taco bellThe guest house in Bangui is paid up and all expenses are reviewed once again, accounted for and carefully recorded.

Packing has been done and I have to leave some shirts, a pair of pants, my awesome boots, some dirty clothes, and a waterproof bag behind because I am out of space. I have received a note from Kenya Air, changing my flight time, giving me an hour to get from the international airport in Nairobi to the national one, as I head on to Mombasa. I am reluctant to check my bag because of the high chance of it not arriving with me, so decide to carry it, meaning I have to leave some things behind. Mandaba graciously agrees to have my clothes washed and taken to the office, as well as the other items I am leaving behind.

Avocados, chicken and chicken are purchased at the Lebanese run grocery store, along with some lemons, tomatoes, and an onion found at the open market.

A meal of burritos is prepared and eaten slowly, using taco mix and tortillas I brought with me but which had been stuck in Bangui. One is shared with the guest house owner, who held it high in the air, saying “Taco Bell!”.

All the clothes I washed upon arriving in Bangui this morning are dry, thanks to the biting sun, along with a little help from a fan last night.

Hot water is heated and the best bucket bath on earth is taken. I don’t want it to end.

A cup of coffee with breakfast, accompanying the last of the avocado and scrambled eggs wrapped in the last of the tortillas.

I mention the color of the sky and that I feel rain. Mandaba shrugs and doesn’t look worried.

We discuss work and dream of a new project that can help programs become self-sufficient.

The skies open up yet again and torrential rains fall, flooding the city in what feels like minutes.

The ride to the airport is slow, with the taxi skirting by motorcyclists pushing their bikes, knee deep in water while empty market stalls line the road, wares left unattended as vendors fled to find cover.

And just like that, my visit to Congo is over. What a joy to see projects growing and flourishing. What an honor to sit with project managers to help them rethink some not-so-good decisions.

Next stop: Mombasa, Kenya.