It’s been a challenging transition back to my life and work in the DR Congo. I’m very happy to be back. I absolutely love my job, trials and all. Good friends here have welcomed me back with open arms and wide smiles. One of the hard parts has been jet lag- I’ve never had it worse. I was traveling for just over six weeks total and I was in so many time zones and a few too many days started well before sunrise and went nonstop to well after midnight. I was busy mostly with spending good time with great people. What a blessing. I can’t really imagine doing this home leave much differently this time. Thankfully I am finally recovered.
Another hard part has been the transition from a month so full of familiar, easy social interaction. It looked and felt a lot like my American life (on overload). Most days it was near bliss for me. Then I step back into the routines of this place which feel familiar and comfortable but are so different socially. I’m not lacking for healthy social interaction, but my weeknights are generally solitary and I am alone for a good bit of the time on the weekends. And I do like it this way, too. I guess what I am getting at is this: Anytime you shift from 5th gear to 1st without much clutch - it’s going to be a slight shaky stretch as the engine adjusts.
Congo faithfully provides relief in its beauty and bounty. Most of this relief comes in the form of friends and the staff at HOPE. It’s in the simplicity of food choices here. It’s having time to really notice and experience the weather, that it’s been refreshingly cool (for Congo) and the visibility is stunning and the clouds today are sun-lit better than anything ever electrified. It’s the solitary comic moments like the jar of applesauce I pulled from the cupboard this morning and opened. It didn’t look good when the safety-seal popper was pushed up. Fermented applesauce exploded all over my hands and a small white cloud of gas escaped. Cognac paste, anyone? (It’s the knowledge that even though that applesauce isn’t edible, the jar will be scavenged, sold at market, and used for years to come.)