Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ENG: We are going to Mbandaka

Just one day and two nights in the capital oft he Democratic Republic of the Congo before we started our journey to Mbandaka – just an hour flight from the capital, directly on the Equator and in the middle of the rain forest. We started at 7 am to catch a flight at 11:30 and I soon understood why. While the airport seemed quite well organized at our arrival, it was a total mess when we tried to leave. We already had to “pay for some services” to ensure that things got done – and got done in a decent time line. As most average workers are paid almost nothing or in face nothing, and with fairly high living cost, extra income is always wanted and needed. Thankfully I have been sheltered from the real level of corruption so far, as our amazing organizers (especially Amanda) have taken care of most of the issues. Checking in was the most difficult and chaotic one I have every gone through, yet I was able to check in my 21kg bag and smuggle 18 kg on board with me – free. The others were not as luck any some of my books were in Melaine second bag so in the end an extra fee was wanted…
Another plus is the fact that I don’t understand French well yet, so when the others were asked what they will leave for them during the security check of our luggage, I just smiled and gave them my: Je suis desolee. Je ne parle pas fracais bien” (I’m sorry. I don’t speak French well : )
150 people waiting for our flight. Are the all going to Mbandaka?
Nope. But there is such limited flights which are also outrageously expensive (our one hour flight was $250) so the airplane starts in Kinshasa and stops at all airports throughout the DRC – thank god Mbandaka war the first one.
During take of the tin roofs of Kin mirrored the sun back at us, surrounding the city in a silver shine. Tin roofs are apparently a sign of wealth (compared to the originally building styles with leaves and other parts of the trees). This style of roof top covering apparently also …

more later - electricity only runs 4 hours a day... i write at night, safe it, and publish it when i can... this one took me 10 minutes just to copy, paste and publish  / 

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