Monday, December 29, 2008

Dancing In the Streets

While I was sick, very “inconveniently” for me, there was a loud, raucous party that went on literally until daybreak. The night rattled with sounds of drunk people making their way down the streets and the dull *thud thud thud* of heavy drumming reverberated through my sleepy head.

Ugh, I thought to myself. Do they have to party when I am trying to recuperate?

You could hear people calling out, and the rhythmic drumming beat changed up but was no less energetic. It seemed too like it was next door. I had never remembered seeing a discotecque opening up in our neighbourhood! There was even the nightclub “tweet tweet” of that guy who has the whistle and keeps time with the music. What gave!

Adam and I laughed as we recalled our infamous night with Fred at STEREO in New York. But we also grimaced at being woken up in the middle of nowhere not by some loud obnoxious bird, but by a loud party? Where were we? New York?

When the morning finally came (and they all went home) I went to consult Polycarpe, my sage ear in all things Congolese.

“Yagh!” I said annoyedly. “Did you hear all of that makalele (lingala for ”noise“) in the night?”

“Yes,” he said gravely, looking what I took to be annoyed. “That poor man who died!”

It was not annoyance, but sadness because this disco was not a disco, but a funeral party.

It’s times like these where I realize just how different our two cultures are. That all I can do is try to jot down the differences, but to understand the IDEA of an all-night disco funeral party? The concept is beyond me!

Or take, for example, the police who sing and dance together in the morning, nearly every morning out in front of the station, which we can see from the house. It’s absolutely beautiful to listen to -- they sing in elaborate harmonies, a mellifluous blend of deep men’s voices that just sounds natural and elegant at the same time.

But they’re not singing for their next recital; they’re singing for moral and cohesiveness as a military unit. Which boggles my mind.

It did make us laugh a little too, as we discussed what they must be singing and harmonizing about.

“Guns without bullets, maybe?”

“Oooh, how about the thrill of getting to bully and extort people for money!”

“I know! I know! It’s a sad song about working for 100 days without ever getting paid by the government!”

... We’re so cynical, and so mean, but maybe after reading this far into the journal, you can see why!

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