Friday, September 20, 2013

Everyday life at Nyankunde

September 20. 2013

This month I thought I would post pictures from everyday life.  Sometimes I forget that even this can be interesting to people.  Where do we live?  What do we eat?  What do the streets look like?  What do we enjoy doing in the evenings? 

So….we got a second African grey parrot.  He kept repeating the word “chacu,” so we decided that this was his name.  He is quite young and scrappy.  He jumps off his perch and mimics lots of birds he hears.  He likes to try anything you might be eating (loves beans and passion fruit sorbet) and even nestles under Warren’s chin.  He even like his head scratched.  Who knew that birds could be so personable?  Our first parrot Bubu is socializing more now that she has a comrade.

I love colorful African fabric prints.  Someone told me that it is rare to see straight, symmetric designs and more common to see complex, natural themes.  Within the designs are often flowers, vines, trees, water, and fruit.  Some of the designs are rather abstract.  Here is a taste of some of the designs I have seen recently.

We live in a beautiful, renovated house up the hill from the hospital.  It’s about 1/4mile walk to the hospital which also means a 1/4mile home uphill.  So just making a couple of trips everyday is a workout.  As I walked to the hospital today I stopped to pet two baby goats born last night, sunning themselves on the road.  Our water comes from a fresh water source off the mountain in back of our house.  The water undergoes an underground purification process in a series of aquifers before it arrives to our tap (designed by Swiss engineers back in the old days).
Series of aquifers at the top of the hill behind our house

Do you see our TV?

Our 9-foot long dining table

Peterson trying to come in the house

Most people do not have running water in their homes.  Most carry it from water sources set up throughout the neighborhood surrounding the hospital.  The water has been tested and shown to be good to drink-we still filter especially after hard rains.  We have a solar water heater for showering and exist almost solely off solar power. 

Solar water heater and my favorite crazy Congolese flowerI (Lindsey) even have an outdoor bathtub Warren installed for me off the garden which is wonderful on warm evenings.

Farming is a way of life in Nyankunde, yet it is a lot of work.  For many Congolese this requires hiking long distances with heavy loads on their heads, hiking up steep inclines, and terrace farming.  It is not for the faint of heart.  We have a new appreciation for how people live off what they are able to grow.  This is actually really hard to do!  We have a large garden and we have not managed to come close to doing this! We have a gardener named Soborabo who helps us cultivate the basics to put vegetables on the table every night.

I cook entirely from scratch and am continually learning new twists on things.  Eggplant curry, coconut rice, chiapatis, chili with local beans, fried plantain…etc.  Now I realized how so much of the food I was accustomed to in the US was highly processed and maybe not the healthiest.  Eating out is really a rare occasion, but we try to organize ourselves to have pizza on Saturdays and do something special.  We really do live in a “petite village.”  I wouldn’t trade our village life for city life for anything (even if there was fast food)!  We have an outdoor charcoal oven (which Warren designed) that we are trying to use more and more for baking bread and pizza.  Most Congolese are not accustomed to baking, as they are more used to eating foo-foo (manioc) and rice.  The nurses at the hospital love my banana bread as it really is novel.

Many evenings Warren and I walk or run with our dog Peterson on the nearby airstrip.  It is really quite
pleasant.  We have a chance to catch up on the day’s events are process through things together.  I am very thankful for Warren and the opportunity to work together.  When Peterson comes running it is like the parting of the Red Sea, as people scatter in either direction.  People find it amusing to watch us running with our dog and are quite intimidated by her size.  We have the airstrip mostly to ourselves!

Life is full and exciting most days, also fairly routine.  Wow, did I manage to write an update without any talk of m*d*c*n*?  Speaking of this, Warren and I are headed to Uganda in the next couple of weeks for some necessary down time and acquisition of supplies.

Thank you for your interest in our lives.  We need your prayers and look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Loved this Lindsey. I so enjoyed seeing every day life. Is it possible that I beat Mark-o to the post?

  2. yes, yes you did - I have been camping with Sean and the boy scouts in a CT State Forest completely incommunicado -likewise enjoyed the post very much. Reminded me of our stay in Cape Verde- running on the airstrip, baking banana bread (a big hit with the locals), and living in a small village. You guys enjoy being "rock stars"?