We have finally crossed the river to Zongo, DRCongo! It is so, so hot and humid right now and the sun is shining very brightly. You know what is hard to get here? Sunscreen! This girl has hers packed in a box…yes, the box that didn’t arrive with the rest of my luggage. How three identical plastic totes got separated between Paris and Bangui, I will never know. But, for the first time in all the years I have been coming to this corner of the world, a piece of luggage has gone missing (hopefully, temporarily).

We are sitting at customs by the So go River on the DRCongo side and have been here for a while. When we ask, we’re told that there is a meeting happening and things will take longer. But, surprise, surprise!! We know the chief of immigration, as he used to work in Gemena, so things are starting to look up! YES to connections!!

Just when i thought we could get these totes on a bus to Gemena, we remember that we must retrieve my yellow fever card from an “inspector”. Usually, the inspection takes all of 30 seconds as my information is verified and it is clear that i have been vaccinated against yellow fever. This time, he forces me to read out loud the instructions written in the card. I do so, wondering why. The conversation goes like this:

Me: ok. I read it. The card is in order
Him: did you see that a doctor has to sign?
Me: yes, here is his signature
Him:. Ah, yes. But where is your signature, Madam Tanya?
Me: here.
Him: um…your nationality? You are missing that! Hah!
Me: there! I just wrote it. Can we go now?
Him: sure. As soon as you pay me 5000cfa (almost $10) for looking over your document
Me: *silently leans against the window sill and looks into the distance
Him: 5000cfa
Me: *silently stays leaning against the wall, staring at nothing, knowing Mandaba is about.to lose it and there is no sense in two of us yelling
Him: well, these documents are mine unless you pay.

Game over.
I need my documents.

And there goes another $10.

A police woman shows up with a machine gun to demand we open my bags which contain water filters. We are taken to a scary little room where we are surrounded by mean looking men. They look in the boxes and almost in unison say, “oh, water filters!”.

The end

#Afcaids #lovewell