Tuesday, April 9, 2013

shouldn't get used to this...

marie had to go to her project site, so i had to house to myself all weekend.

i thought it would be a nice touch to have it all clean when she got back - uh no, i wasn't going to do it myself, so stop thinking that - so i called jean, the little ironing guy to come by. i say little because seriously, he comes up to my shoulders, i'm finally taller than someone! he is a bit of a neat freak, and constantly criticizes everything in front of marie "those dishes! unfolded clothes!" and does everything but call her a slob. she only lets him iron, and i have to say, the house is a bit messy. i'd like to walk around barefoot on the tile once in a while so i asked jean to come and tidy up.
he was pretty happy actually, like finally i will bring some order into this place! made the beds and everything, while nodding his head in disapproval, and clicking his mouth like, "i can't believe these people." before he irons, he puts on these huge bifocal reading glasses. in one of my skirt pockets, he found a 50 franc bill and ironed that, too. handed it back to me, steaming hot, nodding as he does, thinking...these white people, so careless with their money, too!... after ironing he brings the items into my room, but i don't have any hangers. so i fold it up and put it on the shelf and i thought he was going to spit at me - folding his perfectly ironed items! he grabs me, madame!! sorry jean, look! i'm hanging it, here. back away...
the one thing you can't let jean touch is the garden, though. his idea of weeding is pulling up all the plants marie just put in so no garden, today, jean. he really wants to sweep the grass and i must tell him, no.

meanwhile, my friend carla and her seamstress came over and together we designed a whole new set of clothes for me with all the fabric i bought. because on thursday, i skiddadled out of the office with jolie, who works the cafe at the office, she says her mom sells pagnes, which are the 6m long african print fabics. and so i called my taxi bernard (my deaf, adorable papy replacement who NEVER has gas! i pay him and make him promise to put gas in the car but he never does and sometimes we need to stop and he pulls a jug out of the trunk...he philosophizes that this is more efficient or something). anyway, jolie takes us to the grand marché, just about exactly where i got mugged last year...but this time i literally had nothing but a 50$ bill in my bra. joli takes us through this cavernous maze of vendors, i would have never found my way out if i needed and we're in this one place where everyone, EVERYONE is selling fabric. it's called the universe of pagnes, logically. we get to jolie's mother's stand. it's deathly hot, and all the women are fighting for my business. i left out of there 100$ lighter and 100m of fabric heavier.

fabric lady
So carla's seamstress came over and we sat in the gazebo and she took my measurements for miniskirts, pants, dresses, and pillowcases. you name it. and yes, i will have a dress that matches my pillows.
there's a catalog you can look at, with vuluptuous models.  i have to remind them i don't got that cleavage or butt, ladies...everything is customizable. i don't know what to choose, carla pretty much decides for me. the seamstress is noting everything and saying in a worrying tone, "you want it lined, too? it's gonna cost you..."

the catalog...
a custom made long dress is 10$.
i threw in a dress for carla so by next friday we'll have matching outfits! with hot pink and neon orange spirals.i should make tennis dresses for me and tanya.
when jean left, i didn't really know how much to pay him. marie gives him 15$ for ironing, no wonder why he wants to come every day! i threw in an extra 10, which is practicaly what i pay my putzfrau back in berlin. jean said he wished i would stay in kinshasa forever and ever and never go back to germany and my house would be so clean i could walk barefoot all the time. my thoughts sway to the singing coming from one of the churches nearby, the sounds of parakeets and car horns and i might be getting a bit too used to living in kinshasa...

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