Day 17 – May 30

Today was a rough day and I’m not even sure why. I just found myself kind of blah and down all day and I am almost never down. Work was fine, but slow, and I felt unmotivated to work on the numerous other projects I have and could have worked on. I think I am a bit frustrated with how much time I have left here and how slowly it seems to be passing. I was suddenly frustrated with being sick, feeling fatigued 24/7, and always feeling hungry despite what and how much you eat. The heat was getting to me, the lack of clean air was getting to me, and I was just very sick of everything.

I even tried doing a massive Google search to see what I could find to do in Brazzaville or the surrounding areas. I eventually came up with 4 things, but had this message (see picture) come up several times and even phrased in different ways. I didn’t even know computers were programmed to say that. I laughed and then realized it’s going to be a long few months! :-/

I prayed that Heavenly Father will help me get busy. I need to serve people. I need to interact with people. I have always benefitted more from one-on-one contact with the people I am helping than sitting in an office or doing administrative type tasks. I want to talk with the people and hear their side of things. My job is great, but you never get that. Yes, the work you are doing is supposedly affecting the entire region and therefore millions of lives, but it doesn’t seem to be enough – you can’t see the changes. I’ve been in contact with an orphanage here and I am hoping they’ll get back to me about possibly volunteering every Saturday.

  On the way home, after Jenny and I got out of the bus, there was a man going by on crutches. He looked to have a club foot, but also an injury from a mine and had it wrapped. I knew he was coming towards us and the big crowd of people waiting for taxis to beg. He specifically chose us because we were white and everyone begs us. It is sad, but begins to become old after awhile because you can’t do anything about it – there is no way to help them all and you refrain from helping because you know that most of the time the money is used to buy cigarettes. Then you ignore the comments and looks and hope that what you are doing is good enough to make up for all the people you can’t give money to. However, I cannot believe how I acted and in all honesty I am ashamed in what I did, but I think it is important to note none the less. We were a bit away from the group of people, which I knew was going to cause extra difficulty. Jenny immediately started talking to another man who was now standing in between us and I was stuck. As the man passed he said “bonne nuit” (good night), I actually found myself hesitate for about half a second before I answered him. I have never done that before! I knew that by acknowledging him it could create major difficulties for me, but I cannot believe I almost thought of not answering. That half a second seemed like one of the longest in my life… I answered “bonne nuit,” nodded in his direction, his eyes met mine, he understood, and he kept moving. I am ashamed to think that almost didn’t answer him. Despite being the only one in the group who did, I should never have hesitated! I hope I will be able to find some way to make it up my poor actions…

We caught a cab home and guess what! Electric-powered windows! I’ve never even seen those here. It was quite exciting! The funny thing is that there was no radio, or a/c, but it had power windows haha

Tonight, just before I sat down to dinner, Wes, a man who works at the US Embassy, called Jenny to get my phone number as he had a question for me. He asked if I’d be willing to speak to approximately 100 Congolese youth tomorrow evening for an hour and a half on any topic I wanted. It is part of the US Embassy’s outreach program to periodically have speakers, so that the youth who are learning English can learn about something and have language training at the same time. I asked him the time and since it is after work, I eagerly accepted. Should be a great experience! And it definitely is an answer to my prayers.

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