Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crazy Day in Kananga

In May Kristi made a post regarding a “typical day” in Kananga.  As she noted, life here is invariably unpredictable.  There is great need for patience and flexibility.  I will describe last Friday, July 27th.  Hopefully this post will give you another “picture” of our life here.  The times given are approximate. 

6:50 am  In the middle of morning devotions we hear a knock at the door.  It is Mamu Anna, the wife of our night guard.  Their daughter is scheduled for surgery this morning in Tshikaji, a long, bumpy, 15 kilometer ride from Kananga.  They were originally told they could travel with the hospital workers, but this morning they are turned away.  They ask for our prayers and help.  I call the hospital administrator, Bernard Kabibu, and explain the situation.  He encourages me to come to PAX (the hospital’s clinic in Kananga) with the family and wait.  We pray with the family below our apartment, and then I walk to PAX with Mamu Anna and Rita.  Bernard arrives.  He calls me over and makes room for Rita and her Mom on the worker-bus for Tshikaji.

7:30am  Everyone on the main street stops and respectfully watches the raising of the Congolese flag.  I wait at PAX to see the worker-bus set off for Tshikaji.   

8:55 am  After finishing devotions, prayer and breakfast, I head off to the bank to get funds for our next month and money for two new tires for the Land Cruiser.  Kristi heads to IMPROKA (CPC Print Press) to access and print a document from the internet for our 10am meeting.   

9:40 am  Having finished at the bank, I head for our office.  Quickly I call Kristi to ask her if she has seen Pastor Mboyamba at IMPROKA as we would like to connect with him.  She tells me that she didn’t see him, and that the internet is down so she couldn’t access and print the document.  I suggest that I go to a nearby internet cafe to try printing the document.  She agrees.  She informs me she has gone to pay our internet bill at the Micro-Com office.  She is on her way to the CAA office (airline) to inquire about tickets for an out-of-town visitor. 

10:10am  Having successfully accessed and printed the document, I walk to our office and try calling Mboyamba along the way.  No answer.  I also swing by his office.  He is not there.  I meet Kristi at our office for our meeting with Pastor Mukenge (who hasn’t arrived).  We call him and he arrives shortly thereafter.  We discuss with him a strategy for selling Christian literature which our department has recently purchased.   

11am  Kristi and I meet to discuss the program for the upcoming Conseil (Board Meeting) for our three Pastoral Institutes.  Pastor Mboyamba calls from Tshikaji to inform me that he cannot make our meeting the following day due to the graduation at UPRECO, the Presbyterian university/seminary.  He says he can meet us today at 2pm.  Kristi was planning to attend a meeting on a women’s justice program at 2:30 and our day is already full, but we decide this meeting with Pastor Mboyamba is important and we will make it work.

11:50am  Kristi and I go home to pray as we had planned.  We eat a little something around twelve thirty.  I send some important emails.   

1pm  Kristi and Ruth head to the governor’s office to deliver letters to James, an American friend.  He will give the letters to a group from Indiana who leave Monday.  Pastor Mukenge and I go to IMPROKA to pick up 250 copies of the “Dilongolola” (CPC’s Book of Order) which they had promised would be ready.  I greet Tatu Alan.  He tells me that they aren’t ready because of an order placed by the General Secretary which needs immediate action.  “Return Monday,” they tell us.  Slightly frustrated, we return back to 16 Lac Fwa (where we live).  Pastor Mukenge goes to deliver some important documents on behalf of our department.   

1:35pm  I sit on the balcony of our 2nd story apartment and work on some scripture I have memorized, enjoying fifteen minutes of peace. 

1:55pm  I head out the door for our meeting only to be greeted by Theo, “the bread guy.”  As I buy some bread, Kristi calls to tell me she is running late. 

2:20pm  I sit at the office alone for fifteen minutes.  Kristi arrives.  I call Pastor Mboyamba.  He tells me that he can’t make the meeting because he is still in Tshikaji at the Board Meeting for the hospitals.  He says he will stop by this evening.  I tell him we have guests this evening, but he can stop by briefly.  Sitting on the steps of our office, tired and frustrated, we wonder what to do.  We decide to call Pastor Mukenge and commence with the meeting.  He arrives shortly thereafter.  We meet with him for twenty minutes to discuss the program for the Conseil for the Pastoral Institutes.  

3pm  Kristi and I head home because we have guests arriving at 5pm.  I lay down for 20 minutes.  Kristi helps Tatu Muanda with the food preparation.  Pastor Mboyamba arrives, to our surprise.  He tells us he didn’t want to come when we had guests.  I sit with him for twenty minutes.  It is a productive time of connecting and planning.

4pm  I head out to a local restaurant with five empty soda bottles.  I buy seven 30-ounce bottles of orange soda for the evening festivities. 

5pm  Our guests arrive.  We are hosting a friend and her siblings for dinner.  Marthe has just finished her bachelor’s program in medicine.  Kristi went to see her successfully defend her “memoire” (final dissertation) on Wednesday.  She passed with great adulation!  Tonight we will celebrate.  Pastor Kabue, a mutual friend, joins us.  We had expected as many as 6-8 guests, but only 4 are able to come.  Marthe and two children from her deceased older brother arrive, along with Pastor Kabue.  We have a fun, relaxing evening after a long day.  We enjoy a classic Congolese meal of bidia (corn flower and cassava flour cooked with water), goat meat, potato leaves, fried sweet potatoes, beans and rice.  After stuffing ourselves, we enjoy lots of “bako” (orange soda). 

8:30pm  Kristi sends an important email.  I rest on the couch.  A few minutes later I bring in Jackoo and we go to bed early!  :)     

Marthe celebration with Kristi
Dinner in honor of Marthe, second from left

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