the water drain into it. Largely ineffective, the water still overflows and seep onto the paved roads, forming whole swimming pools of stagnant water.

Last week, a colleague of mine was late because a dead body turned up in one of the city sewers, leading the driver to join the crowd of gawkers around the open ditch. I've been thinking about this ever since, with a kind a fascinated horror. With the semi-drunken talks of bombings and wars a few nights ago; I dreamt I lived in a post apocalyptic city last night. It was filled with rumble and dust. A graying body was floating in the city sewer, smelling worst than I've ever experienced before (and this was only in my dream).

A friend says she's been having near constant headaches for a few weeks now, possibly owing to the change of barometric pressure that comes with the start of the rainy season. At times like these, I just want to stay home, curled up in a ball, eating thin soup and watching the Corpse Bride.

For some excellent posts (in french) and great pictures of the city and the rain, I highly recommend Cedric's blog, a Congolese young man living in Kinshasa:
La pluie. un cauchemar pour beaucoup de Kinois
La pluie à Kinshasa bénédiction ou malédiction ?
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Piscines publiques

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Carl said...

The drainage channel across from our house is filled with little bitty fish, hundreds and hundreds of them, along with plastic bags and broken flip-flops.

I wonder if the people are raising those fish on purpose.

verniciousknids said...

What an awful dream...it makes me sad that this is reality for so many people in the world.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I don't think I've ever smelled anything in a dream.
I like Corpse Bride too :)

TheMalau said...

Well don't worry Lady D, the only corpse you'll get in your canuveaux, will be from some rabid dog...