First, with nowhere to be, we lounged around watching cartoons and watching a happy Godson smile (he still rations them, but not quite so much) and play. Then, because of a problem with medical appointment scheduling, two ladies who work for a different agency and are staying here at SD suddenly played host to 10 kids under the age of 6, many of them 2- and 3-year olds. Their impromptu visit included chicken and bananas by the pool, followed by swimming and playing in the grassy area nearby. Godson was napping during this time, but Shekina and I sat out there and watched. She and Koko Vickie played ring around the rosy, and Shekina played a French song/dance game with one of that agency's nannies and some of their kids. Shekina was very shy, didn't want to get in the pool with the other kids, but she did stick her feet in the water. She started expressing some needs to me ("Mama, mayi?"--can I have some water?), so we went back to the room for a bit. I truly think she was nervous she was going to be sent off in the van with all that agency's children when they left. She felt more comfortable after we went back to the room for a bit.
By then it was lunchtime, and Godson was awake. Tired of baguettes, peanut butter, and the few snacks we had left in the room, we decided to venture out on our own for the first time. Going out solo is not recommended, but there is a restaurant just around the block--a five minute walk--so we strapped Godson to my back in the Ergo carrier and started walking. We encountered zero problems, and when we walked in the door of the Eros restaurant, we pretty much discovered heaven in Kinshasa. Kinshasa is one of the poorest cities in the world in one of the poorest countries in the world--more on that later--so whenever we find a nice, clean place where we can trust the safety of the food and we feel safe ourselves, we're happy. Eros is a Greek restaurant with AC, cold beer, delicious food, and a waitstaff who didn't mind fixing small bowls of chicken and rice for our two kids. We thought we had died and gone to heaven, especially when we found out they take credit cards! Eros has an attached boulangerie and patisserie that we hope to visit this morning if we have time before we meet with our lawyer.
Why the meeting? We are supposed to depart for Istanbul tonight at 8:50, and we haven't yet received our exit letter. On top of that, our lawyer neglected to respond to any of our agency rep's emails or our guide's calls yesterday. We're pretty annoyed right now, so that's why we're having the meeting. We shall see what happens. Right now, though we are supposed to leave on Wednesday night, the lawyer says we'll get our exit letters on Thursday.
Personally, I am in no rush to fly back, mainly because I know it will be extremely difficult with two children and because I am worried about poor Godson's ears on the flight. That being said, it does not feel good to be strung along like we are now, sitting here in limbo. Also, my parents need to get back to work, and it will be quite costly to change five airline tickets.
Anyway, to leave things on a positive note, let me tell you about the trip to the pool we took after lunch yesterday. Shekina jumped off the steps to me in the water many times, and then she even jumped off the side of the pool and into my arms twice. What a brave little chickadee! She is going to be swimming in no time. Godson, who at that point had been fever-free for 48 hours and was feeling great, was happy and wanted to go outside, so we put a swim diaper on him, and guess what? He loved it! He splashed, and laughed and laughed when Shekina or I would splash him back. We are so enjoying seeing this boy come out of his sickness and into the light!
All right, I should try to go to back to sleep now, as it's 5:54 am and we have that appointment this morning. I hope my next post contains some sort of good news about the exit letter.
A Congolese specialty: Cossa cossa (shrimp)
After our fun swim, Shekina made bracelets for Mama and Koko Vickie using pipe cleaners and beads.