Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking Back: One Year Ago Today–Heading Out and About

Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010

(Remember…our friends’ names have been changed!)

I was completely surprised at how well Blake and Lauren slept! We were pooped last night and really needed a good night’s sleep. Thank you, Lord! We fed them at 9:30 p.m.and they went right to sleep. Our room only had one double bed, so we had them sleep on an extra twin mattress on the floor (with a mosquito net, of course).


It was 5:15 before we heard anything from them. Lauren was awake and very restless. We’d never heard her cry, and knew that sometimes children who had been orphaned don’t cry (when a baby’s cries go unanswered for so long, they just quit crying…it’s rather sad) so we didn’t know if she was hungry or not. We decided just to go ahead and feed her. Blake was up soon, too, once we started moving around the room. It was so wonderful to wake up and see their sweet, beautiful faces!



After breakfast, our task for the day was to head to the US Embassy. While there were 9 families total, we were divided into two groups…Group 1 and Group 2. (Not the most creative names, but hey, it worked.) Group 1 had their interviews at the Embassy. It’s a long story, but originally, those were Group 2’s interviews. Due to some staff turnover at the Embassy, there was a lot of confusion during the time that Group 1’s original interview dates occurred, and due to issues beyond Group 1’s control, they weren’t able to complete them as planned. The Embassy moved the interviews around, switching Group 1’s interviews to our original date, and moving Group 2’s back one week. But because the Embassy waited to do that until just a couple of days before, almost all of us just kept our same flights. We still held out some hope that maybe if we were there in person, they’d go ahead and see us. If not, that meant that our entire first week in country would not be of any benefit to helping bring our kiddos home. We knew that the process to finish our paperwork would take anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks, so one whole extra week with nothing moving forward was not ideal.

We learned quickly that getting places in Kinshasa is difficult. And hot! We all “crammed” in a van. I put quotes because when you see the Congolese taxi vans, that’s crowded! Like rip the seats out, put benches in, cram probably 30+ people on the benches with several more people hanging out the doors crowded.

The US Embassy was smaller than I had pictured. We went and waited while Group 1 had interviews. It was tough for those of us in Group 2 because we could see that it only takes 6 minutes or so to do each interview, but it didn’t work for them to just “fit us in” and we knew we’d have to wait a week for our rescheduled interviews. While we were there we tried to register online that we were in country like they want all Americans visiting DRC to do, but that was taking forever, so we were really more just along for the ride.

Oh, so here’s a story…

While we waited in the Embassy, Lauren pooped for the first time since we met her. I went to the bathroom to go change her. Our escort, Barb, asked if I needed help, but I said no, I’d be fine. Well, I got her on the diaper deck and started to change her and ohmygoodness, she exploded! Poop shot out her bottom and flew about five feet across the room! I have never seen poop like that before in my life, and I’ve seen poop! I mean, Lauren is my fifth child! I got the giggles and called for Barb after all. She opened the door, stepped in it, and almost fell! Poor Barb will probably have remnants of that in her shoe for a looong time! At home, we rank the disgustingness of our kiddos’ poops by how many wipes it took to clean. Usually the really bad ones are four or five wipers. This one? No joke, probably at least a 20 wiper! Not the surprise I was hoping for today, but at least we got some good laughs.

After the Embassy, our group walked just a block or so away to a market that Diana (our American attorney) said was for westerners, but we were one of very few westerners. The people there were mostly Congolese. We got lots of stares. I have to admit, it was eye-opening to truly feel what it’s like to be a minority.

After the market, the group split up and Hubby went to a different market, one for locals, to buy rice and beans for an orphanage. Some of our group went there a couple of days ago (Group 1 arrived in Congo a few days before those of us in Group 2 did, so they had already experienced some of Kinshasa) and didn’t have the best experience. They discovered that if you make eye contact and converse with people, a large crowd ends up gathering around you. I guess it got a little mob-ish and frightening until Pastor Peter got back to the van and got them out of there. We all agreed not to send our entire group back to that particular market, just to avoid drawing attention to ourselves again. But because it’s much more affordable to buy the supplies we needed to take to the orphanage there, a couple of guys went, Hubby included. I went back to the guest house with Blake and Lauren. Go figure, that afternoon there was a huge rainstorm and Hubby was very delayed. When it rains, the city kind of shuts down. Roads flood very easily, and travel becomes even more difficult. It was kind of nerve-wracking being apart and I was so glad to see him arrive “home” that night!



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