Movin' On Up!
Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
28Trip End Dec 01, 2011
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Where I stayed
The Big House
They left Kinshasa yesterday afternoon and we began to move into the main house last evening. It's the first time since the middle of December that the kids have each had their own room and we have had some room to spread out a little, so it feels quite nice!
With living in the main house comes having workers. I have three workers each day. All are men and all are the head of a family and the main breadwinner for their family. These workers only make about $100 per MONTH! And that is paying them WELL and far more than they would make at most other jobs. They make more than Congolese teachers that have university degrees. Right now papa Jean is here. He is the father of 5 children. His wife died this past year while pregnant with their sixth child
Pepe is also here right now. He is younger and he is putting tile in the bathroom. He does all kinds of odd jobs and watches the gate. All of the workers are security as well and they keep the gate. When someone knocks or honks, they determine if they can come in and then they open the gate and close it. He understands French and speaks Lingala, so, again there is lots of sign language.
Papa Juli comes in the evening. He is the night guard. He also does the evening dishes, feeds the dogs, fills the generator, and does the ironing
3 days a week Papa Pango is here. He was raised with the Grings family in that his father worked for the older Grings father so they have been together his entire life. Because of that, he looks at me when I talk and he seems to understand some things I say. He can cook several different things and he does most of the house cleaning. He takes care of filtering the water and keeping the drinking water container full, he washes (soaks in bleach and scrubs) all the fruit and vegetables, and folds the laundry.
It sounds like such a luxury to have workers. As a "missionary" you hate to tell people you have them because it sounds like we are over here living large. The reality is not like that at all. First of all, it is EXPECTED by the people here that you provide jobs. If you came over here and didn't employ anyone they would see you as stingy and selfish. Secondly, it is the best security there is. When you make friends with some local Congolese and have them on your compound, they can let you know of dangerous situations that are brewing and they can deal with the police better and anyone that comes to your gate that may pose a threat, they are much better equipped to handle them
It is really, really strange to have men in the house all day with me that are waiting for me to tell them what to do. I feel bad sitting here on the computer while they are doing my dishes. They call me "mama" or "madame" and I keep looking around to see who they are talking too. LOL
So, life up here in the Big House is going to be a new experience for us. We are excited to learn some Lingala and to be a blessing to our workers. Until my transportation situation improves, I will not be able to get out to an orphanage for awhile. That means my main work here in the Congo can be to help my workers in every way I can and hopefully touch their lives for the better. That may very well be the work God has for me here. I will try to see them with kindness in my eyes and generosity in my heart.