Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back in Bukavu 2/7. Mweha.

We spent 7 days in Mweha - a village located on the main road inbetween Nyabibwe and Minova.

As you might know for our lab-in-the-field (our "games") we need three isolated area to play our games. Normally we confiscate a school or a church and use plastic sheetings to create these. In Mweha this was not possible so we confiscated three shops! Desire played in the public phone booth on the left, Freddy in the pharmacy and Eustache in yet another shop (not on the picture). It worked great.

For the games we need to print pictures: we need three pictures per player and we have 18 of them so this is a total of 54 pictures per village. Back home I bought a Polaroid Pogo printer to you just that: it prints pictures directly from a photo-camera. Because it's the Congo and I knew electricity would be a problem (and also that likely one printer would not survive), I bought a second printer as well and a spare battery. Unfortunately even all this is not sufficient to print the 54 pictures - already after 15 pictures the Pogo printer's battery is flat. Thank you Polaroid. So inbetween printing we need to find an electricity source to charge the batteries. So upon entry in a village one of our first questions is "Is there is a generator in the village?" - don't expect there to be electricity proper. We then buy two liters of petrol and half a liter of oil (around $5 all together) which is then - depending on the type of generator - enough for 5 hours of electricity. This picture is us in Mweha: 2 printers (in the plastic bag), three phones, and my laptop. Normally connected to my laptop are also my Kindle, phone and camera.

Nice story. In Kanenge (after a long search) we found one generator, but it clearly had not been used in months (if not years) - petrol is very expensive. Once we put the oil and petrol in and connected the printers, the family that owned the generators took of the protection of the television and about ten people were present in the expectation to watch TV. When we came back two hours later to change one of the batteries, almost the whole village was present and watching television! Fantastic. So if my research has no impact whatsoever, at least it had one positive external effect. :)

As I wrote before, there is nowhere to get a proper cup of coffee (if you are lucky you find Nescafe). This despite the fact that you break your neck over the coffee beans! Here people are taking off the skin of the coffee beans. After first taking them from the tree - you do that once they are red.

Once the skin is off you dry them for 2 to 3 days in the sun. Unfortunately Eastern Congo is not able to process the coffee beans further (goodbye my nice cup of coffee), so it is sold like this for about $1.7 per kilo and exported (often to Rwanda).

The team with the chiefs of Mweha (fltr): Desire, nyuba kumi, the priest of the village, two more nyumba kumis (below), me, chief of the village and Eustache. Freddy is taking the picture.

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