The Fourth Year

Happy 6th Birthday to sweet munchkins Isabela & Sofia, Happy Labor Day to all, and happy 4th anniversary to Adventures in Congo!

At each annual milestone since moving here, we ask ourselves how much longer we think we’ll stay. Our parents and long-term cat sitter ask us this even more often. Our answer has always been, and still is, “Who knows?” We don’t have a specific contract with the company; they could send us home tomorrow if they (or we) wanted to. Four years ago we wondered if we could make it a whole year. But as we settled in, we found the lifestyle appealing, addictive even. And so at each year’s passing, we set our sights longer and longer.

But this year, for the first time, I think we can safely say we’re over the hump and on the downhill side. Most people who come here stay two years, it seems. At three years you’re considered senior. At four a veteran. Beyond that you start to look really odd, like you’re off your meds or something and need to be chased with a large net.

So surely the time left in front of us is less than the time behind us. But then again, who knows.

To commemorate the past twelve months, I’d like to present a few photos of our more miscellaneous moments – stuff I haven’t (or don’t plan to) blog about in more detail.

(September 2013) Buying trinkets at an outdoor market in Lubumbashi

(September 2013) Buying trinkets at an outdoor market in Lubumbashi

(October) Judging at "Fungurume Idol" - renamed Muzic Star due to some religious (but not spelling) sensibilities

(October) Judging at “Fungurume Idol” – renamed Muzic Star due to some religious (but not spelling) sensibilities

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(November) Babysitting my neighbors’ African Grey Parrots Shaku & Kiji, who can say hello, Shaku’s name, and engage me in long whistling contests in the style of Simon Says

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The parrots have a playmate, a locally-adopted cat called Stumpy, since he’s likely to lose a digit or appendage inside a parrot’s beak one day

(November) Taking the guys from the Dept of State for a mine tour (I'm the volunteer area warden for the U.S. Embassy, whatever that means)

(November) Taking the guys from the Dept of State for a mine tour, my duty as volunteer area warden for the U.S. Embassy

(December) Looking out past our herb garden into the green, green neighborhood, just after our return from the vast deserts of Namibia

(December) Looking out past our herb garden into the green, green neighborhood, just after our return from the vast deserts of Namibia

(December) Celebrating Papa Nzita's birthday at our place, with a plaque Seb had made commemorating his lifetime achievement in exploration drilling

(December) Celebrating Papa Nzita’s birthday at our place, with dinner and a plaque Seb had made commemorating his lifetime achievement in exploration drilling

(December) A return to Bunkeya to fete the King, this time a short trip with just the girls

(December) A return to Bunkeya to fete the King, this time a short trip with just the girls

(December) Watching the rain clouds roll in while having a beer at our favorite perch in town, the third story of the Indian-run Hotel Best Palace

(December) Watching the rain clouds roll in while having a Sunday beer at our favorite perch in town, the third story of the Indian-run superlatively-named Hotel Best Palace

(January) Homemade veterinary care for our Congolese kitty, Zawadi (and why we left our spoiled American one at home)

(January) Homemade veterinary care for our Congolese kitty Zawadi (and why we left our spoiled American one at home)

(February) Valentine's Day dinner at the former company-sponsored South African restaurant about 30 minutes away, where you could cook your steak on a hot stone

(February) Valentine’s Day dinner at the former company-sponsored South African restaurant about 30 minutes away, where you could cook a steak to your liking on a hot stone (perfect for a mining camp, I’d say)

(March) Lucy the monkey loves the camera, and a good belly scratch

(March) Lucy the monkey loves the camera, and a good belly scratch

(April) Lucy and Zawadi checking each other out

(April) Lucy and Zawadi getting to know each other after our outdoor “cat fence” was completed

(May) Local sunflowers called Kilulu Kunja (or something like that) announcing the beginning of the dry season

(May) Local sunflowers called Kilulu Kunja (or something like that), announcing the end of the rainy season

(June) Around 60 cyclists passed by our gate taking place in the second-annual Tour de Congo

(June) 60-some cyclists passing by our gate in the second-annual Tour de Congo

(July) Visiting the skeleton crew at a nearby exploration camp, about an hour away

(July) Visiting the skeleton crew at a neighboring exploration camp, about an hour away

(August) Our second visit to the nearby Tshilongo waterfall, about a 2-hour drive through the bush, in the middle of the dry season

(August) Our second visit to the nearby Tshilongo waterfall in the middle of the dry season, about a 2-hour drive through the bush

Compared to our first trip in the green season of December (and the banner photo of Adventures in Congo)

Compared to our first trip in the green season of December

For more info on the Tour de Congo (if you haven’t already assumed, it’s the Central African version of the Tour de France, which is pretty darn cool):

8 comments

  1. Loved the pics + story-line explanations! Thank you for sharing the flora, animal pics and fabulous scenery … I’ll be sharing pics with family in SC & Kansas!

    … tried to comment on your last series of pics/stories but “log in” information wasn’t connected (or something)!

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  2. Wow! You remembered the girls birthday. My munchkins are getting sooo big.
    I just love reading all your stories. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful experiences.

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  3. I’m so glad you are still enjoying your time in Congo. If this year does become your final year there, I wonder where you will land next. No matter where you live–I know you will continue to embrace the adventures of life to the fullest!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! Yeah, we have no idea what’s next (probably one reason we’re still here), at the moment we’re craving someplace “civilized” (ie, with real grocery stores, restaurants, cinemas, etc) but I’ll bet it wouldn’t take long to start craving another adventure!

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  4. Love your pics. No matter where you end up you both will enjoy it to the fullest.The adventures are just beginning. Go for it. Love you both Carolyn PS. stay well

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