Day 29 – June 11

Papa Jean told Jenny on the way to work that he has decided there is a ravine that I must see since I like to take pictures so much. I think it’s  great that he noticed how much I love to talk pictures. (It was funny when he said that though, I had just taken a picture for my brother haha If you hold your mouse over a picture I have posted it will show you the caption, but in case you miss this one, it says – For my brother, Ryan – Guess all good brothers are the same, even in the Congo. Right as I was turning off the camera Papa Jean mentioned the ravine.) I’m excited to see it. It’s supposedly about 2.5-3 hours away though so hopefully it works out. Also on the way to work, while we were discussing all the Chinese people that live in the Congo, he made a very funny, but interesting comment that I thought showed the Congolese culture a bit. He said, in French of course, “The Chinese walk like ducks, they should walk tall and proud like a Congolese.” While Jenny and I thought this comment was incredibly racist, we also agreed that the Congolese do walk tall and proud, upright, with their heads held high, and they all look at each other square in the eye. Even in the United States, you’ll often see people look downward to avoid eye contact. It’s a very interesting thing about the culture and people here.

When I got into the office today, there was a very exciting email! Dr. Merrill emailed me and he is submitting an article to a journal that I am an author on. I went to the Huntsman Senior Games and collected all of the data, then compiled it, and honestly had completely forgotten about it. I’m really hoping it will get published because even though I am listed as the third author, it will be my first official publication if it’s accepted!

Today I had my blood taken and it is also the last day of the medications that doctor gave me. He must have been a good doctor. I am still not feeling great, but can eat and drink. I even texted Jenny at about 10:30am asking her what time they started serving lunch. She said she’ll meet me at noon, right when they open, so we can have lunch together.

On the way home from work, I made several observations and have come to a conclusion. The first observation was a car accident. A car had hit a bus and pushed the bus into a hole. The bus was unloaded and several, easily more than a dozen, men proceeded to lift and push the bus out of the hole. Next there was another taxi that had had some sort of problem and had quit that was being pushed by yet another group of men. Then a truck, another taxi, another car, and finally a couple of mini-SUVs pulling a couple of other cars. Here, the emergency personnel and government cannot be trusted, nor do you rely on them to help. In the United States, if there is an accident, the police are called and they help, but here the police are not trusted since they often only look for bribes and are not considered to be good, or honest. As a result, the people rely on each other. They can’t rely on their government, or the services the government provides, so they rely on the kindness of other people, strangers, and the help is always received. It is too bad that the government is corrupt and untrustworthy, but in a way, it has caused the people to rely on each other and there is a much greater sense of community and people are much more willing and eager to help each other than they are in the states, for instance. I think that aspect is kind of neat.

When I got home after work, the Branch President called and asked me a favor. He attended the lecture that I taught on HIV, adolescent pregnancy, and child marriage to the Congolese on behalf of the US Embassy. If you remember, that is how we met. He owns three English schools and has asked me to speak to all of his students on June 23 at 9am before I speak to all of the LDS women in Brazzaville that afternoon. I will speak briefly on the same health topics and then he would like to open it up to questions that the students may have on those issues. I’m so excited! By the end of June 23, I will have taught 3 separate health lectures during the time I’ve been here so far.

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