Captain’s Log- 15 March 2015-Incongruity In Congo

Football  match in Nyankunde with new Cell tower behind the  pitch.  The site  of the shooting the night before.

The football match in Nyankunde with new cell tower behind the pitch. The site of the shooting the night before.

The noise from the football game just down the hill from our house became so loud and exciting that Cher and I had to leave our little building project and go down to see what was so thrilling.   It was a match between Nyankunde’s CME nursing school and the neighbouring village of Irumu that was 2-1 in favour of our Nyankunde team with only 10 minutes left to play. It was exciting to the end and as we watched we were struck with the incongruities of life here.

Only last night we were jolted to attention at around 9:00 P.M. by the sharp crack of AK rounds going off. It was quick but there were 3 bursts of rounds that sounded like they came from at least 2 places which were a ways apart. The last bit was on automatic and I ran to the back room where Cher was to see if she was alright. The shots were in range to hit the house but as we turned off all the lights and closed the curtains I checked for muzzle flashes or anything that would give away a position and I saw nothing. The MAF radios came to life as we discussed what was going on and what we might do. Hunkering down is often the best plan so we hunkered, on floors in hallways and pantries.

Almost immediately the village came to life in a dramatic way. Drums, school bells and every clanging thing in the area clamoured with amazing effect. The people started to shout and you could see how walls might, after a few days, actually fall from the sheer noise of people shouting. It had been a while since the last shots and I ventured out to see machete and spear welding villagers shouting as they rushed up the hill behind the soccer field were we later enjoyed the joyful match, a snaking line of lights winding up the mountain. It was pretty exciting to see and I was glad they were not after me. We were also quite proud of the reaction of the people in response to the shooting. Not long ago similar things happened here and everyone fled the village, the memory of recent massacres fresh in their minds. But not this time! They were not putting up with it now.

In the end, it turned out to be bandits and not militia which is somewhat better.  I went to check on friends as things calmed a bit but there was shouting for hours and we were told that young men patrolled the hills behind our house all night long and will continue to do so for the next week. The pleasant Saturday afternoon football match and cheering for the home side was as normal as a day in England watching the footy and quite a change from the serious defensive shouting of only a few hours before. Encouraging and very incongruous, I must say.

Our little Cessna 206 parked beside an Africa Tulip Tree.

Our little Cessna 206 parked in it’s spot beside an Africa Tulip Tree.  Spathodea nilotica.  Peaceful and quiet.

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7 Responses to Captain’s Log- 15 March 2015-Incongruity In Congo

  1. That’s the paradox of Africa, isn’t it Jon – so beautiful and so ugly, such lavishness and such poverty, so upbeat yet so cruel, so captivating yet so flawed. So glad you were kept safe. Lots of love and blessings to you both. Please keep posting! Connie xx

    • Jon says:

      Hey Connie, howzit in Oz? We miss you guys. Paradox is a good word. How we respond within the paradox make a huge difference. Not always easy but always interesting. Hope you are well. Thanks for writing. Love to the family. Jono

  2. Kathy Love says:

    Loved the Tuliptree too Jon .as you know or if you didn’t I will remind you I collect wildflowers in Southern Oregon mountains and I’ve collected them for so long that I collect rare ones now. I used to know all the botanical names and the common names of the wildflowers around here. It always amazed my family lol it amazes me now because I can’t remember half of them . I loved the Tuliptree . It was beautiful and the name of it that you gave was great too I can look it up and get a bigger picture of it . I looked at those flowers on that tree that’s pretty interesting thanks for posting that

    • Jon says:

      Hi Kathy, Yes, there are some amazingly beautiful trees here in Africa. Many are my friends and it is good to see them again up here in Congo. I had more tree friends in Zimbabwe and spent years learning all I could about them. It is different here and so many I have my work cut out for me. The new scientific name for the Tulip tree is Spathodea campanulata but if I learned them by their old names I usually keep that. I knew you liked the outdoors but not wild flowers. Nice. Jon

  3. Kathy love says:

    Oh my goodness the pictures that went through my mind when I read you guys hunkering around in the house at night trying to figure out what was going on. I guess when it’s daytime here it’s nighttime there so when it’s daytime here I need to be praying for you guys that you’re safe every day. Im so glad it wasn’t the militia even tho bandits arent good either so you guys stay safe and we’re praying for you.

    • Jon says:

      We will take those prayers. As Cher was sitting on the floor in the hallway and giving our son Josh a blow by blow,an email came in from a friend saying that she tried to always pray for people when the Lord put them on her heart and Cher had been strong on her heart then so she wrote and told Cher she was praying. Isn’t that cool? Nice when God lets us in on and take part in his amazing care and grace for us.

      • Helen Cadd says:

        I like hearing that other people are praying for you too. And I love your blog, Jon. I always look forward to receiving it. I’m glad you and LuAnne are safe. I love you tons. MOM

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