A Travellerspoint blog

Blog Vacation

Okay, so you're probably wondering why I haven't written in my blog for awhile. Well, since I don't have internet at home anymore, writing a post is complicated because I would have to use work time to do it. A LOT of stuff has happened since I last posted. A LOT. Including a crocodile in my bathtub. But more on that later. Anyway, I will try and write a post tonight on my computer and then bring it into work tomorrow. That is probably going to be the only way I can continue to blog...

Hope everyone is well!


Posted by bbrodsky 00:08 Comments (0)

No Internet/The Move

Hello!! So I told you last that we were about to move...and we did. It was a humungous PAIN, because we had to pack up EVERYTHING (and mind you, I had just gotten settled in), and also they had to move all the furniture, all the beds, dishes, appliances everything. Apparently some ppl at AID screwed up and didn't let management know that they were going to have a new permanent employee coming in two weeks...oh, AID....

In any case, the house is actually great! We have a huge pool, a great deck, beautiful large kitchen, and the living room is really cute. I'll definitely take pictures. We drew for rooms, and lucky me, I got the master bedroom! The only bad thing is that we have 4 bedrooms for 5 people. One of my roommates was on a business trip this week, so we're gonna have to figure out how that's gonna work out today when she gets back. Otherwise, the house is palatial. I don't know how I'm going to live in Young O this year after living in this house! It is insane.

Oh and also, we don't have internet in the house. And I don't know when we're going to get it...so I'm writing from work (which I shouldn't be doing!). But just to update you a bit, I started teaching at the embassy's "English Access Camp" yesterday that the Public Diplomacy section organizes and runs. They needed volunteers to teach, so I offered to teach a class on how to use the internet. There are three other classes, "American holidays," "Scrapbooking," and "Sports." I'm going to be teaching 4 different sections of the internet class, all with about 20 students ages 16-18. The camp is held at a Protestant University nearby. Anyway, I taught my first section yesterday, and it was..... interesting. The kids have had about a year of English, so they have a good grasp on the language, but they still aren't used to hearing native speakers speak, so I had to talk pretty slowly. All of the kids said they had used the computer before, but not all of them had used the internet. I explained what google and wikipedia are, and talked to them a bit about what email is. Everyone seemed to be at least familiar with the idea of email, and a handful of them even had an email address. The internet stopped working for a bit, so while we were waiting for it to get fixed, I taught them "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." Believe it or not, they really liked learning and singing it. They were all really appreciative of everything, and wanted to get my contact information so that we could keep in touch. They are all really enthusiastic about learning the language. Overall, I'm really enjoying working with the kids, but in general, I don't like teaching English (or speaking it, lol). I see the value of teaching it, certainly, but I do not personally enjoy doing it.

That's about it for this week so far. I should have an interesting weekend, but I don't know what my internet access will be, so I'll see when I can update the blog. Okay, c'est tout...salut!!


Posted by bbrodsky 23:57 Comments (0)

I went to a goat bar

This is true, however I DID NOT eat the goat.

So yesterday when I was putting together that entry about facts about Kinshasa, I TOTALLY forgot that I went to a goat bar on Monday and that would have been more interesting to write about. Whoops! So in this entry, I'm going to write about that plus about what I did this weekend.

So on Monday, the famous day of the goat bar, it was my one of my roommate's birthday, and she really wanted to go to eat goat. I guess it is a popular thing to do here, and used to have it in Ghana, where she studied abroad. A bunch of ppl came, one of my roommates' boss, a couple of TDYers (what they call temp workers).

Anyway, so I'm like, okay, I guess I'm going to a goat bar!! It was the first time that I left "La Gombe," and went to a different, more real part of the city. I can't really describe the area other than it seemed to me like utter chaos. The place we went to was on a really busy street, with a ton of restaurants, clubs blasting music and stores. That probably sounds impressive, but it isn't. The restaurants and stores are basically dirty shacks, and all the food is cooked outside using fire. (It is hard to explain, you kinda have to see it). All the seating is outside, and you basically sit in beach chairs while getting eaten by mosquitoes and harassed by street kids come up to either begging for the food on your table or money.

