We have been asked several times to describe a “typical day” in Kananga. Two of the key themes of life in Kananga are “unpredictability” and “flexibility”, so it is hard to really describe a typical day. But, as an attempt, I will describe the events of one day, Tuesday, May 8, as they really happened.
6:00AM – The alarm goes off. We both had trouble sleeping, so we decide to sleep in a bit.
6:40AM- We roll out of bed and start our “morning routine”: start the charcoal fire, prepare water for tea and showers to be boiled, take Jackoo (our parrot) out to the balcony, etc. Usually we are up by 6:15, but today we are a little slow. There was a late-night choir practice, a prayer meeting, and some rain during the night that kept us up.
7:15AM – We do our morning devotions together – read the Mission Yearbook, several Bibles passages, and pray
8:00AM – We have breakfast: tea, bread, and a papaya. During breakfast, I (Kristi) get a call from Pastor Charlotte about scheduling a meeting later in the day. Bob tries calling Pastor Mboyamba about a meeting we had tentatively planned with him for the afternoon, but the call does not go through.
8:40AM – Pastor Mboyamba comes to the door. We learn that he is leaving this morning and will be gone all week, so our meeting will have to be rescheduled. He also asks us to go to a nearby synod meeting on Thursday with some church leaders.
9:00AM – Bob starts his shower (bucket bath, to be more accurate). I go to confirm with Ruth (our colleague and neighbor) the meeting with Pastor Charlotte for 1pm in the afternoon.
9:20AM – Bob, just out of the shower, throws on some clothes and runs out to catch Pastor Mboyamba before they leave with one urgent matter to be confirmed. Bob learns that the synod meeting might NOT be on Thursday, but another day.
9:40 – We sit down to review the changes in our schedule this week, and realize that we will really need to be flexible! We are hoping to attend an all-night prayer meeting Wednesday night, but are not sure if it will work with these schedule changes.
9:55 – We start our meeting to prepare for our annual review next week with our Regional Liaison and Africa Office Director. We do a performance evaluation, set objectives for the coming year, and complete a self-care assessment.
12:05 – We decide to break for lunch. My cold has gotten worse and we are both tired, so we need a mental break. I go to answer a knock on the door. Tatu Albert, one of our artist friends, pleads with us to buy something from him so that he can pay his child’s monthly school fee. We buy a small wooden duck.
12:20 – (in the middle of eating lunch) Tatu Sammy, one of the drivers, comes to the door and explains to Bob some arrangements with the vehicle for a trip later in the week. He requests to store a spare tire and some tools in our entry-way. Pastor Katujudi also comes to the door at the same time and asks Bob for an e-mail address. At the same time, Ruth comes over to ask that we confirm with our language teacher our lesson day for later in the week.
12:30 – Pastor Charlotte calls to confirm the place for our 1pm meeting and says she will arrive soon.
12:40 – We lay down for a 10 minute cat-nap.
12:50 – I go to Ruth’s for the meeting with Pastor Charlotte. We discuss a vision she has for educating women about basic health principles and alleviating malnutrition. Most days, Bob goes to the office in the afternoon, but Tuesday is his day for catching up on e-mails at home. He prepares to send out our newsletter and works on some other e-mails and documents.
2:30 – I return home, and take another 10-minute nap. The trouble sleeping last night has wiped me out!
2:50 – I leave for Improka (15 min walk) for a meeting to discuss an evaluation of a microfinance program in the church here that we are in the midst of. The CPC Department of Community Development is trying to add some structure to microfinance initiatives that have started in the church.
4:30 – I return home. I’m exhausted, so decide to take another small nap. Bob goes out to work in the garden for 30 minutes. After my nap, I go out to buy charcoal and a few things for dinner.
5:20 – We had planned to review Tshiluba at 4:30, but the day seemed a bit crazy and time got away. Bob starts reviewing some flash cards.
6:00 – Kristi starts preparing dinner. Vietnamese fried cabbage over rice tonight.
6:45 – We sit down to eat dinner
7:15 – Bob reads a book on the history of Presbyterian work in Congo, while Kristi takes down clothes from the clothes-line and boils drinking water.
7:45 - We have had some tension this evening between us, so we sit down to talk it out. Being tired makes both of us more irritable!
8:20 – We work together to get our April newsletter email sent. The internet connection is slow, so it takes awhile.
9:15 – Newsletter is sent! We wind down and start getting ready for bed. Bring the parrot inside, bring in the boiled water, etc.
9:30 – Good night! One of those days that we are thankful is done…hoping for good rest and more energy tomorrow!