On Monday, February 22nd, we left Kikwit and flew back to Kinshasa. We checked back in at M.P.H., but this time with a bit of an upgrade. The manager of the hostel had told me that I could have room 14, which was the room between the one I'd stayed in the previous week and the bathroom. I was a little sad, because I'd really liked where we'd stayed in Kikwit and wasn't looking forward to being back at M.P.H. So, I asked if there were any rooms with its own bathroom. Yes, he said, room 9. I asked how much more this would cost a night and he said $10. I turned to Konrad and said, if I paid the extra out of my own pocket, could I stay there? Konrad became my friend for life when he said I could stay there anyway. I went up to check out my new room and guess what else it had? Air-conditioning! What joy! What bliss! It also had lots of ants, but I totally ignored them and them me. ;)
I then asked Colongé if they had another room like that for the men. Well, they had a suite that slept three, but they could add a bed AND they would also have air-conditioning and a living-room area for us to hang out in. The bonus: our new sleeping arrangements ended up costing us $10 less a night than what we'd paid the previous week! Nice!
Maurice invited us to his home for a tour and a meal on Monday.
For supper, we ate at M.P.H. and hung out in the guys' room, emailing home, etc.
Tuesday was probably my least favourite day in the Congo. Dennis had been asked by someone from MBMSI to visit a farm, so we all went along. (In fairness to Dennis, he did tell me I didn't need to go since John spoke english, but I thought it would be boring to stay at M.P.H. by myself, so I tagged along.) Well, it was three hours of riding in the back of a truck, followed by scenes like this:
...piling out of the truck to look at a field. Then climbing back into the truck, driving for a bit and piling out again.... Very long, hot and boring. And I started to feel a little car sick, which wasn't fun.
A cool thing happened on the way back. There was this "stand" under this massive bamboo tree, with tables and benches set up. They sold cold drinks (yay!) and fou-fou wrapped in leaves (we passed on those!) It was like a Congolese version of an ice cream stand that we'd stop at on a day back from the lake or something. I would have taken pictures, but a government official and his entourage showed up at the same time that we did and we didn't want to get in trouble.
The best part of the day however, was our supper meal. We met another John, a missionary also staying at the hotel, at a restaurant called Nando's. Walking in there was like leaving Congo and returning to North America. It was a portuguese chain that was decorated similarly to Kelsey's or Applebees. I ordered a chicken pita with cucumbers and tomatoes-- it was so yummy!
Thanks for looking!