Friday, September 16, 2005

Back in Kindu

How many posts have I written with that title? With the constant travelling that seems to be linked to this job, it's a common theme. But I am back, and it feels good. Most of my friends are around right now. Last night we had drinks at Rashid's and watched MTV. I rarely watch MTV at home but here it's a delicacy.

Turned out the flight I took yesterday also had a government minister on it. There were crowds lined up on the tarmac to meet him. Inside the plane he added some nice touches to his outfit, one involving a cape/sash of some sort of animal. It reminded me of photos of Mobutu, who used to wear something similar made of leopard skin. I guess it's Congo's version of the power suit.

At immigration they asked me for five dollars, an entry "tax." Unfortunately my new supervisor paid them at one point and now they are hitting up all us NGOs. However, I was ready. I politely explained that no tax existed, that only the governor could levy one and had not, and then handed them a letter that I had printed out. The letter was an official statement by one of the vice presidents telling state services (mainly the police) to stop harassing foreign NGO workers. I added for good measure that it was illegal for them to hold my passport hostage. They stood their ground but handed me my passport and I walked off without paying.

Turns out the apartment right next time mine (and our whole building) is owned by that minister. So there was a really loud band playing underneath my balcony for several hours to celebrate his arrival.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:08 AM  
Blogger Mom said...

Sarah, well, that really sucks about the funding. What happened to the million $? I guess that's typical, but it's still awful. But...would that mean you're coming home sooner? (That would be an unanticipated perk of government corruption/ineptitude!) I can always dream...

3:03 PM  

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