Day 6 & 7 in the DRC

Ken and Didier didn’t stop at the internet Cafe Sunday, so I received two days of updates this morning. It’s such a joy to hear details of Kiffanie’s warming up to Ken, then stepping back a bit again as she struggles with wanting yet fearing to trust. In less than a week, they’ll be home! They leave the DRC Thursday, but won’t arrive here until late afternoon/early evening on Friday. (And then, the real journey begins!)

Tangent: With two roosters crowing in the yard behind me, the “how to butcher a chicken” paragraph might come in useful too. I’ll read that section to our roosters as a warning to pipe down or become dinner.

Here’s Ken!

Day 6

Well things are going better with Kiffanie. When we woke up this morning, I held out my hand to her and for the first time she took it and got up. I gave her a great big hug. While it was not really returned, she did not fight me either. We stayed around the guest house together for a while and then she went next door instead of down to the orphanage, but this gave me time to wash my hair and eat my usual breakfast. Then Kiffanie and I went over to the orphanage. I was hoping to get some pictures of the children playing, but instead Kiffanie grabbed the camera and the kids all flocked to me. I told Didier he will have to go with me one of these days, and take the pictures for me.

After I left there, kids were eating breakfast, I wandered back to the guest house and Didier was warming water for his shower. It sounds like he has the same back problems I do, so he wants very warm water to loosen his back. Then two of the other children and Kiffanie came in and started going through my things again. I finally had to lock the door to the bedroom, as I feel I cannot discipline them, but they would not listen.  Another Kiffanie challenge, she likes to explore and if she thinks that they are in any way hers, she just goes and gets them. On the other hand, she does share with others.  Especially food, if she takes an apple from me, she will let all the other children have a bite. Not what we are used to in the US, but at least it is a start.

When we went down town today, Didier needed some work done on his van. As we were waiting, I saw a hospital across the street and just happened ask about Kivren.  (Kivren is the baby girl who won’t be coming home to us, if you search this blog for her name, you’ll read our small part in her story.)  He said that was the hospital she was in.  I took a picture. Even after she was released from the hospital, she still had respiratory issues, but was getting better each day. He still prays for her and hopes for a good life. What a miracle that she was given a chance at life.

Didier told me just today that the police around here are not very well respected. They are very prominent and stand at many of the street corners. They cannot do patrols like they do in the US. However, they randomly stop cars and ask for a bribe or they will haul you in to the office and then it will really cost a lot of money–even if all your papers are in order. I saw him earlier in the week just ignore a policeman when he had his hand up to stop. I thought this was odd, but now i understand. About an hour after he told me about the police, we were stopped. Because of the white man in the car, we were asked for money. Didier said it was less than one dollar, but still I think it is completely unfair. Who am I though.

When we got back to the orphanage, many of the children were outside playing. Kiffanie came up and gave me a great big hug. I don’t know if it’s because there were other kids around, or because she wanted to hug her papa.  Didier’s kids ran the batteries down on my camera today, but not until I got quite a few fun shots in the orphanage. They have fun group of children over there right now. Only two are not spoken for, but both are very sweet and fun.  Let the other adoptive parents know that I will have a good many pictures to show them when I get back. The Internet is painfully slow here, and the small pictures from the iPad take about five minutes each, so I’m not even going try the bigger ones.

Kiffanie got her hair changed today. I am not sure of the lady’s name that did her hair, but you will see pictures when I get home. She used a needle to get the little tiny band two knots out (note from Dell, “band two knots” = “bantu knots”.) It was a very slow process. They left Kiffanie’s hair out and put a large elastic scrunchy type thing in her hair. I will get a picture sent to show you.

Dinner tonight was beef, potato, foo-foo, and salad (plus one of the unknown veggies).  Didier eats with his family when there are not guests around. He says when there is not someone visiting, he doesn’t eat unless he is hungry,, but will sit with his family anyway. He commented earlier what a good wife he has, and how busy she stays all the time.

I thought the children were watching a cartoon again tonight, so I thought I would take my shower early. However, right in the middle the door opened. Now the bathroom door was still closed, she just walked up to the kitchen table and waited. When I finished in the bathroom, I walked up and sat beside her. She was just playing with a rubber band, and really did not acknowledge that I came in. I prattled on about what we could do, but of course she did not understand. So she just stood there playing with her rubber band. I gave her a little time and then reached out and coaxed her into my lap. She seemed a little tense still, but did not try to get away. Eventually, her eyes grew heavy so we went into the bedroom, and I snuggled beside her for about twenty minutes. At last, she was sound asleep, so I got up to finish getting ready for bed before Didier came back shut down the generator for the night. I do think progress is being made, I just hope it is enough for Thursday’s travel.

