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Congo Town

Wednesday 9 September 2009, by Mardaga

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

The temporary shelter assigned for UNV (United Nations Volunteers) which is named Transit house, is located in the Monrovia suburb of Congo Town. In Brussels, we have Matonge; though there are more Guineans than Congolese here. Just a few steps away from the building, African atmosphere is quickly glaring. I usually go at the corner of the street to purchase an orange, turn to my right and proceed to a shop near a school to buy some <> : it is a kind of bread lightly mixed with pepper sauce and fish. Souzi, daughter of the manageress gave me the pseudonym mister Miam-Miam. She always roars with laughter when I taste the fishpat, rub my stomach with my hand and say : "Hmm, bon miam-miam".

The baking process is to mix the flower, spread it as small round pieces on a table, add the fish gravy over and fold it. The oven is rudimentary : a big refrigerator was striped naked from the interior; at the bottom, burning fire coal is laid to head heat up the box. At the upper level, pans covered with fish pat are lined up : the door is then closed. It is excellent, delicious and not expensive.

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Souzi and her brother

Souzi and her brother

It is Sunday; as usual I walk around and make a stop to watch a group of children playing. They were preparing a diner with sand and some leaf, a cup used as a plate, plastic spoons and others. I sat right near them and lighted a cigarette. Of course my presence disturbs a little, but as I showed interest they invited me to eat. I accepted and pretended to eat the mixture of sand saying to them "hmm, bon miam-miam".

The barrier was broken, and all started talking together. I could not understand; I then proposed a picture. It was then the rush, they were all happy for a photo.

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The happy swarm

Yesterday evening, I had gone to the shop to buy some local beer (Club Beer) and Souzi was there. With my beverage in a bag, I was leaving the shop when Souzi, pointing her finger at the drinks said : "hmm, bon miam-miam". I responded "No. Hmm, bon glou-glou". The conversation started.