It’s been over a week since we arrived back in Mbandaka. The Flea War entered a strategic face over the last days, in which all fabrics (such as Pillows, Table Cloths,…) were removed and all clothing washed again. A second bottle of 300ml Insecticide was emptied all over the room, bed, suitcases, bamboo matt (our new sofa substitute) and all other cloths, yesterday. The last casualty was Melaine with four bits around his bum – the guilty fabric however was identified – his black pants. Justice was done with them being washed today.
In my case the original enemy has returned already – the Mosquito. Fearless and without regard for anyone it has stung me on the bottom of both of my feet, on the palm of my hand and in my face! To combat these incredibly swift and agile fighters the local Indian supplier provided me with additional weapons. Two anti-mosquito coils were given to me and lit last night to disable their fighting activities. So far no new attacks aka bits have been discovered – fingers crossed.
Other animals have been much more pleasant to be around. Mbandaka has been flooded by a plethora of butterflies. Very friendly and beautiful creatures twirling through the breeze like leaves. A marvelous sight! Friendly encounters were made over breakfast were I shared my Nutella substitute (Jempy Duo – a sugar oil based spread imported from South Africa to sweeten my morning). Even hand-in-hand exploration was done …. See picture above.
At night one of the many, many, many, MANY local churches have provided us with free sound or better: noise pollution. Apparently people here live to have church service in the middle of the night – during the last three days it started punctual at 2 am in the middle of the night. Despite the lack of electricity these guys use their costly fuel and generator to power their sound system to scream into the microphone which carries their ‘message of love’ through loudspeaker into the neighborhood – which we are part off. To me it sounds more like a rally of a political leader delivering a hate speech. The answer by the masses insights a deep fright inside of me, resembling blind following and unneeded fervor by the unknowing masses which are lead by fear – it sounds all too familiar coming from a country that has such a horrific past with a demagogue . My only allies in the night seem to be the neighborhood dogs, and just to ease my mind I will also count in the roosters that morn this frightful scene in the middle of the night with me. While my fellow specie usually accompany the church sounds with their snores…only Melaine of course wakes up when I investigate the sounds of the night and fight my eagerness to simply walk over there to unplug their speaker and tell them to go back to bed!
I found out that the previous Governor had forbidden these nightly ‘cults’ but as we do not have a Governor at the moment (elections are end of May) the church is using this time to take advantage of the lack of governance.
On a positive note: The Modele Monster from church (me being the white women that frightens children in church) turned into Mama Mondele last night. When Melaine and I got on the motorbike my eyes met with a handful of kids close by and waves were exchanged. This was followed by the children chanting in a rythem – Mama Mondele (Ma-ma Mon-de-le). And even on the streets around our hotel the people have stopped yelling after me… times are changing – hopefully all for the best : )
AND – I found a sprite in Mbandaka!! … plus we understood how to eat the oranges here – you just peel the outer layer (but leave some of the skin on), cut a hole in the top and squeeze the juice in your mouth : )