I think I must be getting softer as I get older. Long gone are the days of travelling light. My first non-European travelling adventure was 5 months living out of a backpack. Now a week’s trip involves a full suitcase! Clothes and toiletries of course, but also a variety of other things to make home where I am, and make a difference to the week’s experience, be that entertainment (mp3 player and DVDs, plus laptop,though that is officially with me for work purposes), a soft down pillow (quite key around Africa where pillows can be very hard), a soft towel, or food / beverages. And my flute, music stand and music of course. (Trying to then find somewhere to play that isn’t going to cause a disturbance can then be a challenge!) An all important one, which I’ve been carrying with me on work trips for several years now, is a small cafetiere and Kenyan ground coffee. This trip, I added to this a rather smart (though inexpensive) coffee mug. Various coloured ones were being put out on the shelves at Nakumatt when I was there the other day. I couldn’t resist! Much more pleasant not having the wonderful aroma of a morning cup of coffee tainted by the smell of mildewy mould that is prevalent in crockery in SIL guesthouses in these hotter, more humid climates.
I think I may have overdone it this time. Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, is a new destination for me, so I really didn’t know what to expect. When I unpacked it all (in the early hours of this morning), it amassed to quite an amount! I won’t be going hungry that’s for sure, especially as they’re feeding us anyway! Nice to have the option of lighter meals / snacks though.
My big surprise here was finding a plate of rambutan and mangosteens in the fridge. Last time I had these was on that first non-European adventure, when a friend and I were travelling for 5 months after university. As well as Australia, we spent time in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, and there were introduced to these delicious fruits. I’d never associated them with (nor seen them in) Africa before! I can attest that the Congolese version taste good too.