It’s a rare brisk morning here and I want to fill you in on some of the weekend’s news:
My friend John finally made it back from his river trip. He walked in on Saturday morning and we had a great time catching up. He told me that he brought back a baby squirrel for me and that they are going to build a cage for it.
Later the same day, we drove out to Papa Wembonyama’s house and I sat under his shade hut with him for some hours talking and telling stories. He told me that squirrel has a great flavor. He told me that Congo is at a turning point, an infancy of sorts and needs a lot of help to get on its feet. He gave me blessings for my upcoming travels and said that if God had given him that characteristic that he gave to snakes and he could shed his old skin and be young again- he’d travel with me.
Youth scouting programs are popular here. There are all kinds of little scout troops in uniforms with neck scarves and hats and flags. This weekend was some kind of jamboree right in the middle of town, in front of my building. On Saturday I started to see groups of scouts being led by their scoutmasters, marching in from the outskirts of town. As I drove by a couple of these groups I spontaneously saluted and like clockwork 20 little hands went up to salute me back. I don’t know if scouting is popular all across Africa, I’ve never noticed it when I’ve traveled. It seems like a very American thing that they’ve really picked up on. One troop even went by carrying standards that I recognized from my youth as the three levels of the Cub Scouts of America. We don’t have much American culture here beyond this, except for a voracious appetite for American pro wrestling.
Sunday was a day of good timing. I drove out to the airport to pick up the external auditor from Price Waterhouse Kinshasa. I took a book with me because airplanes here aren’t so much known for timeliness. As I drove up I saw his plane taxi off the runway head toward the terminal. Then later on we picked up Christilla, one of my new French friends and drove to where her husband Jerome was playing in a local soccer match at the Jesuit Church. We drove up just in time to watch the last five minutes of the game and then head to the fabric factory along a river to sit and talk into the evening. Good timing is a rare thing here. When I arrive at just the right time to meet a plane and to hear the whistle at the end of a football match and all in the same day… that’s worth writing home about!