The days here are suddenly flying by. Each packed with unique experiences. Loading the motor bike with a dental table and supplies and people. Making new friends. Preaching. Teaching. Gardening in the tropics. Cooking and baking with a new set of ingredients. Smiling. Loving. Living for God.

The policemen here in the Congo are a special sort. The other day we ventured again into Kisangani on our motor bike (the first trip since the day of the riots). We were stopped right off by the policemen at the roundabout in town. The CFM driver was ahead of us on his bike and facilitated a smooth interaction which included document inspection but no fines. For the next few hours, they would wave and smile at us as we drove by.

After looking all over town for cheaper mushrooms, I asked Luke if we could go back to the original store to purchase what we should have procured the first time around. As we approached the roundabout from a different angle, an officer who was apparently unaware of our friendly terms with his comrades waved us down. As it turned out, he didn't need to see our documents. Only needed a five dollar donation. As Luke used his limited french vocabulary to reason with the man, the helmet he had removed (to be polite) took the opportunity to drop off the motor bike and roll away... right into the open sewer that lines every street.

For a moment the five dollars was forgotten as helpful hands reached down and pulled the helmet out of the offensive canal. Luke attempted to wring out the foul smelling liquid from the padding while the officer stood by and a little crowd gathered. The effort was rather futile. Riding home without it would give our friend a real reason to fine us five dollars. With a half smile, half grimace, my husband put the smelly article back on his head. The police apparently felt badly that he had caused such misfortune and promptly let us go with all our pennies intact.

Yesterday we were not quite so fortunate. We ran into town to buy flour and were stopped at a main intersection. The police ran out and surrounded us, all speaking rapid fire french at once. A traffic violation, they said. (Without going into the nuts and bolts of it, they were very creative in their description of exactly what our violation was). The bottom line? A $50 fine (discounted from the $100 we would pay if we went to the station).

Luke protested good naturedly that we had only come to buy flour, and such a fine was not in our budget for the day. They dropped their price to $20 and encouraged us to pay quickly and be on our way. "We know you very busy", they said helpfully. Luke shot that argument in the foot by saying, "No, we have some hours. It is okay. We wait til you give us a fine we can pay." And we leaned against our bike to demonstrate our lack of deadlines. 

That incentive foiled, they had another pow wow and came back with the question, "How much money you have?" Luke's eyes twinkled as he pulled out a great wad of cash from his pocket. 10 dollars of local money, all in increments of  100 franc bills (worth about 10 cents a piece). It was an impressive stack, but as he fanned it out and waived it around, even the official police could not keep their faces straight. The joined us in laughing at the hilarity of the situation and quickly scuttled us off to a tiny restaurant where they could do their dealings out of sight. We agreed to split the money half and half. They would have some to satisfy the traffic violation, we would have some to buy flour. Luke counted out fifty 10 cent bills and we were on our way.

And thus continues life in the Congo. :)
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Visiting with church members after the service last Sabbath (Swahili dictionary in hand). Luke and I ventured out on our own and had an interesting time communicating. :)
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Preaching at the campus church.
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I love this after church african tradition... shaking every hand and singing.
Brittney Boeser
12/5/2012 12:22:42

Thank you for the updates of your time in Congo! I talked to Keith last week and he said you were all having a wonderful time! May The Lord continue to bless! Love, Brittney

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8/5/2013 16:04:26

Very interesting..

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