I have totally neglected something here. I have not told you how I get water for “showers” and the toilet. In the guest house, Didier has two thirty gallon trash cans. They have a cover so mosquito propagation is not a problem. Then he has a couple of quart scoops (probably a liter actually) and then a five gallon bucket. You scoop about a gallon of water into the five gallon bucket and dump directly into the toilet. For my shower, there is a two gallon pan that I fill with water and heat on a propane burner. While not fun, I at least feel like I can get clean. He has two wells that he can draw water from. One is 10 meters deep and you have to use a rope to pull water up. The other is 43 meters deep and has a hand pump. Not so bad except for carrying the water from the pump to the house. Didier shares his well water with the other houses around him, but had to limit the amount of water each family could have because they were taking extra and selling it to others.

Tomorrow is Sunday and we will have church in the morning at ten. I think it runs about two hours, or until the congregation gets too hot. I will bring a picture of the church back with me.

I love you all,

Day 7

Got up with my sweet Kiffanie this morning. She is still being a little aloof, but doesn’t fight or run away when I reach for her in the morning. We definitely chose the tom boy of the group. She is the least affectionate of the girls and the most active, she is going to give our boys a run for there money.  She left to go with the orphans for breakfast and getting dressed. Later, I wandered down to the orphanage and was attacked by the children. They love to be swung around, jump up on me, and just be held. They are very sweet children.  After about 30 min, I went back to finish getting ready for church.

I have pictures of the van packed with children on the Kodak. You will not believe how many kids can fit into a Toyota mini van. I think I may have mentioned this before. Off to church we went, which was similar to the what I described Friday night. What was different was two things, first that they had about 100 people in the service. They are a late arriving crowd, at 10, there was maybe 50 people and 20 of them were children. The other difference was that pastor Didier ask me to pray for his people and then at the end he prayed for Kiffanie and myself. These people that have so little and yet pray so much. One thing I forgot to describe the other night was the transformation that comes over Didier when he preaches. The mild mannered orphanage man becomes like that traveling evangelist at a church we once attended. He described bits of his sermon to me later, and it sounds like an excellent message I would agree with (on obedience), but he was talking very loud, and walking from one side of the podium to the other, waving his hands in frantic gestures.  I almost forgot they do have a microphone and amplifier, I am surprised they need it. Kieran is the one who would have suffered the most. (Kieran nearly bursts when sitting “still” through church–he manages, but barely–and “still” is relative.) The service really started with some singing at about 9:50 and did not end until 12:30. Then they had a brief Sunday school.

We did not leave church until almost 2:30. We then drove down to the market and purchased a live chicken. Yes there was a head sticking out of the bag, it’s legs were tied together,and into the van with 18 people it went. Two things I asked Didier on the way home, could I take a picture of he and Annie and could I watch the chicken being slaughtered. I got to do both. The pictures of Annie and Didier are on the Kodak and actually so are pictures of the chicken.

Let me quickly describe the process. First, place right foot on the chickens legs. Then, put your left foot on the chickens wings. Reach down and grasp the chickens neck in your left hand and cut off the head using the knife in your right hand. Allow the chicken to bleed until it stops flopping around. Put chicken in a container and pour hot water into the container. After about 30 seconds, pour out the hot water and begin to remove the feathers. Start on the wings and just pull the feathers out, a few at a time. I left just before she finished plucking it, but I am guessing the whole process took 5 minutes. Annie does a good meal with chicken.

Kiffanie did not join us for dinner tonight saying she wasn’t hungry.   My guess is she wasn’t hungry because she was mad at me. I was playing with her and picked her up, but she did not want to be picked up right then, and threw a major two year old screams fit. Well old dad here could not let that go, so I picked her up, and we went for a little walk. At first she was screaming and fighting to get down, later she was just crying quietly. I let her down at that point and didn’t see her again until bed time. At bed time she let me pick her up and snuggle her,but would hardly even look at me. Just sat in my lap and played with the rubber band.

Kiffanie is a little fearful of adults, which may explain why she did not want me to hold her today. My concern is that if she screams like that on the plane or at the airport on the way home, I could have some issues. Actually, Didier figures once we’re on the plane, she will be good as gold knowing that this is the only person I know, I’d better stay with him. I hope he is right.

You can let the other adoptive parents know that I have lots of pictures of the children from church today. You may need to do some editing though, I had full sun with shade from some trees. I tried my best, but I am not a great photographer and the camera is not the greatest either. I also have lots of photos from Didier’s congregation, they came up and ask to have there pictures taken. None seemed camera shy.

It is late and tomorrow we finish with everything for getting Kiffanie home.

I love you all
Doughy (Ken)

Sent from my iPad

Kivren's Hospital

Kivren’s Hospital

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One Response to Day 6 & 7 in the DRC

  1. Pingback: Flashback to Congo: Photo Post 3 « Harp & Hammers

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