Friday, May 20, 2011
WOW. Don't even know where to begin, what a week it has been. It's after 10pm here Friday night and we are STILL working! This whole week we have been doing interviews in Moba Port, finished today all 20+ groups (5 people in each group we met each one...over 100 people in a 45 minute per person one-on-one interview). Ugh. Now we have hundreds of 'applications' and 'business plans' to go through, photos to match up and budgets to cut until we can finally sit down and make some decisions...not something I am looking forward to.
A couple interesting things happened this week, aside from the chaos...Yesterday we were about 500 meters from arriving to our location and we had to take a taxi down becuase of the morning torrential down pour (it lasts for anywhere from 20-30 minutes then stops completely but leaves the road conditions pretty slippery). So Jon has his camera out the window taking 'road b-roll' and all of a sudden a man runs up to his window, sticks his hand in and tried (aggressively) to grab his camera!!! The driver pulls to a full stop, not that you can go faster that 2 miles per hour... and Jon, thankfully, didn't and wouldn't let go of the camera. We had NO CLUE who this man was, some freak dressed in civilian clothes yelling in French and Swahili grabbing Jon's crotch (where he was holding the camera, lol). I am sitting in the front and immediately start pulling out 'official document papers' (to be honest, they were scrap papers, in English, all our documents were up at the base....lol), then I get on my phone and threaten to call the Admin or UNHCR, meanwhile Vasco is explaining to the physco that Marisa and I had both been to his house as his guests, he is FULLY aware of our program, the REEL Project etc... Finally he decided to 'let us go' and proceed with our *&^%$#! work. Today then, I went to meet with Immigration, just Vasco and I. The chief was very kind and welcomed us (again) and asked that we continue to bring goodness to Congo and assist with development etc... I couldn't help it, I had to vent my frustration! I responded, 'we intend to so long as what happened yesterday doesn't continue and deter us from helping' he was of course apologetic, said he would bring it up with both the Administrator and the man himself in their next meeting (in two days!). The reality is, they just want money, they don't get paid squat and the only people worth while are the 'Muzungus'because they usually get away with it.So, that was that.
This morning as we were trying to get out of the base in order to get to Moba Port, we kept getting delayed by visitors at the door, the guard was feeling bad for 'bugging us' ;-) Literally, once out the door walking to the market for taxis, a man stops us and demands that he has to talk with us (me and Vasco). Apparently, he was sent from the chief of Mwanza (a small village located about 60 kilometers from Moba). Marisa and I did some interviews there in "Today We Pack, Tomorrow We Settle" and they remember us and aparently heard about the micro-credit projects... they want to meet with us and discuss how much in need they are of the opportunity. Ugh. I looked at Vasco and wanted to cry. AGAIN, we only have enough funds to fund 12 groups, that's only 60 PEOPLE and we have met with WELL OVER 300! I'm lost....flabbergasted and lost, don't know what to say to them :(
THEN...We had a FULL day today and had to take motor taxi's all the way up from Moba Port and it was raining however, it wasn't as bad as our ride up yesterday...we literally were 5 on 5 different motorbikes RACING up the hill! seriously, I have NEVER been up the hill so fast in years. Usually it takes 25+ minutes; we were up in 15 :-o
So, again, that is that. lol
We are all exhausted, a little delirious and have a full weekend ahead of work :(
Attached are a few photos...well, I say that now but have no idea what will upload or not, including this entry!!!