Thursday, August 04, 2005

Death of a Digital Camera and other fun stories

I killed my camera. Not on purpose of course. The little Nikon was my way of quickly showing images of the congo and my travels. But all the planets came into a line. I had thrown it in my purse to bring it to work to load the Goma photos. Later I added my water bottle. The lid wasnt on perfectly and before I knew it I had a pool in my bag. Luckily the cellphone survived, and my ipod was far from the scene of the crime. I might pin the murder of the camera on my ipod mini, who was no doubt jealous of my affection for the camera. The card appears to be okay, so one day i will download the Goma photos. Like when I go home for christmas.

Luckily my family will be meeting me in Africa in October and can transport a new one. Actually, way way way more lucky, is the fact that I am rich enough to replace my nice toys when they break. It's hard to break the consumerist instincts, and also, i don't necessarily want to. I like ordering a cute top or two from Old Navy and having my parents send them to me. I met a beautiful girl about my age in Goma last week and she was doing the South Beach Diet. In Congo. She was by no means overweight, but oddly enough, I understood where she was coming from. Our Western body images can't be erased by living in places where thin people are thin because they don't have enough money for food. Just as in the states it's a compliment if someone asks you, "have you lost weight?" here it's the reverse. My friend will ask me if I gained weight and he means it as a compliment. He told me that if he married me, and we went back to Sierra Leone (note: mom, this is hypothetical. don't panic), it would be expected for me to gain at least 10 or 15 pounds within a year. Otherwise people would accuse him of not taking care of me.

In other news, my friend and fellow blogger 007 is back in Kinshasa. We were sitting at work in Kindu when our dear friends the Indians called from the airport to let us know that her flight was there and check-in had started. We didnt even have her document saying she could travel. I jumped in the truck and high-tailed it to UN headquarters, where the weasely guards didnt even want to let me in the outside gate. These guys are proof that while absolute power corrupts absolutely, a teeny bit of power is far more annoying. They were not going to let me in the building at all, but I made them call everyone I knew in the office until one of them picked up. Long story short, got in, got the document, sped home, and got 007 to the airport just in the nick of time. On the way back got pulled over by the police right in front of our office for no good reason. I was pretty irritated because our office had really messed up regarding 007's ticket, and I really wasnt in the mood to be pulled over just so they could try to fish out a bribe. Normally I am supernice to cops in any country but they caught me at the wrong time. I told them I wasnt going to hand over my license until they gave me a reason for stopping me, and in the meantime I called our local NGO liaison person to see whether I had to legally show them anything. Eventually I drove into our office parking lot and showed them my license...they didn't even try for a bribe. I think they were happy to get rid of me. They can't pull over the UN people, and there are only a handful of non-UN cars, so we are targets. So that was that.

[Note to mom: speaking of old navy stuff, I just ordered two silk tops from there (perfect for my "post-congo" wardrobe) so those can stay at home. But there are two cotton Delia's tops coming too, so please stuff them in envelopes and send them my way.] It's the little things.


Blogger 007 in Africa said...

You didn't tell me you got pulled over by the coppers! Guess we were in such a rush to send me out... BTW, I think that your mom should also send you the silk tops...It's wildy inappropriate for Goma but would make you oh-so happy :)

10:38 AM  
Blogger Sahara Sarah said...

Yeah, I'll have to tell you about the coppers. It was pretty funny. Maybe you're right about tops. Mom, if you read this comment, please send the blue silk top, along with the Delia's ones. Might want to use seperate envelopes and send them in a week a time so that the mailroom sends them on. Good call 007.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Mom said...

So, it's on to "digital camera #3", is it? Africa seems to really tough on them. As to your story about trying to get into the U.N., it once again proves the old saw, "It's not what you know, but who you know". Sounds like you know a lot of good people. I'm glad. I'll send the tops along 'toot sweet'.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Sahara Sarah said...

Ah yes, the Jo'burg incident. South Africa definitely wins for "non-voluntary wealth redistribution activities."

2:00 PM  
Anonymous joey said...

For what it's worth, odds are your camera will still work if you just let it dry out for a while...especially in the heart of africa where it gets so warm.

I'm Joey, Judy sent me to help. Or at least to read and enjoy your perspective on the world.

4:50 PM  

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