Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Field

One of my days in the field. Similar to many:

5:45am – Wake up to Cathedral bells. Roll over. Wonder if they have a snooze button.
6:00am – Church bells go off again. Apparently they do have snooze button.
6:30am – Remove seven-foot piece of wood leaning against door as make-shift lock/alarm. Go outside to latrine.
6:45am- Brush teeth and wash face using a bucket of water outside. Children sit ten feet away and stare.
7:00am – Team returns that went to refugee camp at 4am to figure out how many people really live at camp. They recount that local chief was pretty pissed, that the camp was only 1/3 inhabited, and that people from the local village came running into the camp once word got out the check was happening.
7:30am – Eat breakfast: Small doughnut-like thing, cup of tea. Children sit at the window and stare.
7:45am – Told that the cook for my field agents stole our buckets when they refused to pay her more than they had agreed on. Ask them to figure out a solution.
8:00am – Start to sort out coupons, beneficiary lists, motorcycle problems, and radioing to figure out where truck is.
3:00pm – Meet with local chiefs regarding fraud for beneficiary registration. Use such fun phrases as “we know that massive fraud occurred in the registration process” and “we are helping you help your people, so no, are not going to pay you.”
5:30 – Get back to town where we are staying.
6:00 – Start generator without assistance of male colleagues. Point, Sarah.
6:02 – Generator starts sputtering and smoking. Point, Afica.
10:45 – During sat phone call to supervisor, generator runs out of gas.
11:30 – Crawl under mosquito net for a good nights sleep.

To be continued…..


Anonymous adventureeddy said...

It's awesome to hear from you!

10:55 PM  
Anonymous said...

Trading a Sarah's tale

for an old antiMosquito remedy.

REMEDY- Patrizi (noblemen) of Venice at summertime used to rent a baby from the low-class. Baby was to be put on the nobleman's window-frame bare bottom, as an antiMosquito front line. I presume such babies were working on shifts. It all lasted till The French Revolution, I think, when Sanscoulottes mothers and Kommie babies insited all bums being equal.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Bryce said...

You know Air Serv pilots are the best in the business, no matter what their name or stature! I'm not going to Goma anymore, I'll be flying the Caravan out of Kinshasa, arrival is slated for 30 June. I hope you're a little more forgiving if you end up on my plane;)

8:51 PM  
Blogger Mom said...

omigod, this entry made tears come to my eyes with laughter. I know being an aide worker in Congo isn't really that funny, but I think you're the Erma Bombeck of Africa. I hope you're really writing a book like you said. your blog enties could be used as a nice outline.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Congogirl said...

I agree with your mom. When will you be stateside, by the way? Any chance of getting some T-shirts from Jonathan the furniture guy in Kin?

7:20 PM  
Blogger Carl said...

Ain't that just like a girl, to judge a guy on how tall he is or how studly his name is judged to be.

Us little guys just can't win, unless there are many bits of metal flying around. Then we have the advantage cause we're smaller targets.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Sahara Sarah said...

Carl, not only would you land the plane with no gear and save the cat while dodging shrapnel, you'd have the intuition to take dorothee and me out for dinner after! you and bryce be safe in kinshasa. i hear it's a wee bit tense these days.

2:45 PM  

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