Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Man With the Key (Continued Story)

Finally, after our demand, the reply to our demand, and extensive waiting, and some more waiting on top of that, we were approached by the CFU (the housing agency) to come and see the one house that they had available for rent.

Adam was with the baby so I left him behind and Polycarpe and I accompanied this man down a route I hadn’t yet travelled in Aketi -- a side route that, according to this man, used to be the main Belgian street.

And boy was it evident! Gorgeous houses lined this formerly landscaped road -- remnants of large flowering bushes and signposts and huge palm trees demarcated corners and intersections.

I even passed the BANK OF AFRICA -- which, sadly, is no longer full of workers and cash/commerce, but is instead now full of trees, vines, and I’d guess an assortment of lizards and rodents.

We finally came to a large compound interlaced with vines, but once obviously beautiful. Walking around the periphery, we came to another cluster of houses, nestled along the river amidst dense green tangles. And lo and behold, there was the abandoned Aketi Hotel -- and a gorgeous old abandoned swimming pool.

What a sight to see!

The house itself, however, was less than beautiful, and despite having been lived in recently, it looked far more dilapidated than its years. Windows cracked and filthy, some of them obscured by dirty bricks, some interior walls clearly riddled with bullet holes, the house had definitely seen better days.

When approaching the door, the man from CFU proclaimed that he had forgotten the key to the house in the office, and asked if we would wait for him to go and retrieve it.

So Polycarpe and I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

After some 45 minutes, the man returned, his face grim!

“The key is with another man,” he explained. “And he... is gone.”

Foiled again by “the man with the key”!!

He promised to come and fetch us some other time when the man with the key had returned, but I am not counting on it being any time soon!

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