Sunday, December 1, 2013

Democratic Republic of Congo, The First Week

So, when we left off, our intrepid voyagers had just arrived in the DRC...

We pick up the story on the way to our new home. Once our bags were loaded, we hopped into the van for the final leg of travel. By that time, it was just about 7 pm, and we had been traveling for over 30 hours, with maybe 4 hours sleep. Saying we were tired, is a bit of an understatement. It had been dark for about an hour or so when we hit the road and we were so hoping to snooze on the ride home. But our first experiences with the local traffic kept us awake.
Photo: They are here!
                                    Photo by Jocelyn Frey...Side note, I literally thought I was                                        smiling normally...Oh, jet lag and sleep deprivation... 
Now we have spent time in several countries: England, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and by far, the worst for traffic was the Dominican Republic. Well, the roads and traffic here made driving in the Dominican look like the Tin Lizzies at Opryland (I totally just dated myself...I'm too young to sound this old). 

There were cars and people EVERYWHERE! Cars driving on sidewalks, people in the road, cars going in every direction possible...except forward. There were no road lights, but we could see along the side of the street all the vendors with candles and small fires going. The flow of people was mind boggling. I thought the crowds would begin to thin out eventually, but nope. They just kept coming...

It took us about an hour or so to drive the 16 miles to the Frey's house. The Frey's are another awesome MAF family serving here (even though they are with MAF Canada, but we won't hold that against them), you can check out their blog here. The timing of our arrival couldn't have been more perfect. They were scheduled to leave the week after we arrived and needed someone to stay in their house while they are in 'Merica for some training. 

MAF policy requires us to not have any aviation responsibilities the first week or so after we arrive in country, to give us the best possible chance of adjusting. For the first couple of days, we couldn't tell what was sleep deprivation and what was jet lag. But after about day 3 we started to get caught up on our sleep and did feel the effects of jet lag. While Nick went to the hangar and did his MAF thing, we stayed behind and hung out with Jocelyn and Ruth. They were a HUGE help for us, patiently answering soooo many questions about life in the DRC. Plus Adah and Ruth got to hang out.
Photo: We have discovered jewelry... And we LOVE it!
Photo by :Jocelyn Frey
Each night, one of the other families invited us over for dinner. The first night was with our program manager and his family. The second night was with the chief pilot and his family, and the third was with the chief of maintenance and his. The other nights were a combination of two or three or just hanging with the Frey's. Finally, when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, we had been there a week and I got to go to the Airport! And on that bombshell, we will continue with the next addition of our story at a later time.

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