Farewell to Kinshasa

It seems that it is about time to bid farewell to Kinshasa, at least for a while.  I really haven’t spent that much time there.  Of the month and a half that I’ve been “based” there, I think I’ve probably spent less than half of that time actually in that city.  There are a couple more flights scheduled for the 1900 before I am to take it back to Johannesburg next Friday.  I am a bit sad to see the Kinshasa contract end, but at the same time, I am excited for what is going to be happening next.  I hope that the local staff in Kinshasa is able to find new opportunities after things shrink a bit there. 

After I leave Kinshasa, I’ll be based in Goma for a while.  I still don’t know how permanent that will be.  I’ve heard rumors of maybe heading to Chad once I am up to speed in the Caravan and/or Twin Otter.  From what I hear, life in Chad is more like what I expected when moving to Africa.  Life here in Goma is relative luxury.  It’s not at all what I expected.  While our freedoms are somewhat restricted due to security and such, in the houses we have about everything we might want.  We have cooks and drivers.  We have electricity, internet and satellite TV most of the time.  It still is a very strange feeling to be so close to such poverty and suffering and to be living so well.  Even when compared to most of the other NGOs we have it good.  A lot of the other NGO workers that I’ve met come to Goma for their taste of civilization.  And it’s easy for us to feel like we are roughing it here. 

I am excited to start doing a bit more of what I thought I came here to do.  While the flying in the 1900 was a lot of fun, it wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned doing when I signed up.  While I did fly a lot of workers from a bunch of different aid organizations, a lot of it was moving around delegations from various UN agencies and some US agencies.  I hope that they have been effective at making improvements in this country.  I always knew that what I would be doing would be a step removed from the actual relief work, but I guess that I didn’t really like being two steps away.  Maybe that’s what appeals to me about potentially working in Chad.  From what I understand, the living there might not be as pleasant as here in Goma.  I don’t think that there will be any tennis games (like there was today in Goma), but it will be much more direct contact with the work going on. 

I’ll be doing some training in Goma and right now it looks like I’ll be based here for the time being, but I suppose that there is plenty of time for that to change.  I would love to be based here, but wouldn’t be unhappy if I ended up somewhere else.  I guess that I’ll just have to wait and see. 


2 Responses to “Farewell to Kinshasa”

  1. MOM Says:

    I vote for you staying in Goma!!Enjoy!

  2. mormor Says:

    Patrick, I heard about your “luxury life” in Goma and now I read about also. I enjoy reading about what you are doing, and following you in my thoughts. I hope you get to stay in Goma, but I know there are many needy places in that area that you can be of service and help. Be careful, as always, says mormor

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