My Daily Dose

Democratic Republic of Congo Travel Blog

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A common site. It's amazing how young some mother's are. What's missing is a huge load on her head.

          Fataki, with its weather and scenic environs, is so alluring that ever since I have reached here I have set up a gratifying routine of a run at dawn and an evening walk. My morning run starts at 0600 hours. Well, almost. With the pressures of Army style fall-ins missing, the crisp habits are waning into lethargy and I am invariably a few minutes late. Surprising that missing the top of the hour should bug me so.

          Fataki is awake too. A few kids saunter aimlessly around their mud huts. Men head out to the fields with their machetes and spades, the sleep still heavy in their eyes.

Teenagers hanging out. Easily excited and full of attitude.
Most faces are by now familiar. But not all are friendly. As I run past, I usually initiate the greetings with “Jambo” or “Bon Jour”. Replies vary from a raised hand to a weary smile or one from a surfeit of verbal replies -" Jambo, Hujambo, Habari, Bon Jour or simply Oui". Another popular reply is a stoic stare which probably means “Yeah Bonn Jour for you, you dollar-earning, no-work-so-I-am-running hippie” or something thereabouts. This last one seems to be falling out of favour though, maybe because they are getting used to the sight of this Indian, or so I like to think.

          The women are some other material. In the mornings they can be found working around their house or making the routine trek to fetch water, invariably with a kid secured to their back.

The guys work only in the fields.Or so I presume. Rest of the time they just hang around.
Never tired, always cheerful and they almost predictably greet back with double the enthusiasm. When greeting a group, expect loud replies accompanied with giggles and comments. In the initial few days a common comment was “ringa, ringa” (literally meaning running here and there) followed by howls of glee. Perhaps used as a noun to describe this joker who pointlessly runs every morning. But that has since died away.
 
          The evening walks are a different experience. Now the roads are full -" kids returning home from school, teenaged males hanging around, playing cards or some form of board game. The majority just stand around in a loose-waisted, hunch-backed, hands-in-pocket stance. They are an interesting lot and more on them some other time.

          I walk fast but not fast enough.

School kids with our vehicle in the background
Now I am accessible to the kids realizing freedom from the day’s school and they run past shouting, giggling, wanting to shake my hand and trying their best to incite a response. A bolder one will try and walk at my pace, stiff-legged, arms flapping and unable to keep up, will shout probably the only English word in his lexicon -" “Hello”. The rest of the gang, following at a steady trot, amused beyond recovery, break into peals of laughter. The youngster realising his chance to stardom, continues similar antics. After a while, it’s time to ignore him. He soon gets the message and breaks off, finding a discarded plastic bottle to play football with. Sporadic exchanges of greetings, as in the morning, continue…   

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A common site. Its amazing how yo…
A common site. It's amazing how y…
Teenagers hanging out. Easily exci…
Teenagers hanging out. Easily exc…
The guys work only in the fields.O…
The guys work only in the fields.…
School kids with our vehicle in th…
School kids with our vehicle in t…