In the last posts I have been given a rather dark picture of the situation here. Despite all the problems in this country its people are really something special. I just love the Central African sense of humour, how they mock me, each other and everything they can.
As I am convinced that to be able to do good research you have to understand the context I have been trying to meet as many people as possible, from as different backgrounds as possible. As for the international community here it is quite easy in the sense that we are not that many and it is easy to get to know people. When it comes to finding Central African friends I also have been quite successful, mainly thanks to my rather unconventional way of going out, get lost and then saved by people.
One night I went out with the guy who drove me home when the Medicins Sans Frontières abandoned me which I wrote about earlier. We went to a concert which was just crazy fun where this great band consisting of five men and two dancers (not sure whether or not to include the dancers in the band) performed. Performed is the right word. One of the singers was a man in his fifties dressed in a linen suit and a hat, one guy had some kind of weird tights and a top and a third one was seriously wearing a fur (!) doing the US gangsta thing. Love it. The crowd consisting of me and some sixty Central Africans was dancing like crazy as well. Normally I love to dance and consider myself being quite good at it but here I feel stiff like a dead man trying to do Michael Jackson moves. So I only dance when I am drunk here, very Swedish indeed.
After that we continued to sing karaoke. I don’t know if you have heard about “Norwegian karaoke” but it is done in the following way: you listen to music, preferably in your headphones and then you sing out loud. Hopefully you know the lyrics but if not, just do it anyway. The Central African way to sing karaoke is as follows: bring a band to a bar, preferably quite bad with untuned instruments, allow anyone who still can stand to get up on stage and sing along with whatever song the band plays, with whatever lyrics that person might deem suitable. I must admit that both the Norwegian and the Central African ways are much more amusing than conventional karaoke.
After karaoke it was time to do the nightclubs so the guy and I went to the one where they mainly play Congolese music. Suddenly he was gone, had disappeared. As I am married and have no interest in anything else than going out and have a good time I assume he found someone who did and left. So 4 am I find myself abandoned once again, yet for another reason. No luck here. However, thanks to that I found a good friend. A Central African girl saw me and invited me to join her company. We ended up in “les quartiers”, the hoods so to say, having chicken and local beer. What a cliché, but a nice one. She is really fantastic. Saturday I joined her and her family (70 people) at her mom’s house. We ate, drank and laughed. So life here isn’t all bad.
What I do feel however is that the Central African people deserve so much better, I mean seriously, there is not even one proper road in the capital, power cuts are getting worse every day, no water, no health care, the security forces harassing the population arbitrarily. Apparently the government turned down offers from both the Chinese and the French to build a new power plant. The government wanted the money to do it themselves. One can ask why. The Chinese and the French said no.
The people here are abandoned by its own government and we don’t do a damn thing about it, we are accomplice. You can really feel the frustration in the air. One day the people will have had enough. The rainy season is almost over now, the temperature falling, they say it is the winter that is coming. Let it come a Central African spring...