Friday, February 10, 2006

Tunda: The Return

Tunda is a town that is no more than a small dot on the map in central/Eastern Congo. There is a coral church, built in the 1920s, at the end of a dirt road lined with palm trees. Sound familiar?

Tunda was a big part of my June blog, when I spent a week there with an evaluation team. I biked through the jungle, causing women to cheer and make a high pithed noise that reminds me of Xena Warrior Princess. After saying my good-byes and boarding a plane, I thought that would be the end of my visit to Tunda. But then the plane ran off the runway and the pilots and I were stranded for a few days more. So needless to say, I was recognized when I got off of the UN Helicopter in Tunda last week.

I am happy to be bringing assistance with me this time - we will be distributing farming tools, used clothing and soap to more than 1000 households.

It was actually a bit emotional. There was this child, a boy who was probably five years old or so, who took to holding my hand when I walked through the village. It felt so nice. Many places is the Congo make you feel used, but Tunda makes me feel welcome.

In other news, stay tuned for my adventures learning how to drive a motorcycle - complete with photos!


Blogger Black River Eagle said...

Have you ever thought about why this little kid has singled you out and trust you enough to escort you personally throughout his village?

Are you looked upon by the children as a saviour who is there to assist them and their families, or simply as a stranger who will bring them no harm in contrast to the roving militia's and soldiers in that region of the DRC?

It would be interesting to know the answers to these questions. How do the children see you and why is that so?

2:51 PM  
Blogger Sahara Sarah said...

Funny you ask. I've talked to some of the kids and adults, and it's mainly that i am an interesting attraction. i'm the only white girl to have been in that area in many many years. the American methodists who were there until the 60s left a good impression on village history, so that's a plus that i am probably associated with those kind of people. kids are fascinated by my hair and skin - my curly hair resembles some wigs that are sold in comgo. when i start taking photos, it makes their day. everybody LOVES to be in photos. also, i think the fact that i've been seen biking long distances and surviving a plane "crash" means i am approaching local legend status!

11:19 AM  

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