Friday in Kinshasa
Trip Start Mar 14, 2013
20Trip End Apr 05, 2013
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I had a cold shower this morning. As I suspected last night, the water heater wasn't operating. On the way out to breakfast, I mentioned to the front desk agent the things that weren’t working. She said she’d call the technician. When I arrived back from breakfast the room lights were all working and the television as well, but now the lights in the bathroom wouldn’t work. I went back to the front desk to inform them and she said she’d call the technician again. He arrived promptly with an rickety old ladder that had a rag tied to both legs to keep them from separating and bringing it down. He put the ladder up and climbed up next to the closet, removed a panel and checked the fuses. He took one out and wiped it and put it back in very gently. I checked the light and voilą, it was working. That’s rather a sensitive fuse and box; no wonder things blow up occasionally
Justin and Victor came by around 10 again and we continued our discussions from yesterday. Among other things I asked them if they felt the situation in their country was getting better or worse or staying the same. They said it was getting harder for people. Prices are high, salaries can’t keep up and not everyone even has a salary or regular work. They said that a big freighter will come into the port of Matadi every six months or so bringing food and supplies for the markets in Kinshasa. The shipments go by truck from the port to the capital. But there is so much time between shipments that shelves gradually empty and critical supplies simply can’t be found. This is especially true for medical supplies. People die, they told me, that don’t need to, because medical supplies or medicines have run out.
Local people can’t get into the UN clinic for soldiers, and can’t afford to go to a private clinic that might be well stocked. In the public hospitals now, one must arrive with some cash to even get in the door. You have to pay to register with the hospital, and if they issue a prescription, you must fill it at the hospital and pay cash for it right away. This is certainly a hardship.
One woman who has attended services with them here in Kinshasa needs to have her appendix taken out. It would have cost 500 or 600 dollars for the operation in Kinshasa which she and her family cannot afford. So with an inflamed appendix she traveled several hundred kilometers to a smaller town where she can have the operation done for about $100. I hesitate to think what the conditions would be like to have your appendix out for $100. She is already there and the operation should be tomorrow. They asked me to pray for her which I did.
Around 11:30 the two young men counseling for baptism arrived and we continued our discussions about the annual festivals as well as the life-long commitment of the baptismal covenant.
I asked them to explain their understanding of various things, which allowed me to clarify if there were things they didn’t quite have right. I was satisfied that they understand and have fulfilled the biblical conditions. We have planned the baptisms for early tomorrow morning.
We finished up after 1:00 pm, and the men went, some to work, some to university homework. I spent the afternoon preparing for the Sabbath and the long trip which will start in the afternoon. It’s good I had a little rest today; I won’t get so much for the 24-36 hours starting tomorrow morning.
I may not be able to post for several days, so don't send the Marines (right away).
Thanks for following along. I wish you all a meaningful observance of the upcoming festivals!