After a long day of work, I am invited to dinner by the Spanish, Belgian and Philipino sisters. We have delicious wild boar (Sanglier) with home-grown tomatoes, onions and garlic.
We talk about the difficulties of the field (a perennial favorite) and a sister remembers the Rwandese soldiers pillaging the village. She and the Bishop had to flee to the forest for a month, fed surreptitiously by villagers. She decided to stay behind to continue working in the hospital and ended treating as many villagers and wounded Rwandese soldiers. She’s been in the Congo for the better part of 30 years.
We also discuss politics (another perennial favorite) and evaluate Presidential candidates which include the daughter of Kasa Vubu (first president in the early 1960s), the son of Mobutu (the nerve!) and of course Kabila the Father’s son.
I heartily admire a little carved, sitting stool they own. The Belgian sister grabs it from the wall where it is hanging, dusts it off, and thrusts it towards me as a farewell gift. I’m embarrassed by this generous gesture but can’t resist accepting nonetheless.
(A family of dogs lying in the grass in front of an office, the view of Kole when coming in from the road in the forest, the Belgian sister dusting off her old carved stool)
On the way back from the sisters place by motorcycle, I crane my neck for 15 mins just taking into the sky. Though the depth perception is amazing at night with no lights around, the heavens feel low and all encompassing. I catch glimmers of palm trees and rarely lit mud houses when the motorcycle beams hit the sandy road ahead of us.