After my upsetting swift towards christian democrat stances (see the blog of 9 February 2005) I am now becoming a supporter of the new US Ambassador to the United Nations, the moustached Mr. Bolton.
Of course I can’t like him, but his suggestion to eliminate some floors of the ‘Palazzo di vetro’ and the assumption that nobody would note the difference is a substantial one, which many could subscribe. I do. If the 50% of UN personnel in this mission would disappear, that would not cause too much trouble for the RDC. What’s more, it could help.
Finally, I went around in Congo.
It was not the tropical forest neither the navigation of Congo river, but it was different from Kinshasa.
Kabinda, Mweneditu, Mbuji Mayi; bad roads, long queues of small traders pushing overcharged bicycles under the sun for many kilometres to gain some francs in the town reselling the mais purchased from the producers.
Once, we got stuck in the mud (souvenir de Cambodge). We had to sleep in the vehicle and ask for the help of people from a nearby village to go back on the road.
I’ve bought a ‘daba’, primordial engine for field work, still used everywhere. 20 years ago I bought another one, in Burkina Faso, as a gift for my father. He would have made a good development worker.
It is around 500 meters from home to the office. We go walking along a little street plenty of money changers, cabines telephoniques, small businesses and food sellers.
At first they called me Jean Baptiste. Then Simon Pierre or, often, Simon Betelo (probably in lingala, meaning unknown, might be stone: pierre), now, sometime, Jesu. It happened also in the Kasai region.
I suppose the reason is a combination of my clear and ample clothes and my growing hairs and beard, in a country (a continent) where all males are nowadays headshaved.
I’m not sure if I like it, but I got used to it.
I generally do not answer to those salutations, from time to time I just smile.