News from Congo (and Tucson)

Before we get started, here’s a quick update on who’s currently where, which will hopefully make my vague references to places like “here” and “there” a little more clear in the post that follows. Hmm, maybe I should preface every post with this little segment… let’s call it “Where in the world are you??”

Where in the world is Seb? He’s in Congo, where he returned a week ago — after a 10-day business trip to Arizona over Thanksgiving, and a week of management classes in Colorado. He was initially told to stay put in the U.S. rather than return to Congo, given the events that shall be discussed below, but he managed to talk the bosses into how “essential” he was. Great job, honey! (The good news is, he’ll be leaving again soon.)

Where in the world is Jen? I’m in Tucson, where I’ve been staying in a corporate apartment for almost six weeks now. Except for a quick trip to Canada, I’ve been in the U.S. since mid-August — mostly at the company’s request, to avoid predicted election violence. (Congo’s election; not, you know, ours. Another chapter in the book of irony, right after the one about hurricanes.*) No word yet on when or if I can return to Congo.

Ok, end of introductory segment. Now on to the real news.

Continue reading


The election results were supposed to be announced December 6, which was then pushed to December 8, time to be announced. Yesterday morning we heard they were supposed to announce the results at 6pm. Then a message was sent to change the expected time to 8pm. Then a third message announcing 10pm. This morning we hear it will be delayed another day. This must be what my Nigerian professor meant when he described “African time.”

But this is good news for us, selfishly. Every day this week international flights have been cancelled, then added back, then cancelled again. Yesterday we were thrilled to hear that even though our Ethiopian flights were cancelled, our company charter plane could take us to Ndola, Zambia. It would be a relief to be somewhere with a functioning airport, even if getting to our ultimate destination would take much longer. So it’s even nicer to arrive at the mine airport this morning and find out the original plan is back on! Of course I won’t believe it until we’re sitting in our seats, drinks in hand.

I haven’t yet posted where we are heading for a little pre-Christmas break! And I haven’t told my family yet, either, mostly because it will freak them out. So that’s hint #1. Hint #2 – It’s northeast of us. Hint #3 – It’s very warm. Hint #4 – It’s well-developed, safe, good for tourists, but you wouldn’t think so based on its region.

Any guesses???

Elections, Congo-Style

So, this little thing called a presidential election is happening right now in Congo. No big deal. It might be the country’s second democratic election in the last 40 years… it might be happening in a country that is still considered mired in a civil war… and it might be happening on a continent known for less-than-civil civics, short on smooth-running elections overall… but hey, hakuna matata.

Continue reading