In the last few weeks run up to coming here it felt like when you are about to have your first baby. You know a big change is coming and you have prepared as best you can but really you don’t know what to expect, and all the advice you might get from people who have gone before can’t completely tell you how it will be for you.
I knew everything would be different, and I wanted that. But EVERYTHING is different and human beings always crave the known and comfortable at times. So one minute you revel in it and the next you just want know how to function in daily life and not always be clueless! The shock of suddenly landing in an entirely different culture has given me a little insight in to how refugees must feel. The big difference being that we chose this, we were not forced, and we can still return home when it’s time.
While I struggle on trying to get my adult brain to accept change and my adult soul to not freak out, the children are adjusting pretty easily to their new normal! I asked Hannah (our eldest, age 8) to give me a few ideas of what she thinks is different here in Congo:
- It’s hot
- There are a lot of bugs
- Cold showers
- Congolese people speak French
- They drive a lot of taxis
- We don’t always have internet, electricity or running water
- We use a water filter
- We share beds
She couldn’t think of anything else. But I promise you, EVERYTHING is different! It took Samuel (age 5) a whole week to realise there’s no TV here (and this is the child that would ask to watch TV as soon as he got home from school). They are already happy greeting everybody in French (Sophie even switched to ‘Bonsoir’ yesterday evening without being prompted) and are enjoying different food. So the conclusion is, be under 10 years old or be very patient with yourself.