It has been great being back at Kikongo. After so many years it seems like nothing much has changed, and yet at the same time so much has. The sights, sounds, hills, and many buildings are the same. What people do and how they do them is the same as well. The people have changed though. Many older people are showing their age, and some have passed away. A lot of the young men and woman I only recognize when I catch a smile, or a glint in their eyes, and I then remember the same thing in a much younger version of them. There are new buildings, some old ones are gone, and more of the surrounding forest has been turned into gardens.
Coming back, I have been able to jump right back into life like before, but the people are just older. I am also older, and with that comes a different level of respect in the community; being given the honor of praying after morning chapel, having to participate in village activities, like wakes, or work mornings to clean the station up, and being addressed as an adult instead of a student.
This does not mean that I can’t have fun or am bound to doing or not doing certain things. The last week has been full of all kinds of fun things. On Monday, I helped harvest honey from one of the hives. The bees here are at least 10 times more aggressive than anything I have run in to in CAR. Pa Delphin, the bee guy, who I use to work with, goes to war these days with snow pants, and a hoodi with the hood up and tightened around his face, under his bee suit. We harvested 19 Kilos of the best tasting honey I have ever had. I don’t think I have had that much fun and had an adrenalin rush like that since the last time I harvested with him.
Tuesday, I ran around the forest with my trusty machete, exploring all my old trails. Wednesday, I led a discussion on agriculture at the pastoral school. Thursday, it rained the whole day, which is very much out of the ordinary for here. And finally, on Friday I used the skills I learned in Gamboula to fix the internet system that is here.
It has been a full, fun week - full of people, and rest, and crazy animals. The kitten is doing quite well, and the monkey is, well a monkey. (For anyone who has ever raised a monkey, you understand.) And the jackal has been enjoying moonlit walks with us on the airstrip.