A Day in the Life in Kinshasa

We have fallen into a pattern here in Kinshasa. Life looks a little different so I thought I would write about it.

I often wake up at around 5 or 6am when it starts getting light. I usually get up and take tea with digestive biscuits and either do devotions or watch part of a show or movie. I often climb back into bed an hour or so later for a few more z’s as I don’t sleep as deeply these days. I then often wake up with Othy and make us breakfast which usually consists of bread with tea. If it’s not too hot a day, I often do an exercise video a few days a week. Then I get ready for the day and sit in the living room to do some work. I am unemployed now but am trying to keep busy on personal projects. I am working on updating my design website, improving images for certain past projects of my portfolio and creating designs for furniture to get made for our apartment. We are also hoping to make the same pieces available for sale in the longer term if we find there is demand. Sometimes Othy works from home and other days he goes into town for meetings. I have only been going to town for very specific errands like applying for my Congolese spousal visa or buying curtains. For lunch I usually reheat leftovers from the previous day’s dinner. I usually do more work in the afternoon depending on if we have power and how much battery life I have! Tasks like doing laundry are often driven by when the pump for the water is on. I am getting used to washing my clothes by hand. We fill up large bins in the kitchen and near the bathrooms for dishes, showering, and flushing when the water is off. Washing bedsheets is a particular pain! In the late afternoon when it is cooler I will sometimes go and buy small items from a small shop next door (like eggs or tomato paste) or a nearby market stand (onions and tomatoes). I am starting to get to know a few of the neighbours. If there are larger items to get like bread, oil, or jam we sometimes walk to the small supermarket that is on the main road. It is a very busy street with cars and roadside shops and is dusty with stirred-up sand. I am glad we are a bit away from the bustle and noise. There has been a lot of rain lately and the short-cut to the main road is a low area full of large puddles that sometimes have us hopping across stones. After a heavy rain I do not even try to go that way! It gets dark by 6pm and shortly after they will turn the generator on if there is no power. It takes longer to cook dinner here because there are less quick options than back in Canada. The main staples are potatoes, rice, fufu which is made from a mix of corn and cassava flour, and ndizi which are a variety of sweet plantains. The types of vegetables are limited and so I am learning to prepare more Congolese style dishes using cabbage, amaranth leaves, sorrel (they call it spinach here), okra, zucchini, and eggplant. More recently I am being introduced to a dish called Sombe which is made with cassava leaves (we have been buying it frozen from a neighbour because it is time consuming to make), and zucchini leaves. As I cook I get to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Congo River, one of the special perks about our apartment. By the time we are done eating dinner I am about ready to turn in. Sometimes in the evening Othy plays guitar (I have been neglecting playing as of late) or we watch a show. I often go to bed before Othy because I wake up so much earlier. So there you have it: a typical day for us here in Kinshasa.

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Our living room that we hope to eventually fill with custom wood furniture

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