Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back in Bukavu 5/7. Kanenge.

We spent 7 days in the village Kanenge, about a 4 hour walk from Mweha. This was a gorgeous walk btw along Lake Kivu.

The nyumba kumi - a person responsible in the village for around 10 households ("nyumba kumi" in Swahili literally means "house ten") - had a lovely buganvilia tree under which we often worked. From left to right: four nyumba kumis, Desire, Freddy and Eustache. The nyumba kumi with whom we stayed (the guy in the blue t-shirt) had two wifes, each living in a different house. So, Desire and Eustache stayed over in one house and Freddy and me slept in the other.

Game day in Kanenge (the players are outside of the church). As said before we bought plastic covers so that we only have to confiscate a church and we have our location set up for the games: three areas where games can be played in private, and one area where a game can be played in public - i.e. with the chief and several notables present when the player is playing (currently taking place on the right). Also notice the lovely Columbia sign. My dear University. :)

You wake up at 6am. You feel annoyed because it is cold and have not slept very well because of the rats. But then... Any day is fantastic if it starts with a view like this while brushing your teeth.

So I try to be all cool here eating sugercane. For 200 Congolese francs (a little more than $0.20) you buy a two-meter cane, cut it in pieces with a machette, take of the skin with your teeth and suck on what is inside. Well that is how the locals do it - I am just posing here. In contrast, I take of the skin with a machette and then use my pocketknive to make small pieces on which I then suck. The guys make fun of me.


Two more notes on Kanenge:

1. Kanenge was really not that far away from the big road close to Nyabibwe (a 3 hour walk). Despite this there was no market. Also, the last time a white person had visited the village was in 1989 - a priest came to check on a school that his paroish was building (and he didn't stay over in the village at night). Now imagine the faces of these villagers (especially children) when after 23 years a white guys arrives in the village and actually stays over for several nights. But incredible no? This village is only a few hours away from a big road. If you look at the map of the Congo 99% of all Congolese villages are located in much more isolated areas.

2. Kanenge doesn't have a nearby river and none of its robinets worked so we had to wash in Lake Kivu. That's not bad at all - the sun often shines. One day I went for a swim and also planned to do some bathing afterwards. Because I wasn't in the mood for wet clothes I went to an isolated area, took of all my clothes and while naked did some lovely swimming. Until a villager passed by and saw the muzungu swimming... Within 10 minutes there were at least 30 more villagers bluntly staring at me. Now try to get out of the water. :)

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