Bud Kroeker in Kinshasa

A LETTER FROM GRAMPA

Dear Family,

Kinshasa is actually a beautiful city on the banks of one of the world’s greatest rivers. We show so much of the filth, difficulties and lack of maintenance that one doesn’t  appreciate how unique the city really is. This could be a huge tourist attraction—if only…

 

This morning I went to the International Protestant Church of Kinshasa. This is an  old building and when I was introduced I mentioned that the last time I was in the church was in 1945. The man leading the service said that all of them probably were not on planet earth then. It is actually on the same property of CAP where I am staying but there are walls and pieces of property have been sold so I had to walk around the block to go there. They have a Lingala service, a French service and then English with missionaries and business people, but over half black. I met the Congo director of World Vision and some of the MAF missionaries and John and Charity Schellenberger self-supporting Mennonite missionaries. I told people I was there in 1945 and you could see clear down to the river then.

Place de la gare at the end of Blvd du 30 Juin is a beautiful square with a huge TV screen about 10 meters long and other new buildings going up around it.

I don’t have any chance of taking pictures of public buildings as I just shoot wildly from a car when I can. I don’t want to be seen walking around taking pictures.

Blvd du 30 Juin, now eight lanes has the new huge traffic lights with arrows and big numbers counting off the seconds remaining before the light changes, usually about 60. I’ve never seen that in any city. The lights are not at every intersection so there is still a lot of turning over the white line in the middle and the little old busses and taxis picking up people along the side. There are big pedestrian crossings and sometimes cars slow down enough for people to get clear across. In part of the new road out to the airport there is a fence in the middle but I saw people step over it.

It is good to let the children look at the maps to get an idea of the city, probably as big as Paris. After a heavy rain the air is nice and clear and the sky blue but pollution starts with the traffic. Transportation is the big problem. In the president’s publicity he has pictures of the new trains he wants to install. Gombe is the central commune and the business and government center.

It’s 6:30 I need to get ready for breakfast, four slices of white bread with butter and jam and a whole pot of weak coffee. I drink about four cups because I can put in all the powdered milk I want and that is nourishing. The other morning Erik came with a very big papaya and we both ate it. They have a water filter in the dirty kitchen and the water is good. I fill up my bottles. Have had no stomach problems yet.

All my love,

Grandpa

 

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