As we get settled here in Kinshasa, we are constantly amazed by how comfortable our life here is. We've moved a few steps up from Peace Corps and though we don't have everything we had in South Africa (like a microwave), we have to filter our water and bleach our fruits and veggies, and sometimes the water or power go out, things are just a million times easier. It's bizarre because we suddenly find ourselves with lots of free time in the evenings and don't really know what to do with it. Here's just a few examples of what's changed...
We don't have to wash our clothes by hand. We've got a washer and dryer and our housekeeper usually does our laundry for us anyway.
When we wash the dishes, our non-stick pots and pans get clean in about one hundredth the time of our dishes in South Africa and we can wash them under hot water coming straight out of the tap.
We can buy alcohol and bring it home without worrying about concealing it.
We can also buy as much as we want of anything because we don't have to carry it on taxis.
We eat salad which we never really did in South Africa mostly because of the annoyance of carrying vegetables home from the grocery store. We also eat lots more fruit because of the same reason.
We can take a hot shower anytime we want. We can go number 2 in the middle of the night if we have to without risking the bad folks lurking in the night.
We can look at as many pictures and videos and download as much as we want on the internet (with the exception of tv shows and movies).
We can walk around our beautiful jungley school compound, see parrots, and enjoy nature.
We can swim in the pool that is a less than 5 minute walk from our house or play just about any sport with the teachers, aid workers, missionaries, etc.
We've got neighbors all around us who are always up for a beer and a chat.
We've got all of these things and yet we still live in Africa. This morning, we walked down to a busy intersection a couple kilometers from the school where there is a small market of sorts, just people selling food and things on the side of the road. We bought some fruits and veggies, and James bought himself a new pair of our favorite African (well really Chinese I'm sure) flip flops since he left his last pair in South Africa. It was nice to get out and see more of the area around the school, and not just from a car driving by it. In some ways, Kinshasa is a scary city, but walking around near the school, you don't feel like that at all. It feels like a much smaller place than a city of 10 million, and it was nice to finally feel a bit more grounded here and less wrapped up in all those conveniences I described above.