Maybe the luster and shine of Aketi has dimmed again, but I am in serious need of a vacation.
I’ve only been back from the forest for 2 days, and not a single person who has greeted me has not afterwards asked for money -- a “hand for the road” as the phrase goes in Lingala.
But wasn’t it just me who was on the road? Shouldn’t it be me, holding out my hand?
Back in town, originally so pleased to be back, the same old rigamarole has been creeping up on me in not-so-pleasant ways.
A bunch of our employees came back to work yesterday at 2pm, clearly drunk. And then left before 4pm, without asking permission at all.
They know they’re not allowed to drink at work, but apparently 3 weeks in the forest is enough to forget? Everything?
While we were gone the wall at the side of the house fell down, but no one even bothered to fix it! I had to ask.
AND! There is a HUGE SPIDER living in the toilet! He only comes out at night, but is probably the size of a palm and loves to be IN the toilet bowl and under the toilet seat. It’s the real definition of a night terror!
It was all compounded when, this afternoon, I was interrupted from reviewing data in my room by one of our workers, telling me that there were two women here to see me.
When I asked him what they wanted, he had no idea, because he hadn’t asked at all.
So I emerged, interrupted, and discovered two women who were soliciting donations for the Women’s Day Feast. Women’s Day, happening tomorrow all over Congo, is a celebration of women and, I would assume, the accomplishments of women.
Happy to give $2 towards the feast, I was abruptly stopped by the primary woman who said, rudely,
“Where is your patron (boss)?”
“I am the boss,” I replied, somewhat hostilely. This question is one I’m asked a lot, and it does indeed rile the feminist in me.
“No,” the woman said, we don’t want to talk to you. We want to talk to your husband.“
Already annoyed, I basically told them that if they insisted on talking to my ”husband,“ who spoke no French, they could just leave without money.
... Right now.
And then, very undiplomatically, I stormed back into the house and flopped on the bed.
Some ”Celebration of Women“ !