Saturday, September 29, 2007

A true story

Dieudonné was one of Bemba’s guards. Unfortunately, Dieudonné was caught by the Republican Guard during the fighting in March and taken to some field to be executed. Fortunately, Dieudonné managed to escape, and after running through the fields, he eventually made it to the road, where he came across a man to whom he was able to tell his woes. Unfortunately, the man turned out to be a Republican Guard and immediately arrested him. Fortunately, the Republican Guard had some urgent shopping to do before taking Dieudonné back to the camp. So now Dieudonné and the Republican Guard are strolling down the street together, while the one shops and the other helps him carry his wares. Fortunately, this must have softened the Republican Guard’s heart, and once the shopping session is over Dieudonné finds he is offered a lift home instead of being taken to be executed. Unfortunately, Dieudonné’s wife is furious with him, calls him stupid for letting the Republican Guard know where he lives, and sends him packing. Fortunately, MONUC agrees to take Dieudonné in. Unfortunately, MONUC now doesn’t have a clue what to do with him and others like him. But Dieudonné is alive, against all odds.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kiss of death

Catching up with what’s going on outside my little world.

The big news about DRC appears to be the return of Ebola, which in 2005 killed 250 people in Kikwit and is now suspected to have killed some 180 people in Western Kasai, with a further 200 or so possible cases. Our friend from Reuters reports that people from the affected area no longer kiss each other or shake hands. Fair enough.

Here in Kinshasa the news has barely registered, however. The talk is mostly about the east, where the conflict remains unresolved and threatens to escalate. President Kabila has given dissident general and self-proclaimed protector of the Tutsi minority Laurent Nkunda 21 days to send his men to “brassage” – the process by which they will be integrated within the National Army. It seems unlikely that he will agree, and the question remains whether or not the Rwandan government will get involved, despite assurances that they will not. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, J.P. Bemba (remember him?) is still in Portugal, and the opposition in disarray. Those of Bemba’s guards who gave themselves up to the UN after the events in March are still in the MONUC compound, learning Spanish with the Uruguayans. The UN doesn’t have a clue what to do with them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Well, well, well.

Needless to say, I have rather neglected Nayembi these last few weeks – well, months really. The sign of a fuller life? To some extent, perhaps. Really it’s the sign of an all-absorbing working day.

I often used to indulge in blogging just after lunch, when my brain rebelled against work, and I could just about convince myself that there were still enough hours left in the day to allow such a short, harmless distraction. Of course, I invariably brought work home with me to finish in the evenings…

These days I have reinvented myself as a trainer, which is a lot of fun, but leaves no time for distractions. These days, after lunch is the time for energizers and practical exercises, because the sexagenarian magistrates whom we train also find it hard to engage their brains whilst digesting. So most days you will find me dressed in a ridiculous disguise, demonstrating through role-play some of the concepts we developed in the morning. You’d think it might put off our reputedly stuffy, conventional and old-fashioned students, but they absolutely love it.

I dare not illustrate my words with a few choice photos of Supreme Court presidents wearing harlequin hats and fake mustaches, but you get the gist.

Last night we finally had our housewarming party, coupled with F’s birthday and a friend’s leaving do. Our house has been nicknamed Ipanema, which gives you an idea. Some say we have the perfect venue to shoot a porn movie, and indeed, the evening ended with two scantily clad ladies wearing nothing but a bikini bottom and a wet, see-through blouse (this being after everyone threw each other in the pool fully dressed) dancing together in the candlelight as the boys unimaginatively urged them to kiss. Worryingly, they claimed to be heading to a local nightclub when they left our party at 4.30am.

Dure dure, la vie en Afrique!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


We're off to Zongo this week-end. Sneak preview:

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Virtual tour