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Crocodile in the Bathtub, Dikembe Mutombo, House Party

This is ALL TRUE

Okay, so as you might have read in my previous post, I wrote that there was a crocodile in my bathtub, and that there would be details to follow. It was last Thursday to be exact, and in a nutshell, here's what happened. We walked into our house, I smelled something bad, Tiffany went to go check it out, and subsequently flipped out upon seeing a crocodile the length of bathtub in OUR bathroom.

I should mention that it was not like a wild animal that crept into our house....and we immediately noticed that its jaws WERE bound. It would be impossible for a crocodile to sneak into the house for several reasons. First of all, there aren't any crocodiles in Kinshasa. Second, if there were, they would be eaten, as all wildlife is. Third, we have guards and high walls, so it isn't like the crocodile could punch the guard and try and jump the fence. So here's what we found out. Apparently, one of our other roommates who just came back from a trip that day, apparently brought home a crocodile from the town she had been staying in, and wanted to eat it eventually.......Had she been home, or had she TOLD US, we would have at least known that she had brought it there....although I'm pretty sure I still would have found that a totally inappropriate thing to do.

Now, I'm pretty sure no one I know has walked into their bathroom and seen a crocodile in their bathtub, but you can imagine that you might feel terrified, disgusted, shocked and scared...and let me tell you, we were flipping out. We called the Marines, the RSO, everyone. The RSO actually came to our house with his brothers and at least removed the reptile from our home. The crocodile got so nervous and agitated that it ended up shitting all over the bathtub, which was extremely disgusting.

We were all really mad at Cynthia for doing that, and we had a house meeting to discuss why that was inappropriate. She totally understood and apologized profusely, so we're all good now. Apparently she had sent a text message to one of our other roommates who was working late, saying we had a new "house pet," but that clearly wasn't good enough. I was really disgusted and mad at her, but we're all good now. I know she wasn't seriously trying offend. I think it was just a serious lack of forethought...

Okay, so the day following the night of the crocodile, I met Dikembe Mutombo!! If you don't know who he is, he's a famous NBA basketball player who has played on the 76ers, the Rockets...and a bunch of other teams, and holds various defensive records, like for shot-blocking. He came to the Access Camp (where I have been teaching the "internet" class), because he himself is from Kinshasa and does a lot of humanitarian work in the city. He even built a whole hospital, which is the biggest and best hospital probably in the country. So that was cool.

The same day, we went to see a "bonobo" sanctuary just outside of Kinshasa. Bonobos are an endangered species similar to the chimpanzee, and they are only found in the DRC. They understand language and often stand up-right. It was really really cool to see them. They are so human-like! It's crazy. Here's a blurb about their closeness to humans from Wikipedia:

"Bonobos are capable of passing the mirror-recognition test for self-awareness. They communicate through primarily vocal means, although the meanings of their vocalizations are not currently known. However, most humans do understand their facial expressions[9] and some of their natural hand gestures, such as their invitation to play. Two Bonobos at the Great Ape Trust, Kanzi and Panbanisha, have been taught a vocabulary of over 3,000 words which they can type using a special keyboard of lexigrams (geometric symbols), and they can respond to spoken sentences. Some, such as philosopher and bioethicist Peter Singer, argue that these results qualify them for the "rights to survival and life," rights that humans theoretically accord to all persons."

Anyway, so after we got home from the bonobos, we immediately had to go into "houseparty" mode, cause we had invited basically everyone we knew over for a house-warming. I had never had a houseparty before, so it was fun. It was funny because a lot of ppl we knew didn't end up coming, but then we had a ton of people come who we didn't know at all. I guess that is how parties work...word gets around. All in all, it was a success.

Okay, so then on Sunday, we went visited a manioc (otherwise known as casava) farm run by one of Katherine's co-workers. He has 14 hectares of land, and also makes palm oil, palm wine...he has mango trees, banana trees, and tons of stuff. It was definitely eye-opening to see how little industry there is in agricultural here. I could tell Paul had a rich farm by Congolese standards, but the technology was all looked pretty primitive to me. The workers were basically doing everything by hand, and very little machinery was used at all, except some hydroelectric power. If his farm is considered "semi-industrial," I can't imagine what other poorer farms are like...

Anyway, so sorry about ranting about all of that. Also, sorry if there are lots of typos cause I am writing this at work so I was trying to write as quickly as possible. All in all, it was a particularly crazy end of the week/weekend....although after this weekend, I don't think I can be shocked by anything anymore. Kinshasa is crazy. Anything can happen here.

-Bonni

Posted by bbrodsky 23:45

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