aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Tenke Jamboree 2014, Part Seven


Monday, 7/14

As promised, Phred and I leave the young’uns to sleep in while we go to have breakfast with Mumba, Innocent, and Sampasa. Bishop Ntambo calls me on the phone to ask how things went. The morning passes in a leisurely fashion. We finally get everybody up and moving by lunchtime.

Dave notices that there are several bags of yellow liquid in Mumba’s cooler that people seem to be enjoying. He asks what it is. It’s called munkoyo, a mildly fermented corn drink, sort of a maize shandy. He asks if he can try some. He likes it, and asks for the recipe.


Papaya tree
Behind the guest house


Everybody’s tired
Camp is over, time to relax

In the afternoon, we do a walkabout of the town with Pastor Innocent and DS Mumba. We drop in on the Chief’s office to pay our respects. He is very cordial. He presents us with a certificate of appreciation from the town of Tenke to the Church and the Scouts. Then he tells us that it is important that we continue our relationship and asks to exchange cell phone numbers. Now, the Chief doesn’t speak English, so I wonder why he wants my cell phone number. I don’t really expect him to ever call me, but it’s a symbol of our cordiality. And it means he’s just given us his cell phone number. As we leave his office, I say to Mitch, “Do you know what this is? This is a Get Out of Jail Free card.” If we get in trouble anywhere on his patch before we leave, the Chief’s just given us permission to call him directly. I imagine just letting someone know we can call him would deter most hassles.

We visit the town clinic – a miniature hospital, well stocked and with a good staff. We see where TFM is building a new school for the town, too. And we see the water treatment plant. TFM supplies potable water to several tapping stations around town.

The young folks wanted to change some money. Dave pulls out his wallet on the street to hand Innocent some cash. Innocent tells him to wait until we get to the guest house, because if you pull money out on the street, you might be attract too much of the wrong kind of attention. So we return to the guest house to rest and pack. And nap.


New school being built in Tenke
Assisted by a grant from Tenke Fungurume Mine


Monkeys looking for bananas
Not yet ripe

Tuesday, 7/15

Mumba hires a couple of cars to drive us and our bags to the bus stop on the highway. There, we board the bus for Lubumbashi, where we are met by Nhoris and Maloba. We drop our stuff at the guest house and then go out for pizza. As we walk along the street, we notice a station wagon taxi with its hatch up in back transporting a very nice wooden casket. I hope it’s unoccupied.

We pass the Robocop. This is a humanoid traffic control device, invented by a woman in Kinshasa, to govern the ungovernable traffic in DRC. There are two robocops at intersections in Kinshasa and one here in Lubumbashi. The figure rotates, moves its arms, displays red and green lights – and takes pictures of license plates. The absolute assurance that traffic infractions will lead to fines makes this the one truly safe intersection in the whole city.

I go to the bank with Maloba to try to use the Visa TravelMoney card I got for this trip and to change some personal money for team members. My card won’t work. Period. This is worrisome. After I get back and give the team members their Congolese francs, I discover that the clerk has cheated me. She has short-changed me by $200. Maloba insists we go back, because she will correct her “mistake.” He is amazed when she smoothly lies. I tell the team members we’ll make good their losses from team funds. I borrow Maloba’s cell phone to call Old National Bank and VISA several times, trying to get the bank card to work. It won’t. Now, we’re in a real pickle. Unexpected expenses (such as departure tax) keep piling up. We might have to pool all our personal cash just to get home, since I can’t get the debit card to work, and nobody in DRC can give you a cash advance from a credit card.

Instead of going out to eat, we bought some food on the way back to the guest house earlier. We cook up some basic chow – a one-pot meal of sausage, onions, potatoes, and eggs – and relax. I take a shower. We play cards and chat about the mission with the guys (Nikki went to bed instead of staying up). The conversation continues to shape my thoughts which will lead to a formal evaluation of the mission.


Bricks stacked for firing
Native brick is fired on site


Congo River near its source
No bigger than the White or the Eel back home


Robocop, Lubumbashi
One of three in DRC

Wednesday, 7/16

This is our day to play tourists. While we’re waiting for the Bishop to come pick us up, we walk across the street to the big UM church. This is Jerusalem Church, the home of Methodism in South Congo. It was built in 1928. There’s a school and a clinic there, too. Services are in both French and English.

Ntambo picks us up and we go in his car to his Lubumbashi home. We get to meet Mama Nshimba, his wife, whom I have not seen for many years. We admire his garden. I follow up on a request for help with our money situation, and Ntambo advances me $1,000 to get us home. His daughter lives in Indianapolis, and he says I can return the money to her. And with that, all our money hassles are resolved.

The Bishop has arranged for us to visit the Governor’s game park, about 30 km away. Business keeps him from accompanying us – he leaves for Tanzania tomorrow to conduct Annual Conference – but he sends his driver and car. The game park is not a hunting preserve, but a place to entertain guests that will double as a tourist park when it’s completed. At the entrance, pavilions have been built for guests. Two masons were building something with great skill. When we asked what it would be when finished, they replied, a pizza oven. Not what we were expecting. A swimming pool has also been excavated and is awaiting cement.

We get in a converted Humvee to tour the park. There are a lot of different kinds of antelope, some zebra and giraffe. It’s nice, but kind of sad, especially after you’ve done a big park like Mikumi in Tanzania. I mean, the animals have all been gathered and placed here. There are no predators, and they have to be fed. There’s all the difference in the world between roaming free and actually living in the wild. It feels a bit like an American theme park. How odd to come to Africa to visit a park that packages Africa as if it were in America. But then, there aren’t a lot of game animals on the Katanga Plateau, and the population is becoming increasingly urbanized. For a lot of Africans – and we meet some who are also touring the part and look like they’re having a good time – this is their only opportunity to see the big game that is part of their heritage.

We return to Lubumbashi and eat at the Chicken Inn, then return to the guest house. The Bishop drops by one more time before leaving town – he delivers us pizza for supper. We all think it’s odd that we’ve spent two weeks in Africa and had pizza three times. We finish the evening playing cards.


Jerusalem Church
Home church of Methodism in South Congo


Masons working on pizza oven
Sometimes Africa is just too weird to explain


BSU Swim Team ready to perform at animal park
An apparent swimming pool being dug


At the animal park

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