Wednesday, May 1, 2013


While we were walking back through Mbandaka past a guy who was grilling meat to be sold, the conversation went like this:
Guy: Good day Pastor (Bonjour pastor)
Melaine: I am not a Pastor (Je ne suis pas pastor)
Guy: Ah, ok. Have a good day Pastor (Passe un bon journee pastor) : )

As we were in the botanical garden two trucks full of Monusco soldiers from Bangladesch arrived. The General (that was station in Goma – in the east of the country) was visiting his troops in the West. In good English the conversation went like this:
.(hellos, I am visiting the troops here in Mbandaka….)
General: So what state are we in just here?
We: Equateur.
General: Ah. And what is the capital of this region?
We: Actually, Mbandaka is the capital.
General: Ah.This city here. Ok. And you guys? Where are you guys from? The US?
Melaine: No, she is from Germany, and I am from France?
General to me: Germany? You are not a Nazi, are you?

. I have to say that he was actually really nice and also gave us a ride back after his 2 hour visit of the Botanical Garden, even if his question did not point to the most educated man in the ranks.

As we are walking on the streets during the evening, kids are passing us and practicing their English by chanting: Good morning!! How are you?

And here two more quotes from books that we are reading that I like a lot : )
Out of ‘The Basic of Permaculture Design’ by Ross Mars (especially true for the guys in the developed worlds)
People argue that we ought to recycle more of the items we use daily, but I think that waste minimization is a better, sounder path to tread. It makes sense to use less than to recycle more. People often talk about ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’. I would like to add ‘repair, refuse, re-think, re-assess, refrain, reject, and reconsider”.

And from small is beautiful by E.F. Schumacher (especially true for the guys in the developing world)
Among the causes of poverty, I am sure, the material factors are entirely secondary – such things as lack of natural wealth, or lack of capital, or an insufficiency of infrastructure. The primary causes of extreme poverty are immaterial, the lie in certain deficiencies in education, organization, and discipline.
Development does not start with goods; it starts with people and their education, organization, and discipline. Without these three, all resources remain latent, untapped, potential. […] Every country, no matter how devastated, which had a high level of education, organization, and discipline, produced an ‘economic miracle’”.

I couldn’t agree more with Schumacher’s words from the 70’s. A great book by the way, in case you of you is searching for another read. My new slogan will of course be: Education, organization, discipline! Let’s see how excited the Congolese are to hear it ; ) 

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