Monday, October 25, 2010

Everything you always wanted to know about CONGO but were afraid to ask

Ok. I admit it. I am totally and utterly overwhelmed by this job. It's mostly, I think, because of my boss, who doesn't seem to appreciate the difficulty of trying to discern what is and what is not important during his unending rants that never seem to quite provide the information I am looking for. Today he expressed a desire to improve his English, and so perhaps my new coping strategy will be to speak to him only in English and let HIM sweat it out for a change.

I am trying to find a balance, though, so never fear. Played tennis (!) yesterday, with a lone goat on the other side of the fence, munching some weeds, and more spectators than such a blatantly mediocre match would possibly warrant. Met some very likeable colleagues last week, during a training on project management in Bukavu (hence the tennis; we certainly don't have that in the field), and am so feeling more at home with the organization, if not with my direct supervisor.

What I mean to say is this: I am too distracted by all that there is to do, and more so, by all that I don't realize there is to do, to pen a coherent blog entry at this point. So I need your help.

You are my audience, after all. What would you like to know about Congo, food security, humanitarian work, bananas, expat life, tempermental toilets?

Post a comment and I will respond. Your guidance will help the words to flow.

À bientôt.


  1. Hi Emily,
    An easy one, since I keep begging for posts:
    Where do you see/feel God/spirit in Congo? What keeps you going?

  2. Hello, Emily,

    Here in Ipswich, where unseasonably warm weather has gloriously extended the autumn color display, it is hard to believe you are in such a different region of the world, but your blog brings it and your challenges alive to us. We think of you every day and wish you strength and happy moments amidst the challenges. Love from, Rosemary

  3. I would actually want to hear more about tennis (or, perhaps more generally, recreational activities available to you and everyone else).


  4. Hi Emily,
    Garry sent me a link to your blog. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in training in Bukavu in 1989, so I can relate to some of what you've written, although I've never played tennis with a goat!

  5. Emily-
    People. Characters. Random Encounters with wildlife. Pets.

  6. Food.

    And goats.


  7. Hi Emily,

    Is there much visible effort on behalf of civilians, the government, or the international community towards making the region more secure?

    Could you recount life stories / experiences of some of the Congolese people you've met?

    Have you had any encounters with monkeys? (Chimps, gorillas and bonobos specifically.)


  8. All of the above and more about the lethal burping lake and adjacent volcanoes. Plus chimps and bonobos.

    I've been sharing a few of your previous blog entries with some of your friends here and I get a disturbingly universal response..."my god, the Congo is the most dangerous place on the planet right now" that true for you?

    Also, I'm deeply concerned about the bananna wilt and the effect it will have on the people you work with as well as the effect that working on what seems like a potentially hopeless project will have on you, especially if your efforts are stymied by political/social/organizational situations beyond your control. What can you do/are you doing to keep this from sucking the soul out of you?


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