Saturday, November 14, 2015

Interestingly, as we toured the city of Kinshasa, our tour guide pointed out where the Muslims lived. Later, he pointed out the Catholic sector and then, we went through one of the poor sections of town, followed by the rich people's area. Segregation of all sorts occur within the city and folks are not concerned about pointing that out. We passed the oldest church in Kinshasa, which was built in the late 1800's and was established by the Baptists. The building is still being used. We drove along the side of this church, which had broken windows and looked a bit unkempt.  The tour guide said it still holds services every Sunday. One of the other tour members noticed that the church had broken windows, and the guide indicated that, "God doesn't care if windows are whole or not. People still attend and pray there." Loved it.

While discussing the history of the country and Kinshasa, it was mentioned that "ki or kin" is added to various place names and it means, "the." So, Kin means "the" and Shasa means, "sold." "The sold" is an area which had been sold and bought from the Belgians. Kiswahili means, "The Swahili." I understood that there were two languages: Kiswahili and Swahili and that they were sister languages, similar to dialects. Nope...these are the same. For example, kicongo is what one calls the language of, "the Congo." After awhile, I asked that we talk in, "Kianglaise," or the English...which I needed to hear after tiring of hearing French for so long. The translator thought this humorous!!
This is a random photo taken while in the street. I wasn't able to shoot many photos of the shops or places of business because so many people were on the streets. Safety is a concern and I was told that many people believe that when their photos are taken, they lose part of their souls. So, I was extra careful to not shoot many photos of people's daily lives. Sad, because this truly is one of the poorest countries I have seen and I would love for my friends and family to see just how lucky we are. We are truly fortunate in so many ways.  This shot is of a workshop. Tire repair was going on but one of the men was also constructing something out of metal rods. 

I heard several mentions of owls in conversations so asked a bit about why they were so important. It was pointed out that there are night time owls and day time owls. These look alike, but the nighttime owls are called, "hibou" which is also what the secret police are called. Both are lurking around at night...watching. The daytime owl is called chouette and is very passive and apparently, not predatory at all.

We stopped at The National Museum and saw incredible photos and sculptures. Best were indigenous pictures of tribal scaring, ritual circumcision and labial plates. The tribal scaring and ritual circumcision photos were taken of the Kutu, Bolia and Topoke tribes. Labial plate photos were taken of women in the Oriental Provinces, in the area of Kisangani or "the Kisangani." There was a great video of the Katanga women dancing and I swear, their dance looked just like the dances of the Inuits in Alaska. The similarities were greater than the dissimilarities.

At the museum, which was open air and in disarray, was this picture of Jesus created by Dina Ekanga Walo. She created this with small needles, positioned to create this image. There were several of this type and the shadowing was amazing.

Around the corner from the picture of Jesus was a painting called, "Life is a combat." A painting of a man and woman engaged in a fight for life...for decisions, for right. Looked perfect to me...think marriage!!

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