Okay, so the goat part. I guess someone ordered for the table. It came with mashed manioc (which is a root). I did try that, and I found it to be pretty disgusting. I chewed it for about 15 minutes until I spit it out. As for the goat, it was served like kebob. And like I said, I didn't try it, so I didn't know what it tasted like, but people said it was super chewy, like chewier than it usually should be.... I can tell you that it smelled like goat though. It had the distinct smell of a goat in a barn. Also, after we all were chatting and everything we saw a goat walk by. That honestly disturbed me. It was very small, like a baby maybe. Anyway so that was mildly disturbing.

Now on to this weekend....

This past Friday night was pretty exciting. Friday is a half-day at work, so we got to go home early and chill before heading out for the evening. The Marines (there are about 6 of them) here actually have a bar in their house, and they have a "happy hour" about once a month, so we went for a bit to check that out. It was pretty fun, it was mostly young people from work. Since there aren't many expats here, the community is pretty close-knit. Also, everyone is used to a large turnover of workers, because most ppl leave every 2-3 years, plus there are a lot of TDYers, so everyone is really nice to the new ppl.

My roommate Cecily's boss had invited a bunch of ppl over to dinner (including the interns) so we headed over there. Cecily had spent the whole day chopping up food, so I knew we were in for a feast. Most of the ppl from the Marines were there, so we were hanging out with mostly the same crowd. But guess what fellow travelers to Morocco?? She cooked a Moroccan feast!! It was delicious, just like in Morocco. Cheryl (Cecily's boss) actually spent two years in Morocco with the peace corps, so she was an expert. She made a delicious ramandan soup, coucous with excellent tajines!! It was really just like in Morocco! Anyway, I was ecstatic about that. Plus the company was great.

Okay so then last night we went out clubbing with one of friend Lisa's Congolese co-workers. She works at AID doing HIV/AIDS stuff, and they have a couple of Congolese employees. Anyway, so they took all of us out to another part of town called "Bangel" (sp?). There's a bunch of clubs and bars called "Le Bloque" in that part of the city which we checked out. It was really fun actually, it was more of like a traditional club. They played a weird variety of stuff, from Shakira to Sean Paul to traditional Congolese music. We enjoyed ourselves, as usual.

Anyway, that's about it! I gotta go actually cause we're going to pizza with the gift certificate money that I won! We're going to have a pizza party and watch Lost. It should be fun!!

Also, we're moving. Details on that to follow.....(Don't you love cliffhangers!!)


Posted by bbrodsky 08:45 Comments (0)

Facts about Kinshasa

Picture update: Apparently my inability to post photos has nothing to do with this blogsite, it is the extremely slow internet here that is preventing me from being able to les afficher. I guess you'll just have to wait until I get back to the states to see them!

So apparently I'm not technically supposed to talk about what I do at work, so I'm not going to get into that. Since all I did this week was go to work, I don't really have anything to blog about. So I decided I'd just make a list of what I think are interesting/practical facts about Kinshasa....I hope you enjoy them.

It is the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It was called Leopoldville (and in Dutch, Leopoldstad) until 1966.

Brazzaville is its "sister" city, sitting directly across from it on the Congo River.

Photography is illegal without a permit.

The unemployment rate is 90%. (That's correct!!!) Its economy essentially collapsed in the 1990s due to political turmoil.

It is the largest francophone city in the world, with a population of 7-8 million.

After French, the most widely spoken language here is Lingala.

The commune "La Gombe" is where the foreign embassies are located and where most expats live. (This is the commune I live in).

It is NBA player Dikembe Mutombo's hometown.

Kinshasa had the earliest documented HIV-1 infection, which dates from 1959 and was discovered in the preserved blood sample of a local man.

It has only one fast-food restaurant chain, called HungaBusta.

There is a large Lebanese expat community.

Primus, Skol and Turbo King are popular local beers.

Corruption is a huge problem among police, the military and government officials.

The year-to-date inflation rate is approximately 25%, and the projected rate for 2008 is between 30-40%.

The Congolese franc is worth about 1/500th of a dollar. Dollars are the preferred currency (although probably the Euro should be...lol).

Well, that's what I got so far. I hope you now feel more well-informed about where I am!!

Posted by bbrodsky 06:26 Comments (0)

My Photos

In any case any one was looking for my photos.....I've been trying to put them up on here...but it looks like I picked a really bad blogsite, and I can't figure out how to do it. So I think for now I'm just going to put them up on facebook. However, if I find a way to put them up on here, I will do that as well, mmmkay?


Posted by bbrodsky 10:31 Comments (1)

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