Friday, June 20, 2008

c'est very bien, yes

today was workshop day 1. 22 congolese guys, and lisa and myself. at lunch there was an instance of extreme chivalry. all the guys were lined up at the buffet and the waiter comes over to find me listening to lisa tell a story about this woman who got lost in the rainforest for 2 weeks a few months back, and was believed to be dead until some poachers brought her back to camp. this story is really good, because i guess she was vegetarian and starving and a conservation scientists and had to eat bushmeat.
so the waiter says, "ladies first" and points us to the buffet and we're all yeah, thanks, so finish the story! then he interrrupts again and hands us plates, ladies, please. and we're all, yeah, ok, whatever, thanks, we don't care, so back to the story. and finally the waiter is all no, really, ladies first. he insists. it is policy. we will not allow the men to eat before the women. and we look at the buffet line and it's a whole bunch of really hungry guys impatiently crowding around the chicken stew and rice. oooookaaaay. fine.

after the workshop we all had to pile into a truck to go back to the office. there were 8 of us all squeezed in, me and lisa sharing the passenger seat up front. we get stuck in traffic and so you get the guys that sell stuff between the cars. they all came to our winndow, pointing, screaming mambimana, which is like mami mania or something. one guys was all look, it's a car full of congolese guys with white lady siamese twins in the front!! very strange. they also alluded to our lesbianism and which one of us must be the butchy one. the whole car is laughing. actually, most of the time we're driving around we're laughing. like in the morning we saw a really small guy on a really big bike. he could barely reach the handle bars and pedals, i don't know how he did it. anyway, apparently a shipment of hedge clippers flipped over in the congo river because all the guys were selling hedge clippers. and clocks with religious or nautical themes, teletubby balloons, jump ropes and mini tennis ball key chains. wouldn't all of that just make the best xmas gifts ever? shoulda done all my shopping.
so then i met up with yolande, a congolese intern that was in my office last summer, with whom i'd make fun of the other interns in french with. she's doing her phD in the states now so she speaks total frenglish, kinda like i did when i was a kid. "alors i don't know, i think that j'aimerais order des frites." she's stuck in DRC though because she ran out of pages in her passport, and they won't renew her visa because she doesn't have any pages. can't you just get a new passport?
y'a pas.
same answer they give you at breakfast when you ask for papaya.
y'a pas.
there are no more passports in DRC. they ran out. so she is waiting for le lot magique to come in, hopefully before her semester starts again. man, c'est totally sucky, ca.

No comments: