Seminars in Kinshasa
Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
30Trip End Mar 14, 2011
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We took a break for lunch, prepared by one of the local ladies. She served rice, beans, plantain, fish, and sauce, a feast by local standards. Many people in Kinshasa are having trouble making ends meet. Most civil servants haven’t been paid in over a year, but they keep going to work, hoping against hope that they will get part of what they’re owed if they keep their jobs. Others are having just as hard a time. So a meal like this is pretty rare for most people these days. I skipped lunch and drank lots of water.
After lunch we began again with more seminars. I coved the topic of faithfulness as it relates to leadership in the Church. Again we had time for discussion and questions. The heat became oppressive by 15:00, and the power went out which meant the ceiling fan stopped its slow turn. Folks here are used to the kind of pace we keep elsewhere so I felt we were reaching the point of diminishing returns. We stopped and money was distributed to pay the transportation fee home. The cost per participant varied between one and two dollars depending on where they lived and that would have proved a real hardship had we not provided the help.
My taxi was late arriving, so we had more time to chat with those who were still present. We stopped on the way back to buy water. The UN presence in Kinshasa means prices are sky-high for almost everything. The Grand Hotel and the Memling, the two safe hotels in Kinshasa, charge obscenely high prices for everything. So every small thing I can do to save I try to do. A one-person pizza in the outdoor restaurant at the Grand Hotel costs 25 to 35 dollars! But I can keep the leftovers in a box in my room and eat them for breakfast and sometimes lunch the next day. I’m not trying to be overly-dramatic about this, it just irks me that they should charge so much for everything. It's my way to strike back at the Empire.
Tomorrow will be another busy day of both office work and seminars.